I know I am guilty of oversharing when I write on the Medium platform.
By over-sharing, I mean, I tell my story in depth. I try to communicate raw feelings, passions, torment, and all the other human feelings that come from being abused in the past, and how it has affected me as an adult.
I talk about heartbreak. I write about loss and grief. I tell it like I feel it, and to some audience readers, it comes across as harsh and sometimes, too deep. Some may even say, that I obsess about my childhood and the wrongs I suffered and that sharing it sends a poor message, affecting my family.
I won’t apologize for this. I also won’t apologize for how I have become resilient, yet still marred from the shit I endured in my life, that no child should ever go through.
Why It’s Important to Share:
My childhood taught me valuable lessons, as an adult.
When I started my career path, it was my mission to “save children” from shitty home lives, from abuse, and from the monsters that lurk in the shadows of unfortunate families. In my mind, I pictured myself swooping into houses where children were reported to be abused, and whisking them away from their torture. Sometimes, I think that is where my obsession with Wonder Woman started.
Long before I was even planning on having children, I took training on Early Childhood Development and Childhood Psychology, in hopes to learn how to become a hero to children at risk. Little did I know, it would teach me, later, to be a good mom. It would teach me how to ensure that my daughter’s developmental needs were met and that she always felt loved and appreciated.
When I was married, I had a wonderful role model for a mother in law. She was kind, loving, supportive, and the kind of mom that is portrayed on 80’s sitcoms. She was perfect. She was Mrs. Cosby, Mrs. Cunningham, and Mrs. Brady, only Better- She was real. She was over the moon when I had my daughter, and loved her so much, that she showed me HOW to love.
When you come from abusive parents, you don’t know how to be a good parent, unless SOMEONE shows you how. You need to train for it like it’s the longest and most important marathon of your life. It isn’t “built-in” when you have been neglected, abused and treated like you aren’t important, as a child.
THIS IS WHY I OVERSHARE
I share because it’s so important to help others through my experiences. It’s also important to reach out to survivors of abuse and to let them know that they CAN be good moms and dads. They CAN stop the destructive cycle of abuse within their family. They just need to get everything out, on the table, and sort through the demons. Pick through the shit, sort the good from the bad, and toss the garbage away.
How I Moved On:
I went through my mid-twenties and late teens, as a cutter with a basket full of eating disorders. I was also a borderline alcoholic. I never got into drugs because a book I read, when I was young, scared the hell out of me:
Growing up in the 70’s and 80’s with a brother and sister who were 5 and 6 years older than me, I was surrounded by…medium.com
I never thoroughly recovered from my abuse, until I had my daughter. She saved me, in more ways than I could ever describe. She gave me a reason to give my head a shake and to know that I could put every ounce of love that I missed as a child, into her.
Once I became a mom, it became so very clear what I needed to do.
I FACED MY DEMONS:
When my daughter was a toddler, I reported my monsters from my childhood to the police. They were arrested, I went through 3 trials in front of juries, and I had my father and his brother put behind bars. My father’s first trial resulted in a hung jury, so my sister and I went at him again, until justice was served.
In our family, there are 8 girls, who would have been at risk of being harmed by the monsters, and I was not prepared to feel responsible if they were abused. So, I dealt with it.
Once the trials were behind me, and the demons were in jail, I focused on my career and becoming more involved with kids. I finally felt as though I was ABLE to.
Is This Over-Sharing?
I am a firm believer in telling YOUR story. Regardless of whether or not it’s appropriate to open up and get it out on Medium, or other websites if you have a story with LESSONS, writers need to get it out there.
This is how we learn. This is how we become human.
Great fiction stories, prose, poetry, and blogs ALL have a purpose for sharing.
Learning about the writers and why they write the content they do, makes the reader feel like they know a little more about who is behind the great work they write. Sharing your emotions and feelings about anything, whether it’s a belief you have, a story of how you live, or lessons you have learned, it will reach someone. It WILL be read and someone out there will feel it. You can help someone.
Sometimes oversharing is what you made for dinner last night, sometimes, it’s the details of your sex life, and sometimes, it’s real, authentic, passion about something you believe in or stand for.
For me, the topic of my childhood makes me very vulnerable. I am not proud of where I came from. I am not happy that I still have triggers and flashbacks from trauma put upon me at the hands of others. But it’s MY story, and I will share it how I see fit. I won’t plaster it all over my facebook feed, or in areas where my family can read it, but if it happens to fall into their hands, it means that my work is being communicated, and it’s important enough to be exposed. If they didn’t want me to share my story, they should have been better parents. Trust me, I would love nothing more than to write about having a pet unicorn and rainbows that sprinkled glitter on me as a child. But that’s not my story.
Yes, my sharing my childhood stories make me vulnerable. If they are read by the “wrong” people, I could become a target. I could very well be thrown further out of the family that has already made me the “black sheep”.
But that’s okay.
I have my daughter and my partner to be my “family” now, and THEY understand my idiosyncrasies and my triggers. They protect me from the hooded claws of my childhood.
It would be really nice for me to have a relationship with my parents and my brother now because we are all aging, but it won’t happen. The pain is always underlying while I try and share conversations with them. The abuse is still between all of us like an invisible shield. My daughter has no relationship with my parents because they never earned one, and I would never ask her to build a foundation with the grandparents who took her mom’s childhood away. She doesn’t NEED that in her life. She is 25 now and knows what her grandfather was capable of when he had two daughters and a son to raise. I can’t blame her for having no respect for him, even now, after years of not drinking and being a “different” person than I knew as a kid.
If or when this article is shared, there is a chance they will read it, and I have to be okay with that. I know the truth, even if they deny it. It will always remain a vulnerable conversation, whether it’s written or verbalized.
That is not my fault or my problem.
I have a career in Children’s Services now. It is not the career that I imagined it would be, as I cannot swoop into children’s scary homes in my invisible plane, and save them from their monsters. But, I am making a tiny footprint, in helping child care staff understand the trauma behind abuse, and how to ensure that they meet the needs of the children in their care. I also conduct investigations on child care programs and do inspections to make sure that staff is caring for children in a quality environment. I am proud to do so.
Recently, however, I realized that Medium has become my new “vessel” for reaching out to adults who have suffered as I did as a child. I can reach out to others and share my story, in hopes that they take away something positive from their pasts, and they can learn to find ways to teach them how to parent. If you struggle with parenting, because you were never taught how, you can learn. You can persevere, you can be resilient, and YOU can break the cycle.
Most importantly, you can raise well loved, successful children. (Mine is a University grad- the ONLY child within multiple generations who succeeded in secondary education, besides me).
If it means that I have to “overshare” my past, and walk back through a few horrible memories, so be it. I will share my life, my feelings, and my trauma. I am grateful that this platform enables us to share our stories.