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I Remember



How early can I remember?
Memories swirl around my mind,
But how many are my own? Where did they come from?
Which ones developed through shared stories around the dinner table? Which ones are my own?

How early can I remember?
My gut tells me I remember things my mind does not.
At times I feel the urgency to run away even when I am safe.
There is a wound there.
A wound is telling me it is not safe here, to run.
What is my wound?

My wound takes the form of an inconsistent mother.
A mother, who is also wounded, capable of love
But could change without notice and be angry, scolding, scary.
Which mother would show up I never knew, was it going to be love or fear?

I remember an evening preparing for bed with my siblings.
We were loud, laughing, late, out of control.
In that moment my mother’s wounds came to the forefront
She lost control.

I remember being spanked that night, crying uncontrollably, crying for comfort.
The first spanking inflicted physical pain in my body
But it was the second spanking that inflicted a wound or two.
Words spoken over 20 years ago echo clear in my mind, piercing my heart,
Words spoken over 20 years ago but feel like it was yesterday
“if you are going to cry I will give you a reason to cry”…a second spanking

That young boy, who was not hugged or held after being spanked, was left on his own to self soothe.
I remember deciding to not cry again, crying only brings more pain.
My wound takes the form of my mother,
But what is my wounds name?

My wound tells me to run,
But my heart cries out for a mother to hold a little boy.
I remember my mother being frustrated and angry with her children
I remember her wanting to leave but staying…her words still wounded me
“One of these days I am just going to leave and not come back”
….was it my fault?

This figure, this giant powerful creature is here to protect me
But I do not feel safe, I cannot trust this person to stay.
This person wants to leave me…my wound tells me to not trust her, to keep distant.

My wound pulls at me
It controls me like strings on a puppet,
I am the puppet and my wound is the puppeteer
Can I cut those strings?

How early can I remember?
I remember my father playing a game of peekaboo with me
I was one years old, science says too young to remember but
No one else would have told this story at the dinner table and
I can describe it to him in detail…this must be my own memory.

As a child I laughed and felt safe in the presence of this creature
This father figure was there to protect me
A farmer has many chores in his life preventing him from always being there
Safety was where he was
Safety was in the barn not in the house
How could a child become a workaholic before knowing what work was?
It was not work to me, it was finding safety.

My wound takes the form of my mother
My wound forces me out of the house into the protective care of my father
My wound told me it was not safe to be around people
Safety was on the farm, in the barn, not out in public
My wound isolated me

My wound comes at me in my mother,
I remember struggling to do some school work,
Feeling overwhelmed and lost as if my very being was being challenged
A challenge that I was coming up short.
In a place of loneliness, a place of vulnerability where I was crying out for help
Help did not come but instead a scolding mother found me, my wound, for being too emotional
A scolding for not being able to do it

I am on my own, I will not ask for help.
Is this my wound?
I am a marionette, my wounds are the manipulator
Can I cut the strings and be free of my wounds?

I remember struggling to pass in a math class,
I remember feeling as if I was not good enough to pass the class.
My father came to me when I went to bed
His words penetrating through my wound into my heart, resounding there
“Whatever mark you get is good enough for us”
…a string was cut.

I remember taking a risk to talk with my mother
After all of these years we finally had a forgiveness conversation
A conversation that fostered acceptance and individuation.
Apologies from both sides,
Another wound being mended…another string being cut.

Our wounds can control us
Can cause us to act and react in ways that we do not know or understand
My wounds are no longer bleeding …some have been mended but
Scars do remain

A scar is a shadow of the former wound that was their
A scar is a memory that will never completely fade or go away.
In the end, we all have a wound or two, parents included
But my wound is not my fault
My parents wounds are not their fault

As adults we are responsible to name and claim our wounds
My wound is a fear of abandonment which pushes me towards loneliness
To understand the effects of my wounds
Helps in the healing process
I remember when some wounds began, to take shape, to grow strings on my marionette
But I also remember the experiences that began to heal my wounds and sever the strings that once controlled me…I am no longer a marionette.