My book The Illusion of a Girl is fueled by my own soul crushing, tension-filled childhood. I had done lots of work to heal myself prior to writing the book, but writing it was cathartic as well. It doesn’t hurt to talk about my experiences. The sting and anger are gone. I understand my parents, their backgrounds and motivations. I searched for answers and I found them.
I see so many people like myself who have or had crappy childhoods, and my heart breaks for them. I feel their hurt and loss. When your parents don’t honor and love you, it leaves a hole you will need to work very hard to fill. Surviving is not about burying what happened or trying to forget about it. You need to examine it, understand it, forgive your parents, and let it go. Healing has taken my whole life so far and I think I’m just over the biggest hurdle.
By the time I was sixteen, I held the firm notion that I wanted to be nothing like my parents when I grew up. In my sixteen-year-old perfectly healthy mind and body, I saw my parents as weak. My mother allowed my father to abuse us. I thought she should have protected us. I begged her to kick our father out of the house. She never did because she held her needs above ours.
I thought my father with his drinking and ridiculous temper was the scum of the earth. (He passed over 25 years ago.) I wrote my story so people could relate to my experiences and learn how I survived it. I try to live my life consciously and truly think about what I want out of life. I had so much I wanted to prove to my parents and to myself about how I would live a healthier life.
I have achieved a healthier life and have broken the cycle of dysfunctional family for my children. If I do nothing else in this life, that is enough. My dysfunctional family went back so many generations. All families have some level of dysfunction, but there are core truths for a functional family. A functioning family share these characteristics: adequate financial support; love and caring for other family members; security and a sense of belonging; open communication; making each person within the family feel important, valued, and respected.
I haven’t done everything perfectly. I learn the hard way, so I’ve made so many mistakes. I looked for men to love me since I didn’t find it at home. I picked some men who were not good to me. I had to learn to love myself, which is something I still work on. In my book I share my thoughts, feelings, and conscious decision to not be like my parents with the hope that those subtle messages help someone who is going through or has gone through something similar.
No matter where you begin in life, the life you lead is entirely up to you.