Earlier this year, my friend Denise Mills asked me if I’d write something for her blog about feeling ‘unworthy’. The topic is something I’ve spent a lot of time thinking and writing about, having felt ‘unworthy’ for much of my life. I sent Denise a piece I wrote towards the end of last year in response to the prompt, ‘A sound from childhood’.
I thought editing might take away from its rawness and emotion, so how it’s presented is pretty much how it came out. Here’s the beginning and you can read the rest over at Denise’s blog, Words and World.
Sounds from the past. The sound of children’s skin being slapped. The sound of raised voices—my mother’s, my father’s. The sound of children screaming and pleading, ‘Don’t. Please stop.’
Anger and violence. The feeling of living on an edge, a sharp edge, knowing that one misstep would cut. The feeling of being on alert, antennae ever ready, watching, listening, feeling for a change in the atmosphere, the mood of the house.
Being cautious, tip toeing, not knowing if you were allowed to do something because one day it would be acceptable and the next day not. One day you would be in the light, the next day in the shade. One false move and you would be cast out, the back turned, a frown. Small, seemingly minor postures or facial expressions that only you knew what they meant. Trying your hardest to do the right thing, but failing, often.
Learning that you’re not good, not a good child. Feeling ashamed of yourself. Feeling different, an outcast. Lesser than the others whose mothers loved them. Wishing, wishing for that. Wishing you’d been born different to how you were, because if you’d been born good, better, you’d please your motherand she wouldn’t have to punish you.
Continue reading here.