story about family inflicted abuse and childhood trauma and healing
My brother introduced me to a game when we were younger. In this game, we hid in the basement, fully equipped with pretend weapons, hiding from whatever lurked outside. I'm not sure how this began or the purpose, but we spent hours on end in our creative minds. Imagine the golden glow of looking back on your childhood memories; this was one of those golden memories. Quickly, the golden light stopped glowing and faded away. I learned the truth about the abuse that occurred and the reason behind my parents' divorce. The basement was a safe space, a room full of potential imagination. It was the room I could escape from my parents' control. As the typical 3-year-old, my mind could see a dark, expressionless basement and make it into a magical wonderland where anything could happen, as almost everything did. At the time, I was hidden from the truth. The only thing I saw was the typical childhood nostalgia; not the trauma. This is one of the only memories I have with my brother, other than times that also don't represent what I wish my childhood would've been. For the past years, I've viewed my brother as a shadow. He has always been my brother, regardless that I had few to no memories of him. We were driving in the car, my dad and I, and he was in a rage. He was angry with me, I don't remember why, but it escalated. To the point where he told me that for years on end, my brother was assaulting me, and nobody knew. The light turned dark and shock overtook my body, I didn't know what this would mean. I'd never heard a word about this, not even seen my dad like this before. This wasn't supposed to happen, he wasn't supposed to tell me, at least that's what I think. He waited 16 years to tell me, who knows if I ever would have found out? After his fury-filled speech, I got more answers from him, including details and the story behind my parents' divorce, which was because of my shadowed childhood. After this, I wanted to forget. I wanted to push it away and pretend it wasn't like this. I could not grasp the fact that I felt as if I'd been lied to and as if I didn't know myself. The open space that once withheld my childhood, was now burdening my thoughts; it was an inescapable prison. I have always been hyper-aware of my past. I find it interesting that specific events in your past shape who you turned out to be. But mine never added up. I never understood why I grew up so shy, and why I closed myself off from the world at such a young age. Now I understand, I felt vulnerable and ashamed of what happened. I try to look back on my childhood, as one naturally would, but I don't want to. I don't want to remember the undeniable fact that there's a gaping hole where comfort and love should be. There will always be a part of me that wishes I could text my brother; I still can, but what about the guilt? What would my parents think? What if I regret it? I wish there were a stronger relationship. I wish his 10-year-old curiosity didn't take over, I wish he saw me as his little sister, but above all, I wish he could see how I've grown from this. The basement isn't something I should use to trap my feelings in. It's a place where I should use the open space and take the opportunity to build off that. Now, I'm 17, and I've only known for a few years. As it stands, I haven't talked to my brother in years. We say our biannual, "happy birthdays!", but that's all it's been for a while. Despite all of this, I'll admit that I do miss him, I do still view him as my brother, and I choose to forgive. I stayed mentally in that room for years, it imprisoned my thoughts, but it shouldn't have. I've learned that life is so much more than just your problems; I mean that in a good, optimistic way. To add to that, I'm not writing this for pity or empathy, I'm rather writing this for growth, for the audience who may be reading this, for any reason. I'm aware that your past is a huge factor in your present, but what I've learned is that it doesn't have to affect you as much as it's able to. I try not to let my past define me, I strive to move past it and create a new present.
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