Lisa from Giving Back Girl responded to my plea that I was lost for words. Writing for uni and freelancing with tight deadlines can do that to a person. Im word spent.
Here she is talking about her space in between. I love her writing and I love that we have carved a friendship out of a chance meeting and a few online shenanigans. Follow her blog here or her twitter feed here or just send a big fat Like out to the universe if social media isn’t your thing.
And as Molly Meldrum would say…do yourself a favour (and have a read and share)
My mum died when I was 28, she was 55. Hers was an unhappy life, and even though I like to think that she adored my sister and I, and would have walked over hot coals for us, I think she may have even been a little disappointed in us. And let me just get the record straight, I loved my mum and would have walked over coals for her without flinching. But this isn’t about that. Or maybe it is.
I have a crazy-detailed memory. My life memory is like a whole series of mini movies that I can replay at will, to see what I was wearing or eating or doing. But there is a period of my life where my memory movies are dark, I don’t replay them often, perhaps when I’m with my sister and too many pinot gris’s have been consumed and we feel we need to talk about our “stuff”. Because I saw things that frankly a child should never, ever have to see. And I lived my life in a way that no child should have to live. There was nothing sinister, just negative and destructive, snipping away at any chance I had of a normal childhood.
There was a period when my mum was in a hospital (I’ll pause while you fill in the blank about the kind of hospital it was) when my powers of memory decided that “no, this is not something we’re going to save”, and my memory thankfully deserted me. I have no memory of that time, just an occasional bleep. The power of my consciousness to protect me still intrigues me.
But what amazes me most is my adult reaction to my life, when I think back on it. You see, I could have chosen to be a victim, to drape myself in a cloak of self pity, to wallow in my memories. I could have let my childhood experiences shape my future, to manipulate my relationships. I could have dragged it around all my adult experiences like an unwanted suitcase that you can’t get rid of. I could have worn a name badge with a “Hi I’m Lisa and I’m damaged”.
But I didn’t.
I chose to not let my childhood experiences have any impact or influence on my life, the life that I’m in control of. They are part of me and always will be, but I have come out of this as a survivor, someone who has chosen a “happy life” and chosen not to be a victim.
I am not a victim, I am in control of what I choose to do with my childhood experiences.
And I choose to remember the good memories.
I choose to remember how clever mum was, of the shape of her fingernails, of how she loved when I got promoted in a job, of loved the weather, and watching big seas. Now I always pick up shells from the beach, because she taught me to do that. I love that I share “Grandma” memories with my three young boys even though they never met each other, so I have given her a personality, quirky and a little kooky, which she was, and which my boys love. I love that my eldest looks like me, and that I look like my mum, and that somehow we’re keeping that part of our gene pool going. I know that my Mum would have been so proud of me for creating my beautiful boys, and for taking a gamble on a career path that she would have loved to have done herself.
My space in between is a little special, because even though I could choose to take on a role as a “victim”, I unconsciously wanted no part of that. Maybe I was a little exhausted from it all, and craved normality and happiness, or maybe I knew how destructive that could be on all the things I wanted in my life. And I think this choice has done something a little magical to my relationship with my mum. I miss her dreadfully. I love her dearly. And I have regrets that we didn’t have a second chance at life together.