Write What You Know
Write what you know. I have no idea who wrote or said those words, but they have stuck with me. I remember being a teenager when I knew I wanted to be a writer. But, I did not want to be writing about childhood abuse even though it was what I knew.
I would try to write anything but what I knew. So first, I tried fiction mainly because it didn’t involve researching anything, and then I tried a play (also slightly fictional, although the main character was me).
I tried all sorts of different ways to find my voice as a writer because I was not going to be writing about childhood abuse. Even though that is what I knew then. Now, I also know about being an adult survivor of childhood abuse.
Distance From Truth
I tried to move away from my truth because I couldn’t face it. But, I also remember thinking, no one would read that. Not only did I think no one would care, but I also didn’t think anyone would believe me. People, including my abusers, had been denying my truth for so long I didn’t believe my truth.
I grew up in an abusive home, and I know that, even if I couldn’t admit that until recently. I was abusive towards my little brother, because that was what I knew. And then sometimes I really don’t know. I am glad I didn’t try to write any of this stuff as a teenager. I was too trapped and wounded and didn’t understand much. If I had tried to face the truth then, in the midst of it, and with no support, I would have been crushed.
I would not have survived. So perhaps it is for the best that I hid all that and continued denying my truth until I could handle it. Now, I have people who love and support me. And I have the right therapist and medication. I have ALL THE PEOPLE. So basically, I am setting myself up for some serious truth-seeking and healing. And I sit here, and I write what I know.
I write what I knew of my world then, even though I have forgotten (or perhaps repressed) much of my life then. Because even without the repressed memories, I remember enough. And because I remember, I will write what I know now to be my truth then and now.
Writing About Childhood Abuse
Even so, it was what I knew. I knew the world as a horrible place. And monsters exist in human form and willfully transfer their trauma onto others, including their children. That is what I knew. So why would anyone read that?
Yes, why would anyone read about an emotionally, verbally, and sexually abused child who grew up to be an adult so lost and wounded she self-medicated to almost killing herself? Now I know who, my fellow survivors. There are millions of other adult survivors of childhood abuse and trauma worldwide. That’s who will read this.
And why are they, my fellow survivors, reading this? Because they, like me, are realizing that they aren’t alone. That there are so many survivors out there. The number of survivors means there are abusers out there right now abusing children. And those abused children will someday become me, an adult survivor of childhood abuse and trauma.
Adult Survivors of Childhood Abuse
I do not feel good knowing there is an entire next generation of adult survivors. On the contrary, it angers and saddens me. I don’t know what to do about that except to write. To write about what it was like growing up amid that abuse.
And what it was like to try to get help, to reach out to the adults in my world that I trusted, only to have them turn me away. Liability reasons and all, no one wanted to help because they feared legal retribution.
And that is the world we live in. Sadly has not changed as much as I had hoped.
Is the Present Day Better?
And I thought the internet would have changed things. And technology and micro-cameras. Or cameras on phones. Oh, man, if I had been able to record my mother’s abuse. Or my father’s. Suppose I had one of those teddy bear cams in my room at night. Oh, ho, things would have been different.
But would they have been? Where would I have gotten one of those teddy cams without either of my parents (my abusers) knowing? I had no money; I was a child. Maybe as I got older and had money, I could have purchased something like that.
But by that time, I was spending my money on drugs and alcohol because that was a tool I knew would work for me. It didn’t help me to escape the abuse in the physical sense, but emotionally and mentally, it helped me to escape. If I could numb the feelings and quiet my angry rage, that was the best a kid like me could hope for.
Still About Advocating for Yourself
Maybe I could have used the internet to reach out to social services myself. Maybe I could have researched the right words to use so that the adults would listen to me and ignore the legality of helping a kid. Maybe.
That is a lot of “maybes” regarding childhood abuse. Also, note many “well, we are in the future now” solutions to my plight were about helping myself. That’s what society expects, a kid getting themselves out of an abusive home. Kids should not have to champion themselves. And yet they do.
Writing About Childhood Abuse
I don’t have any magic words, or, hell, I don’t have any magic at all. I can’t snap my fingers and eradicate child abuse. And so it continues, passing from one generation to the next. Sometimes I think it will stop only when a giant asteroid hits Earth and wipes us out.
Outside of planet-killing asteroids, childhood abuse will continue. So those kids, someday adults, will be searching for blogs like mine. To know they are not alone. Because no matter how loud the internet can get, it never seems loud enough to help childhood abuse victims.
I don’t have magic unless you count writing. I suppose that could be considered a magical power. Then perhaps I am a bit magical after all. However, I won’t be snapping my fingers. Instead, my fingers will glide across the keyboard, writing about childhood abuse. It’s what I know. And maybe it will help change the world—one word at a time.