“Now it makes sense!” He said that the only thing he had remembered about childhood was that he seemed always to be alone. “Now I understand that being alone was when I felt safe. There was no one around to hurt me.” 1
This quote struck a chord with me. It resonated deeply, and it brought everything about the few good childhood memories I have into perspective…
As a child, these are a few of my most vivid memories: riding my bike for hours, searching sandy terraces for quartz crystals, exploring the woods near my home, playing in my room, sitting in my closet in the dark, reading under the covers after the lights were out, fixing meals, eating dinner, playing board games. Most of these memories are after the age of nine. All these memories are peaceful, and in every one, I am alone.
I have other memories. Memories of school, memories of being at my mom’s, memories of staying with my grandmother, In some of these memories, I am solitary, but never totally alone. Most of them are vague, the ones that are more clear are generally punctuated by fear, anxiety, or hurt (emotional or physical).
I have some memories of my “family,” as it were (dad, step-mom, brother, and me). I am not sure there are more than a couple that involve all four of us. Most of the memories are from trips to visit family or go shopping. I remember the parts where I was alone more vividly than the rest. The remaining vivid memories I have from that time are negative ones.
When I was alone, I felt safe. When I was alone, I was sure of myself. When I was alone, I was not doing ANYTHING wrong.
It makes more sense now why I prefer to be alone. My world has perspective when I am not anxious about someone else. I deal better with people when the situation is one to one because most of my positive interactions as a child were exactly that. Just me and my mom, my friend and I, etc.
My world was, and always has been, very small. I like it that way because it is all I have ever known…
1. Cecil Murphey. When a Man You Love Was Abused: A Woman’s Guide to Helping Him Overcome Childhood Sexual Molestation (p. 43). Kindle Edition.