Happy July 4th to the United States Declaration of Independence Day. I grew up with July 4th meaning fireworks. When I was a kid, I hated them. The noise was so loud. Now, I take out my hearing aids I can barely hear them. Nicely muffled for my viewing experience. For me, it was another day. When I worked at a fabric store, I worked the sale because it was another day to me, then I entered counseling. Took me a couple of years and several painful reality checks for me to understand that I didn’t see 4th of July as any big deal because I was treated as a third class citizen. The freedoms enjoyed by others were not part of my understanding. I was conditioned to see fear, threats, and bullying. I gave away my power to appease others around me. I brought my childhood hiding tactics into my adult life. Never growing past the fearful hiding of PTSD with dissociation at an extreme level. I knew little about honor, truth, or the concept of freedom, they were all theories that held no personal understanding. My childhood was a fabric of lies. Entering counseling I was clueless to the ordeal of declaring independence from my past. As long as I denied, even to myself, that there was anything wrong with my childhood it held me bound. Truth campaign began. Rule number 1: Stop lying, especially to yourself. I wasn’t even sure what the truth was. My counselor helped me peel back the fabric of lies to find the seething maggots of my past morphing into strangling habits destroying every relationship. Months of one hellish session after another as I used bits and pieces of information from my current dealings with others that revealed rotted and purified thinking. Sometimes referred to as ‘stinking thinking.’ My counselor warned me that change would occur. He didn’t warn me that once I moved into the light of truth I could never go back into the dark comfort of denial. Denial is comfortable apparently easy but rotted at the core. I lived on a movie set with house fronts with no substance behind. I caught the vision when my counselor assigned me to write my own bill of rights. https://ptsd-acceptingcopingthriving.com/2015/06/18/i-have-rights/ I used my photography to help me understand some of what was happening to me.
I accepted that my childhood wasn’t the fantasy I created, “My childhood was great; we went to the park and to the zoo.” I grieved for the loss. I felt the pain I deferred for years. I stopped denying what happened. Sessions were devastating. I called the counselor’s office ‘the torture chamber.’ I understood the need to reveal the secrets I held so tenaciously. I went to great lengths to hide the truth especially from myself. Counseling continued. A seething anger hiding behind the lies and denial was eating me up and draining all my energy. The fury of knowing that I was treated less in my own home as a child. I was treated worse by the pedophile. He convinced me that I was less than nothing. Rage roared up out of the depths of my secrets unfortunately the anger rained out on everyone around me. I tried to contain it but left me exhausted. So much to hide, so many secrets, it took me years to spill the beans. I wanted to be treated with respect. I wanted to give up the lies. I wanted to tell the secrets. My counselor understood I couldn’t do it all in one go. It took years. I still love fireworks. Now I think about honor, integrity, cost of freedom, and truth.