I don't have many pics from childhood, my mom wouldn't let me have any. The few I did get, I slipped into my purse at various times throughout the years. I would say I have only about 10-15 photos from childhood, but there were hundreds.
It's been painful not having them, it's painful knowing they were probably lost in her eviction, thrown away possibly in some dumpster.
I have very few memories from childhood and those that I do have are often connected to trauma and so when I come across one of these pics, it is as if I rediscover bits and pieces of myself.
For those who don't know I chose not to be in relationship with my mother over 15 years ago, due to a very painful childhood and her mental illness. Choosing this saved my life and my sanity in so many ways and yet it is a mixed bag of emotions of course.
And so I still do not have access to those photos even if she still may have some of them.
Yesterday, my stepmom came across this one.
I've never seen it before.
My heart leaped and swelled.
I am 12 in this photo, and so much has happened, and yet here I am smiling, lifting my stepmom's hand up playfully. And that bit of sass I always seem to come across in these pics is right there.
It's as if I re-discover my little girl every time I find a photo of myself as a child. Because most of my memories are painful and traumatic, it's like I discover whole new pieces of her when I come across these pics.
I get to see happiness, or sassiness, or humor. I get to remember who I was despite what was happening to me. I get to see my spirit, alive and well no matter what violations occurred.
This matters deeply to me.
This makes me breathe deeper into myself.
It makes me feel my love and respect and admiration for this warrior child who laughed and danced in the face of her adversity.
Your recovery, your reclaiming may look differently, but what matters most is that you recover and reclaim the child in you.
She matters. She is essential to your healing.