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Writer's Block: When I Was Young

What do you miss most about being a kid?

The childhood I never had. What my life would have been like, what I would be like now if I'd never been neglected and abused. If I'd had adequate medical care for everything I needed, I wouldn't be nearly as disabled now as I am. If I'd been in an alternative school instead of incarcerated in the Catholic school I might have gotten a good education instead of PTSD. Physical and emotional damage in childhood can have permanent effects. There is not one bit of it that I miss. Childhood is the last legal form of slavery.
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( 4 comments — Leave a comment )
Jun. 24th, 2009 12:56 am (UTC)
"Childhood is the last legal form of slavery"

I so agree! My mom, more than my dad, treated me and my brother as her little laborers. Not to be misunderstood, I'm not talking about household chores which increase as a kid gets older and more capable...I think it would be irresponsible to raise a kid without teaching them how to care for themselves and survive in their own kitchen. I do mean a money making venture, literally building a business and running it without paying the kids (who don't want to be there yet are required to work) no matter their age, especially if it isn't the main source of family income. My brother, who was more sociable than I, found excuses not to be available until I escaped by getting my first paying job at 13 so that my availability was limited. At least I got to keep the money I earned. Life was much better before Dad retired from the Navy and Mom got greedy. Before that, home was relaxed with lots of family time, real weekends spent in the back yard and family trips.
Jun. 24th, 2009 02:35 am (UTC)
Back in the day, things were a lot more gendered and both young men and women wound up at a loss with common things ranging from how to buy food and cook it to how to unstick a clogged drain or toilet. I've run into others who had that same problem with child labor to extremes -- and with parents taking the money, too.

One friend in New Orleans lost her credit rating before she was legal age because she wound up overdrawing her credit card -- on cement for her dad's patio project that never got done. She tried to have it taken off the record. The judge did find for her eventually by the time she pursued it high enough -- at age nineteen. He'd spent all of her college fund on his projects already, money she'd saved since she started working at fourteen.

And he could, it was legal.

This is one thing that blocked my writing a lot when I was a kid, knowing that if I did go against all odds and sell a story, I wasn't entitled to keep the money for it.
Jun. 24th, 2009 09:03 pm (UTC)
A foreign culture
A Happy Childhood.

Its like a totally foreign culture with another language in another land. Thirds family life wasn't absolutely perfect - his father left his mother with four boys to raise when he was young. But her family was very supportive and he spent a great deal of time on the family farm with his grandparents, who by all accounts were great people. Big family, lots of aunts, uncles, cousins, and so on. I can sit and listen to his stories all day (and he likes to tell them) but it really is like a glimpse of a foreign land. They could be fairy tales for all the relation they have to my life.

OTH Hubby and I share rotten childhood memories. His family is not as abusive as the situation I grew up with - but our two "cultures" are from related countries at least. Still, he has a few good memories - mostly from before his sisters were born. They are 8 years apart and once they were born he became an unpaid babysitter to three baby girls, two of which were disabled - and he was 8 years old. Wonder why he doesn't want kids, eh?

Me. Well, like you my situation was pretty extreme on the scale of awful childhoods. I'm just glad I survived it. I noticed when I went through all my old photo albums some years ago, the only photos I kept were of dogs, cats, and horses. That tell you anything? Slavery, oh yes, it was that. I think I'd have to go to some of the Asian countries where they allow children to be sold into sexual prostitution to find an even slightly similar childhood story. And that would be minus the terrifying "mother" figure I had. Revisit my childhood? No thanks. The few good moments I had were ruined by my own lack of affect and inability to interact with people in a normal fashion.

I know they don't get it - but I do find myself faintly annoyed by people and this U.S. culture that assumes all mothers are saints, everyone had a wonderful childhood, etc. I try to ignore it.
Jun. 24th, 2009 11:47 pm (UTC)
Re: A foreign culture
I sometimes think that assumption is there to try to discourage the abuse, but there are so many abusers that take advantage of it to get away with what they do. It scares me, it's one more level of isolation and terror for anyone who is that kid whose family didn't treat them like the mythical norm.
( 4 comments — Leave a comment )


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Robert A. Sloan, author of Raven Dance

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