There is always one moment in childhood when a door opens and lets the future in. — Graham Greene
I have spent a good bit of time contemplating this post. Then versus now… 10 year old me versus 62 year old me.
I looked for photo’s, but… sadly, there are few photos from my childhood. I could find my 6th grade photo… but not one from the year before. But perhaps my memories will be enough… and by leaning in to authenticity… perhaps I will have some success telling a story that is hard to tell.
Ten year old me was an avid reader… books, you see gave me the greatest escape. I could settle into a book and suddenly be miles away. But, really… the only hope I had for my childhood was to simply survive. The “open door to my future” did not come until my sophomore year in high school, when I moved in permanently with my grandparents.
I’ve never spent any time then… or now… immersed in self-pity. Do I wish things had been different for me? Some days yes… (especially, when I have to figure out how to unpack the past and talk about it in any fashion…sigh) but most days not at all and though it has taken me a long time to say this… I very much like the person I am today… a person who still loves to read and most definitely is a survivor!
I think that 10 year old me would love what I am today… a confident, independent woman. I think that 10 year old who had no confidence for so many things, herself included, has found the confidence to say yes to things, and, perhaps more importantly, to say no to things as well..without worries of repercussions. I think that 10 year old me would love that I make myself a priority for some part of each day. I think 10 year old me would love how I am working through this year learning how to be more authentic with myself… a big part of which is learning to temper my inner critic. I think 10 year old me would be amazed that I am like myself…lots! And that I am learning to nurture those moments like the treasure they are!
But there are fun then and now things as well… I think 10 year old me would be shocked at how I now have an entire wardrobe made by me… that I wear regularly and LOVE! (10 Year Old Me thought ready-to-wear clothes that were not “second hand” were a wonder!)
I think 10 year old me would really wonder how I can like to read books that aren’t about horses…(for the longest time 10 year old me thought that Black Beauty was the be all, end all of books!)
I think that 10 year old me might wonder why I don’t spend time outdoors galloping around… or singing silly songs… (10 year old me could belt out all the “jingles!” and I still have perfect recall of all the words of this ditty as well as practically perfect recall of every episode of Schoolhouse Rock!)
I think that 10 year old me who struggled mightily with math would be in awe of my mad math skills today!
All in all… I am so grateful to that 10 year old girl who knew that escape and survive was the best solution then…and to the me now who realizes that it is okay for the past to stay in the past. That while that past made me what I am, it does not make up the minutes of my day today. And that makes then and now so much better!
Thank you for visiting this month… I will be. back on Wednesday with some Skirt Knitting updates!
Thanks for sharing your 10-year-old self, Kat. It may have been difficult, but definitely authentic. I’m glad reading provided escape and is still such a big part of your life. I wish I had known you then; you could have introduced me to Black Beauty and I could have told you about Misty of Chincoteague. We could also have sung School house Rock together. I still catch myself running through Conjunction Junction or Lolly, Lolly, Lolly Get Your Adverbs Here if I’m thinking about parts of speech. Ten years old may have been difficult, but it helped you become the strong, authentic, wonderful person you are today!
I applaud you for being able to write this post.
My childhood bears resemblance to yours and sometimes the past will not stay in the past even though the people have passed. Sometimes (for no good reason) I still fall into survival mode……..hateful words said still have the power to sting.
I’m glad you found your way to confidence and power.
On a different topic ………………I finished Tin Man yesterday. It was a very good recommendation. Thank you for posting it.
It has been a very long, hard struggle. One that I don’t win everyday, but I am learning how to step past it. I am sending you an extra measure of self-kindness today. I think surviving is something to be proud of… and I tell myself that every day.
Bravo to you Kat! You’ve definitely evolved/grown into an authentic woman. (I loved ALL the horse books too.)
Beautiful post – looking back isn’t as fun as being present now and enjoying the gifts of each day. I was an anxious child and was not fully understood or supported, but back then they didn’t have the knowledge and skills that they do now to navigate a sensitive little girl. Big hugs to you!!
Ten year Old you would be so impressed by you now. Thank you for trusting us with this honest post. Reading for me was entrenched in my soul by ten too. I loved the Mallory Towers books by Enid Blyton at a similar age.
I’d like to go back in time and give 10 year old Kat a big hug . I’d look her in the eye and tell her that it’s going to get better and she’s going to grow up and knit and spin and sew and have loads of friends from all over the place. Thanks for sharing your story with us.
I think 10-year-old you would be incredibly proud of the confident, strong woman you are today! I think it’s pretty telling how many of us who were voracious readers as kids used books to help us through difficult times, too.
I too think that 10 year old would be proud of the 62 year old woman of today. Although it sounds as if your childhood was incredibly difficult, that 10 year old who knew survival was the goal was very courageous. And books, I wonder how many of us found refuge in books.
Oh, I know that 10-year-old Kat would be in AWE of 62-year-old Kat! Don’t you wish you could take your 10-year-old self into your arms and just . . . let her know that things would get better? And that her strength got you through so much over the years in between? XO (And I loved Black Beauty, too! Also National Velvet and Misty of Chincoteague.)