Did That Really Happen? (It was real enough to me)

I had many strange experiences as a child. I experienced persistent trauma, including being told repeatedly that I couldn’t tell the difference between reality and fiction. This is true for many children. They watch a show on television and later talk about it as if they were there. The memory for that child might feel so real that the line between what is and what is not might be crossed. This is a side effect of the level of development of the child’s brain.

This is why children are often not considered proper to provide testimony. This is not just in a court of law but also in general social interactions. If an adult says something didn’t happen while a child says it did, generally, the adult will be believed. This can be an extreme detriment to children who grow up in abusive situations, especially when the adults in the situation are high functioning. If the adult can appear socially acceptable, then the child will automatically be suspect.

I grew up in such a situation. I was taught from a young age that I needed to verify what was real with an adult within my family before my lived-experiences could be trusted. I couldn’t believe myself. I learned that when I had a strange experience, I should just ignore it and keep going.

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Reality is all in the mind (or it’s super easy to brainwash kids)

WARNING: This narrative contains graphic descriptions of childhood sexual abuse.

As an adult, I’ve tried therapy several times. It’s good to talk to someone but I never seem to get what I really want from it. I’m not super clear on what it is that I am looking for but it’s definitely more than just sitting there talking about my day or my week. I think what I’m mostly looking for is just some guidance as I try to change the way my mind works.

I’ve been able to find this kind of structure in spiritual workshops. I like having guided meditations. I like having assigned reading and homework. I like journaling and creating artworks based on the system I’m working through at the time. Regular talk therapy never seems to do any of this. Instead, it’s all how are you feeling today?
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I made a mistake (or avoid surgery near the holidays unless you are dying)

Written by L.S. Saylor GentryMe In The Hospital

I made a mistake. I had $500 left in my Flexible Spending Account, which is a before tax set-aside earmarked for medical expenses, and it was the end of November. Usually my FSA is drained by the medical, dental, or vision needs of my son by this point in the year but, for the first time since I had a real job with benefits, I had money left over.

The thing about FSAs is that if you don’t use your money by a certain time, you lose it. Completely. It just gets absorbed into the government ether and poof. It’s gone. My parents didn’t have the inclination to take care of my dental or medical needs when I was young. I now think they probably didn’t take care of these things because every time we were near a medical professional, it was another chance for the abuse that was going on in our home to be found out. But, the why doesn’t matter as much as the what.
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How Harry Potter Changed My Life (or how whatever brings you joy can bring you change)

Written by L.S. Saylor Gentry

I started reading Harry Potter after my marriage fell apart. If you want to know that story, read my article “I Should Have Known Better (or if your honeymoon is a keg party don’t be surprised when it ends in divorce)”. I didn’t just lose a husband when that decision was made, I also lost my connection to the religion of my childhood. I was adrift.

Everyone has something that brings them comfort in times of trouble. For me, that something has always been reading. My grandpa taught me to read and I picked it up easily. By the time I was three, I could read an average children’s book. By the time I was in first grade, I was reading chapter books, pictures not required and not truly welcome. I could see what was happening in my own mind. I could never get into comics for this very reason. I kept forgetting to look at the pictures because I just wanted to read the words faster. I had found my truest talent and it has served me well.

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I Should Have Known Better (or if your honeymoon is a keg party, don’t be surprised when it ends in divorce)

Written by L.S. Saylor Gentry

I was never the girl who dreamed of her wedding. I never really thought about it. I didn’t dream of becoming a mother either. I never thought I would live to graduate from high school, let alone long enough to do such adult things. This might sound silly to some people. Probability should have assuaged my fears. I was a Caucasian female living in the United States of America. Barring an unexpected disease or car accident, I should have expected to live to at least 60. However, I grew up in a home filled with violence and abuse. I often believed I wouldn’t live through the night, let alone through high school.

In my junior year of high school, I took a class that most schools didn’t offer. I took a class called Topics in Math. It was a geek girl’s dream. It was an elective class in mathematics. A class geared towards teaching the types of math that would be on the ACT test and it was free! Perfect.

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Five Times I asked for Help (or why I quit trying)

I grew up in a home with parents that were way too young. My mom got pregnant with me when she was 15 years old. Her best friend had invited my mom to travel with her to Florida. My mom’s parents said no. In an act of childish revenge, my mom slept with her best friend’s boyfriend.

It sounds like an after school special but my mom ended up pregnant from her revenge fuck. Stupid, yes. Avoidable, absolutely. But it was what it was.
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