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I had a dream about my eighth grade boyfriend last night.
It was a strange display of my subconscious, to be sure, and it’s led me down a contemplative path today.
I was very shy in eighth grade. I was nervous, anxious, and I always worried about doing the wrong thing. My friends don’t remember me this way because I was excellent at masking my feelings with humor and tried to give the impression that I was energetic and confident.
It was exhausting.
I grew up in an alcoholic family and I was the secret keeper. I wasn’t supposed to talk about the challenging things going on in my family life. So the way that I found stability and a sense of control was during the brief moments when my family was in harmony.
If everybody was “getting along,” I was doing my job.
Though, most of the time, my mom was upset and my dad was absent and they were fighting or not speaking.
My anxiety carried over into my young relationships through the incessant need to please others. If everyone else was happy, I was happy. It was a seemingly easy, manageable plan and I never once considered how it could negatively effect me in the long run.
In college, I was like a chameleon—able to quickly morph to fit other peoples’ personalities. While this is a helpful quality for getting on in social situations, when I finally found myself on my own, I started to feel like I didn’t have a sense of who I was, and that’s when things got dangerous.
That’s when I discovered all of the quick fixes, the mind-numbing substances, the obsessions. Temporary escape was the best option and it worked brilliantly. Because, like a high functioning addict, I still appeared fine to everyone I came in contact with, even if I was checked out.
Memories of much of my young life are a cloudy haze between the combination of blocking out the bad and blacking out the good.
This is where childhood trauma can land a person who’s void of the necessary tools for healing.
I didn’t know that I needed to move the old energy, to transform it or let it go. I needed to change deep-seeded patterns that no longer served me in adulthood. I had the desire to build a good future for myself but I was still stuck in my old life.
By some miracle,
I was introduced to yoga,
which lead me to therapy,
and I woke up.
Ultimately, I did the work and became the person I pretended to portray as a child. I found my authentic voice and my confidence grew. Today, I am horrible at keeping secrets and that thrills me! I am healing and I am thankful that everything unfolded just as it did. I am who I am not in spite of my past, but because of it.
I think I dreamt about my first boyfriend because there are some things about that time in my life that still creep in occasionally and scare me.
My dream was a gentle reminder to be kind and loving toward myself.
So, it’s time, yet again, to re-connect to 13-year-old Megan and say,
“You have every right to be scared. You are doing the best you can. Being a kid is so hard. But just wait. Because your dad will get sober and you will grow up to be more than okay. You are going to thrive.”
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Editor: Renée Picard
Photo: Wikimedia Commons
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