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Going through life backwards – part 1

This powerful and moving letter is written by Bibi, a survivor.

A letter to anyone who has gone through life backwards,

Yes you read that right. No I am not talking about time travel. I am talking about the order of life “lessons” you learn.

We come into this world a soft squidgy completely helpless being. We have to win people over with our lovely smell, smile, gurgle, squidginess, burps or we will die. To not be liked as this overgrown embryo, is life or death. Without someone who loves us, who would protect our squishiness, or feed our bodies, or train our brains for life we wouldn’t survive. Love is survival. No less than food or water. So it’s hardwired in our brains. We need to be loved and accepted or else…..death.

For some of us, as we get older, things get progressively more complicated. We start out with Grown Ups Who Know Things and as we get older we slowly learn that Grown Ups aren’t magic. They don’t always have answers, sometimes they have wrong answers, and that no one really knows what they are doing (to some extent). You realise you ARE the Grown Ups and it’s scary. Maybe you have a mid-life crisis. If you have chosen to create mini humans in your laboratory of love, or if you have a job where you hold people’s lives in your hands, then this feeling is probably most likely magnified. It descends upon you as your first little wriggly squidgy thing appears in your arms and you can see that its very life relies completely and utterly on your ability to be a Grown Up. You were not long ago completely helpless and now you are in charge of a completely helpless squidgy thing? You aren’t ready. You are stressed and freaked out. You feel overwhelmed. You are at the beck and call of beings that need so much. All of the time. And you are knackered, Never have you been so knackered. Your brain is fried. And you feel like you are losing your identity – your Self.

But maybe you go to therapy or find new friends and learn to rediscover your Self. As you get older, your body starts giving up on you, it complains all the time. You lose friends, you lose family. You might need to start caring for your Grown Ups, who suddenly seem so small and fragile and helpless and squidgy. You might go through traumas, divorces, moving house, illness, redundancy, bereavement. Life is hard. You wish you could just be a carefree child running in a field of daisies again, your biggest problem being that your ice lolly is the wrong shade of yellow. But it also has a lot of good stuff, thought you may have your regrets.

We are all human and we all feel pain and loss but some people experience these things in reverse. They could be rich beyond your wildest dreams, or poorer than your worst nightmares. They might be fat or thin, loud or quiet. There’s no class of person that is immune, but if you grew up in poverty there is more likelihood of being a part of this group.

This group of people are forced to live life backwards, because of adversity in childhood. In life, stress is helpful. Hardship builds character. But toxic chronic stress as children means we lose our childhoods, our identities before they are formed and many years of our lives.

To be continued…

Posted 11 May 2017