I remember you pushing me out of the motor homes doors into that parking lot, where you had pushed my mother just before me. A few personal items were pitched out afterwards before you drove away, leaving us with practically nothing and in a different country no less.
That’s my memory of Disneyland.
Of course there were better moments before this one, there had to be, it was Disney after all. I don’t remember those good moments. A picture of me with Mickey mouse shows it couldn’t have all been bad, I was smiling wasn’t I?
I remember the “It’s a Small World” ride, sitting alone because no one in my family wanted to go on it and since it was turning into yet another fight I went by myself. I remember thinking it was a break from the tension and arguments that seemed to follow us wherever we went.
After we left the park, I think we were supposed to start our trip back to Canada. I couldn’t tell you what started the argument, but it escalated to a screaming match between the two of them. We all sat in the back of the motor home listening to the shouting, and threats.
Then all of a sudden he smashed the console area where cup holders were in the motorhome so hard it broke in half, because she said something he didn’t like.
I won’t lie, I was terrified every time these outbursts happened. I was probably 11 or 12 during this one, and had been happening since they got together several years prior. This wasn’t something new, they couldn’t argue about anything without it turning into extremely unhealthy, and abusive fights.
Something my adult self can now articulate, but it all still rings through my head every time some one raises their voice even a little and that little girl inside is still terrified.
He didn’t hit her this time, but there was an audience which usually meant he holds back just a little.
After he broke the console, she started screaming at him she would never marry him and tore off the engagement ring he had just given her weeks prior and threw it towards the back of the motor home.
She got up and told me to get my things, before I could do anything I was being pushed out the side door of the motorhome falling to the ground of a parking lot with my mother.
We sat in that parking lot for what seemed like hours, I remember crying and worrying what we were going to do. We had no money, no food, no nothing, and were Canadians in Florida. My mother didn’t seem to know what to do either, which only grew my fears when I asked her what we were going to do.
I needed her to tell me it was all going to be ok, but she couldn’t and that scared me being so far from home.
I remember her calling my aunt desperate for help, and money to try and figure out this mess and get us home.
The dickhead eventually came back. We were still sitting in the same spot. Could have been an hour, but it felt like all day
I don’t remember if I felt relieved he came back, or scared having to get back in that motorhome. But if I could take a guess, I was very conflicted and would have considered living the rest of my uncertain life in that parking lot as opposed to the alternative.
I don’t remember an apology or any kind of reconciliation, no signs of remorse for what he had just done. In his mind, I’m sure it was warranted, even deserved for something she said or did.
I sure as fuck didn’t do anything, so in the very least I deserved some sort of apology. I was scared beyond belief. I still make sure I have my own set of keys before I go anywhere so I know I can get home if I need to. I don’t even rely on my partner to have keys for the both of us now as a damn adult.
I live alot of my life in fear, just try and stop me. It’s hard for me not to have so many moments like these happen in one short childhood devastated my trust everything. Even myself.
I remember the awkwardness that hung over us all the way back to Canada. No one spoke, and if they did it was littered with fakeness pretending what had just happened didn’t. Let’s just sweep that one under the rug, with the rest of it.
We were in need of a bigger, larger than life rug.
That was the story of our lives, that rug was heaping with mounds of shit under it. Surely though when we got back all our friends and family heard about the wonderful trip to Disney we all enjoyed. “What wonderful experiences and memories you are giving your kids” people would say.
The pictures proved it. We were there. There were smile in those pictures. That is what you do when someone takes your picture. Smiles must mean happiness, right?
They gave me memories alright. Those memories are so engrained in every cell of my being, and am reminded of them every day. Reminded, or triggered is more like it.
This is one story, there was alot of those days in my childhood. That’s alot of memories, alot of triggers.
Talk therapy, EMDR, Homeopathy, NSA, and doing the work, making needed changes to my life has helped me process alot of things and I am getting better at functioning in a healthier way every day.
It’s a lifelong journey to heal, and I am committed to finding myself that was left behind all those years surviving that shitstorm.
My childhood was full of people and moments that will forever hurt my soul, but they all gave me one thing. The example of what I don’t want to be, or have in my life. The example of what I will never accept in my son’s life, or be that toxic example to him.
While I can’t protect him from life’s shitstorm, he will always have someone there for him to help through it all. He will never have to go through it alone.