“The people in your age group who did not experience life-altering trauma absolutely had an advantage over you, our brain was focused on survival and they were free to grow and develop. You may feel behind but it’s because you were doing your best to survive.”~ Zoey Anne @shaktirevival
I didn’t have a childhood where I was free to grow and develop. My childhood was defined by trauma; my focus throughout my developing years, survival. I left home during my teenage years — lived in a hostel, worked after-school and weekend jobs to support myself to the end of my school years. Though accepted into a journalism course at university, I deferred for 12 months and worked two jobs to earn enough to be able to move to the city for study, often working until 11pm at night without a break.
As it turns out, I never made it to university. Life took a different trajectory and I made choices that — while I do not regret them — were choices I now recognise as coming from a foundation of unhealed trauma, that I may not have made otherwise.
Though a high achiever who has worked hard to overcome much adversity, I have still spent most of my life feeling behind. Feeling inadequate. Feeling unaccomplished. Comparing myself to others and falling short. I don’t feel as intelligent. I don’t feel as creative. I don’t have the qualifications. I don’t have the experience. I don’t have the university degree.
What I have, still, is the disadvantage. The repercussions of trauma that still continue to show up in my daily life. The PTSD. The hyper-vigilance. The insomnia. The anxiety. The health issues. The cognitive issues. The battles I fight every day to continue to overcome that which most people will never know, or understand.
And I’d be lying if I said it doesn’t get to me. It does.
Every day that I sit here and write my book I am faced with the knowledge of what I am up against in this industry: people who have not, and do not, exist with this disadvantage. People who were free to grow and develop; who have degrees and qualifications and prefixes such as “professor”. And I wonder — who am I to think I can do this?
But then I remind myself that I am here, writing this book, because despite everything, I have proven I deserve to be.
Trauma changes us. Trauma takes from us. But if we allow it, it will also makes us stronger. Resilient. Determined. Persistent. Strong-willed. Courageous.
It matters not that our progress may be slower than those who have not known what it is to simply survive. It only matters that we keep going.
We are not behind, but exactly where we are supposed to be x