I misunderstood my American history lessons at school when I was a young child. I find this interesting as it took me 50 years to finally learn that The American Revolutionary War began in 1775 and did not end with our independence from Britain until 1783. Therefore what I always knew as the 4th of July celebrations was just plain wrong!
The signing of the Declaration of Independence on July 4, 1776 began our war in earnest, and this we celebrate yearly, but it is the forward actions of “bombs bursting in air” that are commemorated, not the END of the war as I somehow gathered from whatever postdated news my early history teachers were telling their students.
We do not celebrate victory or the winning of the war, which was what I thought since childhood. Rather we recognize and celebrate our intention to throw all those bombs into the air, to sacrifice greatly and to achieve what we wanted: Our independence as a nation. My brain-being didn’t comprehend why anyone would make such a big deal out of an intention!
Why, I knew from the moment I was born that intention to remain intact was not going to keep me alive, nor was simply fighting that war going to do so. If I was going to survive what happened to me during those long 18 years I was going to have to WIN the war. Now THAT, in my mind, is something to celebrate!
(Interestingly, the end goal of safe and secure early attachment, whose benefits continue for its recipient throughout their lifespan, is AUTONOMY. This state is the healthiest, most balanced and advanced state of being for humans and other mammals, and it all begins with healthy mothering.)
Because it is nearly my total concern to find ways as a survivor of being a brutally abused infant and child to heal from what happened to me I figure that my own Independence Day celebration began with my first breath. This is a long war, as long as it takes for me to get from the start of my life to the end of it. The more I learn about how early trauma changed my physiological development so that I did not even end up living in the same BODY I would be in if that trauma had not occurred, the more weapons I have in my conscious arsenal to fight this war with. Always I learn how I am different because of being an early trauma survivor.
America as a whole chose to fight that war. At what point as trauma survivors do we realize what a war it is that WE fight? When do we make our choice to fight it? We did not choose to be hated, abused, traumatized and CHANGED as human beings by the experiences our earliest attachment people gave to us. I am sorry “new agers” but we DID NOT choose our trauma!
What choices do we – and can we – make now on our own behalf?
I had yet another conversation with friends yesterday about diet changes and about the topics of many of my June posts related to helping our body heal. Two of us at the table had extremely abusive and traumatic childhoods and two of us did not. The two who were spared kept remarking that “It’s all a matter of attitude. I can eat anything I want to just so long as I keep stress out of my life as much as possible and think positively.”
OK. WOW! Lucky YOU! I reminded both of these people that THEY do not live in a body formed in, by and for trauma. They were loved, cherished and well-parented as little people. I reminded them that there are some of us who were not so fortunate. We live in a body that was severely distressed and built the responses of our body to those “distressers” right into it. Our body is fragile in ways that their body has never been and will never be. I reminded them of the Center for Disease Control’s studies on Adverse Childhood Experiences that clearly shows that the more troubles a child has when little the more likely they are to die an average of 20 years earlier than their non-traumatized peers.
We are not making our troubles up, folks. But we can be as lost in the history of how trauma has affected us as I was lost about how fireworks came to be in the skies of America every 4th of July. Once we educate ourselves we are helping everyone by finding times and places to respond to others with the TRUTH about what early trauma and abuse does to infants and children IN THE DEVELOPMENT of their body-brain that troubles them for the rest of their lives.
This means that we survivors use up a lot of our life energy trying to stabilize ourselves in our life that “regular” non-survivors can spend on all kinds of other occupations. Certainly nobody lives an easy or a perfect life. But fairness matters, and it is simply FAIR that we all realize what happens to us long before we can consciously remember it shapes the body we live within all of our life in very significant ways.
This blog is packed with information about those changes.
My father’s mother was a member of the Daughters of the American Revolution, which my daughter has now joined. Family rumor has it that my mother’s mother’s side of the family were Loyalists and left America to return to Canada. I have seen no record that these ancestors were ever within American boundaries prior to 1910. They immigrated from Scotland and England into Canada around Prince Edward Island to begin with. Supposedly there was much animosity between my father’s and my mother’s sides of the family about these loyalties when my parents married.
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