The Time Paradox – What I Once Felt A Joke

I have no clever quotes or catchy photos for this post, All I have is just this raw, sincere glimpse into my past.

One of the paradoxes regarding time is how the perspective of one moment can change so drastically. What you once thought happy you might find yourself cringing with angst. Or, maybe you’ve lost someone who you didn’t appreciate, and now you see the loss. You get the jest.

Then, sometimes, you have a meltdown and you simply have to face reality. Maybe the one you once held in such high regard, is not the saint envisioned. Whatever the case, it’s interesting how the passing of time has the ability to change emotions, while the memory in itself stays the same.

At 14, my mom was almost killed in a wreck. It ended up being not only the catalyst to ending her marriage, but it exposed me to the world of medicine. At the time, I saw it as a curse and devastation, instead of an event that would change the trajectory of my life. This included the developement as a career choice later down the road.

Reflecting at different points, especially after accumulating some greys, those monumental moments can shift from something that seems horrific, to almost comical. Other times, what you made a joke and found to be funny – well, they weren’t so funny after all. Such was the case of my dad and his second wife.

I’ve touched a little about when I was 15 and my father married a 17-year-old. As a sophomore in the early 90’s, I would hop into the backseat of the car and my father would drive my stepmom and myself to high school every morning. I made this a joke for a very, very long time.

Looking back now, I see it was really a front seat to a something akin to a freak show. I’d watch my stepmother, a senior, hop into the passenger’s side and interlock fingers with my dad while we darted down the road. As we headed to the school, she’d light a cigarette, take a drag, and lean it over to my father’s lips so that he could partake. It was truly a site.
Meanwhile, my mother was drinking herself to an oblivion, location unbeknownst to me most of the time. That was my reality.
Denial is such an awesome coping mechanism, right?
I used to say to people who thought my situation odd, “So. This is not that big of a deal.”
It was a big deal.
Lying to myself wasn’t productive, but what else was I to do?
Accepting that sometimes people are just selfish, or simply don’t care about us like we want to believe is more than just a bitter pill to swallow – it’s more the equivalent of an asphyxiating plastic bag to the face. As a teen, had I accepted my father really didn’t care much about anything but his hormones and resolving his mid-life crisis, I couldn’t have survived in my habitat at that time. I would have choked on my reality.

It’s a complex story, and could not possibly be confounded in a solitary post, but it begs the question:

Is there something, or things, that you swallowed as a child or young adult that you pretended didn’t happen or wasn’t a big deal at the time, but time changed your perspective?

If so, what are YOU going to do with it now?

How have you allowed it to affect your life?

Personally speaking, I allowed people to treat me in ways that were unacceptable. In turn, unfortunately, I’ve done the same to others. Now I must be acccountable for both.

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Life, Infidelity, and Thereafter

5 thoughts on “The Time Paradox – What I Once Felt A Joke

    1. I know it’s deep. I wish I’d realize how messed up my situation really was when I was younger so that I could have sought therapy or something. Perhaps I wouldn’t have spent decades trying to heal. I know for me, I had self-destructive behavior living in denial.

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  1. I was sexually abused when I was a child by my uncle who still lived at home with my Nana. It wasn’t until I began counselling for sexual betrayal trauma 3 1/2 years ago that I even acknowledged it. My therapist asked me about it, and then from my reply, he indicated that I had said five things in that one sentence to minimize it. It hasn’t been until I began working a 12 step program for partners of sex addicts that I truly began to understand how so much of what happened to me at that time by all the adults in my life affected me. Last week, I saw that uncle for the first time in 11 years. The first time since I began dealing with all the good, bad and ugly of my life. Time has changed my perspective on the significance of what occurred, but also on my feelings towards him.

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  2. I’m sorry that you had to endure that, Cynthia. I have to ask- did you say anything to him or anyone else? I ended up telling my mother about my cousin molesting me, but it wasn’t until I well into my 30’s, and after my perpetrator was dead (suicide).

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    1. Only my husband and therapist know. For the last thirty years I have lived in a different part of the country from my extended family. My therapist and I agreed that at this point in time, there is really no reason to share my abuse with any of them and cause possible fractures there while I am essentially out of the picture. I have been comfortable with leaving things alone. I did not confront my uncle at all on this visit home. I did wonder if he was thinking at all about it as I sat across from him though.

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