Handle with care

Laynie Clark, Assistant Arts & Life Editor

The thing about having childhood trauma is that it never completely heals, even as you transition into life as an adult. It always creeps back up when you least expect it, but the worst part is that now you have to learn to manage it without leaning on anyone else. This can be tricky and overwhelming at first, but having patience and trusting in yourself will make the process a whole lot easier.

Everybody absorbs their trauma differently. My sister, for example, has taken it and used it to fuel the anger and hurt in her heart and turned to more rebellious acts. For myself, I tend to internalize the pain and morph it into humor, which is not always the best option depending on the type of crowd that I am in. This was a perfect example because even though we experienced the same horrors growing up we have turned to completely different methods of coping. Since we have absorbed the trauma differently, we will not experience the same type of hardships as an adult. Because of this, we cannot always go to the other for help, so we have to start parenting ourselves.

Everyday, I find myself struggling through tasks that are usually smooth sailing for others. Crowds are not my friend. This is because my body absorbed its trauma in a way that has resulted in me panicking when I am in chaotic settings with too much noise. Usually, I will do my best to avoid situations that I know will induce panic, but unfortunately, I cannot always avoid going to an event that has large crowds, so I have had to learn how to manage the panic. This is when I start talking to myself internally. I give myself the most badass pep talk by reminding myself of two important things: I am not my trauma, and I do not give it the power to control me. This helps me gain enough confidence to last through the rest of the event and go home without feeling an ounce of regret.  

It is situations like these where speaking positive affirmations to oneself is so crucial because too often we speak negatively to and about ourselves, which is something that should not be normalized. I have learned that I cannot always rely on others to build me up when I need it: the only person that will always be there for me 100% is myself and I have started to embrace that. Talking to myself in a positive way has completely changed my outlook on life and has helped me get through some of the most difficult times of my life, which is why I have made an effort to tell myself positive affirmations everyday: I am strong, I am capable, I am enough. Not only has it helped me get through the hardships of life, it has also helped me see my worth and see the kind of life that I deserve to be living. 

Childhood trauma is a bully, and I have gained enough self-respect to not let bullies control me. I am taking my life back one day at a time — though it is sometimes easier said than done — by speaking positive affirmations and going through the motions one step at a time.