Embodied Heart

Small Treasures, Discarded

I’ve decided to call the posts I share that relate more to my personal experiences #EmbodiedHeart to represent the goal I have in processing and relating them to others. These posts will contain aspects of my trauma story and could perhaps be triggering, although I do not intend to share a lot of specific abuse memories. I hope to hear from you if what I’ve written connects for you.

I had one special box as a child. It had held a honeycomb a relative had harvested from his beehive. The lid was clear plastic but the box was study. It contained all of my miniature treasures. I was fascinated with dollhouses when I was younger, and always longed for a grand Victorian model made of real wood. That didn’t happen, but I went about gathering tiny items, some of which would have fit right into a dollhouse. A blue and white ceramic pot. A clay bead my father told me may have come from a Native American settlement. Fragments of a pocket-watch into which rubies were embedded. No one ever showed any curiosity or interest in my collection, but it meant enough to me I’d originally settle on becoming an archeologist when I was grown. I loved the idea of digging in the dirt and finding buried treasure.

I left my family abruptly in my 20’s. The memories of abuse fully surfaced weeks after I made my final visit and cut off communication. All my childhood mementoes, including most of my photos, yearbooks and journals, were suddenly inaccessible. It’s hard to remember yourself without anything from your childhood.

Yesterday I was walking my dog. A few young neighbor girls love him, and came running up to greet us. One of them announced she had some drawings for him. My heart ached when she handed them over to me. It ached because it’s rare for me to receive gifts like this. It ached because of her lack of shame. I would never had dared to think someone else would have wanted my drawings as a child; my mother schooled me early and often in the burden I inevitability caused to everyone around me. It ached because, without my history of abuse, I’m certain I would have become a mother, one who would have delighted in having her children create all sorts of art for her.

The box I’d had when I was younger kept arising and arising in my mind after this. I couldn’t understand why, other than that it had something to do with childhood curiosity. Then the memory snapped into focus. The box was missing before I cut off contact. I’d last stayed with my family earlier in the year before I left, and had searched high and low for it. It was nowhere to be found. Out of all my possessions, in my mother’s “organization” efforts, that one item had disappeared. I starting remembering objects that mysteriously vanished as a child, such as a drawing a friend had made for me. How she somehow found a hate note I’d written her, folded up, and hidden in a cupboard in my bedroom. All the small treasures, discarded.

I will be spending some money and time to make myself decorated tins for each full moon, 13 in total. I will include tiny mementoes I collect during the month in each of them, and will use each for a ritual. A part of me feels utterly pathetic for doing so, and my mind rings with taunts of pretending. Pretending to have happy times filled with little surprises. But, a stronger and perhaps wiser part of me says “fuck it.” I’ve lost my childhood; my childhood was loss, but something in me needs a tangible symbol I’m reclaiming every moment and every piece of experience and existence I can (and miniaturizing it if at all possible!).

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