Unlearning All I Know

There were a lot of things I learned in my youth that I have spent what feels like a lifetime unlearning.

I’ve learned that it’s okay to cry and show emotion.

I’ve learned that it’s not okay to be terrified of my family.

I’ve learned that I am not stupid, or an idiot, or useless.

I’ve learned that asking for help doesn’t make me weak.


Growing up was hard. There were a variety of reasons, but it was mostly due to poor living conditions. I was only able to make it due to the support I received from my extended family. Honestly, if I had not been as close to them as I was I don’t believe I would be here writing this today. Life at home was that stressful, that terrifying, that painful.

Mistakes were made; however I need to remind myself sometimes that I was a child. That it would have been impossible for me to know better. That I am learning what is right, how to parent lovingly and how to forgive myself for not having all the answers when I was far to young to realize that there was a big world out there.

As I grow and experience the universe and all it has to offer I learn even more.

I’ve learned that just because you are related to someone by blood, regardless of your relationship with them, doesn’t mean that they are automatically right. It doesn’t mean that they automatically know best, that their versions of history are fact, or that you have to love them. It’s been such a forced mindset; obeying everything people say just because they are related to me. I don’t have to be in contact with people who constantly put me down, disparage my existence or throw horrible information at me just because they feel entitled to do that.

As a grown up, I am in charge of protecting myself now, and that means protecting all of me from whoever would see to do me harm. I’m honestly too tired, too apathetic to try and please people any more. I shouldn’t have to fight so hard against people who you would think would love me (because apparently that’s what family does) just to have my voice heard.

And as much as I am entitled to that, so are they. If they choose to remember history as it benefits them, they can do that. If they need to paint me with dirty water and unclean, fabricated memories just so they can feel better about themselves, I will let them. I know in my heart what my life was like. I lived it after all.

It’s time now, I think, to let go. To look forward to the life I am creating with my chosen clan. To forgive myself for not knowing how to protect my younger self. While some habits are harder to unlearn than others, all I can do is my best.

Posted by Sarah Jayne

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