Growing up with abuse the majority of my life, I didn’t get to experience a lot of happy memories like other kids do with their parents. I don’t remember going to the park very often if at all, amusement parks were incredibly rare, and any time family activities were done, they seldom provided happy memories.
A lot of the time when I wanted to go to and/or do such things, I wouldn’t be able to go because of my abusive mother, and my dad wouldn’t be able to take me because he’d be at work avoiding being around the situation.
(I still remember a promise of being taken to Carowinds when I was 13.)
So while I’ve gotten used to being the daughter that’s been abused and didn’t have a happy childhood and that was just “it”, for lack of better words, it still makes me envious to see other kids and adults who grew up with fond memories of their childhood.
It’s something all children deserve to happen, but unfortunately, it’s hard to let go of the feelings of, “Why couldn’t I have gotten that kind of life?”
Last week, I went to an amusement park at Myrtle Beach with my boyfriend and his family. He has two half siblings who are nine and ten, just a few years older than I was when the abuse started.
The last time I had gone to an amusement park was to Canada’s Wonderland with my ex and his friends, but that had a different feel to it than what I had going to one with parents. It may not have been my parents, but they were the parents of someone who is major in my life and that still has some sort of impact. We may not be married or anything, but I guess in some sort of way, they could be sort of my parents, if that makes any sense.
So when I started going on rides with my boyfriend’s family, it became incredibly sentimental to me. I felt like I was reliving my childhood but in a way it should’ve should in my late twenties, and I started to tear up (partially because one of the rides was smacking me right in the head and shoulder, but also because feelings).
There was no yelling, screaming insults, hitting, any of that. People were having a good time enjoying being kids and being parents and watching their kids enjoy their time. These are all concepts that have been foreign to me for as long as I can remember.
What’s weird to me is part of me was so uncomfortable, and for what? These were all good things to experience and I should have been happy, and at the same time, I was. But, for some reason, I could not shake off the feeling that it was also so wrong for me to experience this.
But I wanted more. And I started to cry to myself because it felt like a piece of me that was missing was starting to show up. Yes, I’m a 28-year-old woman who started getting emotional over things that are more “for” kids, but when something or someone has been neglected for so long, you sometimes simply can’t help it.
One thing I’d like people who are reading this to keep in mind is that this isn’t about just getting to go to amusement parks. I’m not making this a piece of, “Wah, I didn’t get to go to the park like others did, woe is me.” It’s more about the happy experiences that people get as a family, whether that be a trip to an expensive park, or a regular nature park, or even just spending time playing soccer or catch in the front yard.
It’s about not experiencing proper love and care as a child when you saw others get those things, and feeling discomfort when finally experiencing it in some way but yet also yearning for more.