I jotted this down as a note a few weeks ago on my phone. My husband and I had gone up to Gloucestershire to visit my parents for a few days, and on the first evening we took our dog out for a short walk before bed.
If you have read my previous post, you’ll know that my teenage years were a little difficult with school and the bullying that I encountered there. This feels like a good time to share this writing… not only as a follow on from that, but also because I’ve realised that going back to a place can stir up so many different memories, emotions and even behaviours. However, I have also realised that a ‘safe space’ doesn’t always have to be co-ordinates on a map, it can also be a person.
I am very lucky, that my safe person is my husband. I realised when I spent time in Gloucestershire a couple of days ago without him, that I felt very different to how I feel when I am at home in Somerset. He helps to ground me, here in the present. He reminds me – often without words – that I am safe, I am loved and that I am not a scared fourteen year old girl any more.
I still have a lot of healing to do – but I have been with him now for sixteen years. Sixteen years of visiting my parents and not once did I attempt to bring him to this place described below – it was too painful. However, as an adult, with him by my side, with the healing that I have started to do I felt brave enough. However, as you’ll read, it did also stir up a lot of emotion.
This is unedited.
I was going to take him there, to show him the spot where a smaller version of me would sit, and wait
I never knew what for, but I knew where I didn’t want to be, where I couldn’t be, who I couldn’t face, again
Two swings and a slide, bark upon the ground. It was like a little secret area but it wasn’t a secret at all.
My mum once told the woman from the school that I could be anywhere, that I knew those alleyways like the back of my hand… I didn’t know them tonight as a woman. I lost my way, doubled back.
It was gone, all of it. I looked at the house that now stood in its place, it was established.
Nearly 20 years on and I am not established.
Bricks and mortar don’t erase a place. They don’t erase the sadness that a place can hold.
I wonder if when they tuck their children up in bed, they know that a girl once sat in this place because she didn’t know where else to go.
That she was so lost, just 5 minutes from home.
That in 20 years she would hold her husbands hand as she looked for that place, the place that is so vivid in her mind and find that it was long gone.
Just another house, in another cul de sac.
But one full of memories.
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