This last week with the kidnapping of the little girl in Vanderbiljpark, got me to thinking about my own life and how certain things have played out as a result of some of the traumas that I have experienced. Now, especially if you’re in South Africa, I know that you too have been a victim to the crime and violence that makes this country what it is.
But thinking specifically about this kidnapping – when I heard the news, I was so incredibly affected by it. I couldn’t stop thinking about it and somewhere in my heart I knew what this little child had to be feeling. For clarification, let me explain here how I could possibly connect to that feeling.
In 1960 I was 3 years old. My sister and I were riding our little tricycles outside our house on the pavement. It was mid-morning and my mother was inside cleaning up as would be normal for her. If you can imagine at that time it was also very safe for small children to play outside, unattended. On this particular day, two ladies passing the house, picked me up from my tricycle, put me in a car and took me with them. My sister who was only 5 at the time, ran inside to alert my mother. Obviously by the time she came out, I was gone. I have read that our earliest memories go back to around age 6 or 7, but there are certainly memories that spring to mind when I think back to this day. I remember where I was found, I even remember the 2 ladies although I wouldn’t be able to tell you what they looked like. I remember vividly driving in the police van with two policemen and I remember my father standing outside our house waiting for me.
All my life I have had a fear of having to go somewhere on my own. I absolutely hate to have to drive in any place that I feel like my safety could be in jeopardy in any possible way. This feeling of being unsafe is difficult for me to explain to other people and I have no doubt that there have been instances where people must think I’m being over-dramatic or something like that. The kidnapping this week of this little girl, has most certainly brought to mind, those feelings that I had on that particular day when I was just a little child of 3. And I have no doubt in my mind that my feelings of insecurity with regard to my personal safety, stems from this trauma that I experienced almost 60 years ago!
So yes, when you think about the trauma that you have had in your life, know that it has changed who you are. I wonder if my life would be different today and if I haven’t allowed myself to miss out on so many wonderful opportunities because I’ve never actually made the link back to that awful day in 1960. I have often thought would I still be alive today? I have often thought what would have become of me?
Why am I telling you this? For me it’s around us understanding our lives and understanding why we do certain things, or why it is that we cannot get past certain things in our lives. I think we owe it to ourselves to really get to know who we are and to not gloss over things that happen in our lives that feel traumatic, just because other people don’t find it as affecting as we do. I think it’s about getting to understand that every time we are caught up in something that affects us from a negative perspective, we are changed. And I’m not saying be defeatist and say well there’s nothing I can do about it. Actually there’s so much that you can do about it. You do have the power to change anything that you want to with regard to yourself and the world that you have power over. Think about that.
I’d love to hear from you about some of your experiences. Those that you have gone through and how you’ve come to make the link between that you and the now you. And more importantly, how you have been able to correct that or make your life better because of that understanding. For me while I’m coming to understand that this point in my life, 60 years ago, has affected me over so many years, I continue to work on overcoming my fears and where before I could so easily talk myself out of doing something, I now have the philosophy that I should do at least one thing that scares me, every now and then – the world will continue to spin and I’ll be just fine.