When I was a young child, the way I would escape emotional, physical and even sexual abuse was by taking naps. I found that when I slept during the day, I could close my mind off to all the icky shit going on in my life. For a period of 2-3 hours, I could dream about life, love, and even happiness. My dreams were so vivid, so wonderful, and so sweet….dreams that all children should be part of.
The minute I woke up I was off to chores again and being berated. I was used to it by the age of 13 and so I knew what to expect. The narcissistic voice, the sarcastic racist humor, the constant sexual glares…I knew it was all coming and it was all there. But for me, taking a nap put me in a world of amazement. I wished that the naps would never come to an end.
My favorite animal as a child was the horse. Horses were absolutely amazing and one of my best positive memories as a child was riding them. I felt at peace with a horse. I knew how to keep them up….take them for strolls, force them into a comfortable gate….it was always fun. My A-mother use to always tell me that I was a “natural” at riding horses.
We lived on a huge farm, one that was so secluded (which made me afraid) but yet quiet, and peaceful. At the bottom of the huge hill, you would find a grassy area, kind of like a meadow. That was where my parents kept the horses. I was never afraid of them, there was never any reason to fear them. I mounted them with no help as a young one and as I became a teen, road bareback all the time. One of the best memories I have was riding bareback with one of my sisters in the river. There is not a better feeling than riding bareback, holding onto the reigns, and having them float down the river with you on them.
This was when I expressed love, and peace and happiness. When I was on them, in the wilderness, feeling the sun on my back and the rough skin of the horse under me, I was one with nature. That feeling of serenity…that feeling that no one can touch me while I’m up this high. That feeling of being in control but yet not knowing what the horse would do next. It was exhilarating. It was magical and also daunting. It was spiritual, it was a connection that I could not find until I found it in nature.
Sometimes we adoptees need to find what made us happy as children. At times I can be too focused on the negative because I have always felt that there has never been closure. But if I really look deep inside myself, and think hard about the “good” times, I know there were one or two or seven.
If we allow ourselves to keep the good and leave the bad, we allow ourselves to take that one stop closer to freedom. We set ourselves free with the truths we speak and the lived experiences we are able to share with the world with the hope that briefly, young adoptees can “skip over” the hurt and only experience what makes them happy.