Tuesday, 17 February 2015

The things left unremembered in one's past

A while ago I touched upon something which may have happened to me when I was still very young. An event which around the age of five turned me from a cheerful, open and very chatty child into one which was withdrawn, quiet and generally avoided contact with others until I was about twenty-one. Not because I consciously wanted to, because I always felt very frustrated at not fitting in and feeling like I somehow not belonged there. During many interviews over the past years I have referred to this change when I was a child as a result of me being intersex and possibly because of my giftedness as well.

Yet as more and more memories are returning to me over the past months, I'm beginning to remember things which do not fit in with that theory. Memories which seem to fit better with a far more disturbing thing which my mother asked me once about, in a very concerned manner. The matter being whether I remember being sexually or otherwise physically abused as a young child. Back then I said that no, I could not remember any such thing ever happening to me and the mere thought seemed ridiculous to me.

The past years that confidence has been slowly eroding, however. Digging further into my past and especially recently remembering things I had completely forgotten about. The important clues are in the way I changed after my fifth year. Becoming quiet and withdrawn are things which can easily happen to children who are gifted or otherwise 'different' from their peers, so that in itself is nothing to get worried about. What is upsetting is that I more and more vividly remember a far more disturbing trend, namely that of... I'd almost call it an obsession with thoughts about sexuality, as well as the worrisome aspect of me exposing myself in a variety of situations.

Especially the latter is more akin to the behaviour observed in young children who suffered sexual abuse, as they begin to imitate or otherwise repeat actions performed or observed. It's a disconcerting notion that I began to do these things without really understanding why it was so important if not obsessive to me. I remember going through a similar period of excessive sexual behaviour after suffering getting raped in 2006. That lasted for over a year until I met someone who made me wake up from that nightmare.

Why would I worry about it if I really did get sexually abused as a 4-5 year old child? It's in the past, right? I'm an adult now and nothing which happened to me as a child can hurt me now. Everyone knows that.

Of course, that's utter nonsense. There has been an increasing number of studies which show just how severe the impact of childhood experiences is, particularly those involving trauma. If it's true that I did suffer sexual or similar abuse at such a young age it'd explain a lot about my behaviour after that time, also about my intense withdrawal from social life and the intense struggle with emotional puberty far beyond what would seem reasonable merely from me being intersex.

It's still possible that nothing happened, and it was all just coincidence. Maybe I was just a weird child that I felt compelled to do those in hindsight incredibly embarrassing things, even if I cannot for the life of me remember what made me do it beyond just 'an urge'. Maybe I'm underestimating the effect my then unrecognised intersex condition had on me, emotionally. Yet the puzzle pieces still don't fit nicely.

Maybe I'll remember some day. Maybe not. Only time will tell.


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