Can one ever escape from past family trauma? Parents divorcing? Abuse? Loss of a loved one? Moving? Blended families? Whatever consists of trauma within the individual? I believe that they can. It’s all about what you want as an individual. Do you want to move on from family trauma? What are you doing about it? Are you seeking a healer? a psychologist? someone to support you? I think anything is possible. For me, writing my own narrative is one way to let go of the past and move forward. And, so here my story goes.
This song makes me think of my siblings; mostly my sister. When we were younger we used to go on many crazy adventures. My sister had this friend. She had this green Jeep. It had tan leather interior and we used to ride with the windows down with the wind blowing in our hair. My sister’s friend was called Julie. I am unsure where they met, but I used to tag along. We used to drive, smoke and go from Canton, Ohio to Columbus chasing parties. We used to play this game called Radish, Radish. That game always made me laugh. Tears would pour out of my eyes with utter content. My sister was younger than me. But she was always more advanced than me in everything. She was always partying before me. She knew the best parties, the best festivals and the knew where to get the coolest clothes.
The irony of it all… she probably thought the same about me. She probably looked at me and thought, ‘Jessica had it all’ or ‘has it all’. It’s funny how people’s perspective vary. It’s that whole the grass is greener syndrome. For me, I always felt I could never keep up. I don’t mean keep up with my sister, but just people in general. It was easier to be different, to be odd, to cut my hair shorter than everyone before it was the ‘in thing’ to do and to slide on those leather pants knowing people probably judged me and at that time in my life didn’t give a rats ass who judged. I naturally escaped from the whole conformity of society. I think nowadays there would be words for me: bohemian, hedonist, neurodiverse. But, do labels help? What do you think? In the past, I didn’t care what people thought of me. But, I guess as one matures, gets married, has children, gets divorced, raises kids… one starts to develop a different view on things in life. For me, I don’t really care what people think of me. It’s just sort of like I don’t want any ill will or bad vibes in my life or on my journey. But as you get older you realise that this is all part of growing up and maturing, unfortunately.
SEEING THINGS IN A DIFFERENT PERSPECTIVE always matter!
My youngest just asked me about the moon. She said ‘how does the moon stay up in the sky?’ I said ‘due to gravitational force’. She said, so I could be upside down right now? as she puts her hands upside down along side of her hands to display exactly what she is verbalizing. I responded, yes. She stood still. Posed while hanging upside down, her hair falling loose. She said as a matter of factly, I feel better upside down. And, I replied- so do I sometimes! We giggled. Funny how when you are a child your view on life is so clear. And, sometimes we as adults tend to mess everything up.
When I was younger, my sister and I were very close. We used to stay up late and giggle. We used to see the world upside down.
When I hear Tracy Chapman’s Fast Car, nostalgia dances to me like a wave that has just hit me unexpectedly. It always makes me think of my sister and myself escaping the world together. It makes me think about just me being part of her world and being so excited about it all. It was high school. It was a long time ago. But, that is when I felt most close to her; the times when we would stay up late in bed and talk and laugh. Exactly like my very own children do now.
That doesn’t mean I leave my brother out of the equation. He and I were the dynamic duo when we used to work together. People came to see us behind the bar. We had charisma, we had something that many people didn’t have working behind the bar. We just didn’t care. We laughed, we drank, we created some of the best parties when we worked together. Those were the days.
But things evolve. We get older, get married, have children, develop something that is called ‘responsibility’ and there the story goes.
We grow, we change, we love. But one thing remains constant. The love and affection I have for my siblings. It is a continuum.
A letter of Goodbye
I am sorry for leaving
I am sorry for not leading
I am sorry for escaping
I am sorry for not mothering
I am sorry I had my own issues
I am sorry for being selfish
I am sorry for leaving you behind
I am sorry for not protecting you
My travels are coming to end
I am now in my 40’s
And, that is when you learn
You learn when you have your own kids
You learn when you fail
I am the oldest
I should have known better
I should have been there when she wasn’t
When he wasn’t
I should have been there
I am sorry for failing you
I am sorry for letting you down
I am sorry for misleading you
from Memoires across the Pond
Jessica Valentine is a Chartered Counselling Psychologist who supports people within the local community and worldwide online. She offers online Skype therapy and face-to-face counselling in East Sussex, Brighton-Hove.
follow her on FB and IG: @getwellbrighton