This entry is based on a few earlier posts: here are the original concept & most directly linked entry.
Growing up early… Growing up early.
I tried to figure out why this one was included in Abigail’s list of traits. I mean, it resonated, but why?! What had happened to me that made me feel this way? Why couldn’t I point to an event that forced me to grow up?
It’s taken me a while, but I figured it out. Mom’s anxiety and break downs. The knowledge that she wasn’t strong enough to handle the world, and the childish belief that it was my job to protect her from it. That my narrow shoulders were strong enough to carry her. That my tiny hands could hold her pain.
She was wounded before I showed up, broken by the world before it laughed in her face and handed her a baby. I know that I didn’t break her, but I didn’t help either. The stress of parenting in the midst of a dark and panicked season of life, it was too much to add to her current burdens. It makes sense that she struggled.
I need to be clear: I am not responsible for anyone’s mental health but my own, and I never have been. I do not blame myself for her struggles. But I used to, before I knew better. I used to try so very hard to shield her from pain, just like she (arguably) should have been shielding me.
But life doesn’t wait until you’re ready. It comes when it wants.
Of course, I don’t actually know if I was planned or not. Maybe they thought they were ready. Maybe mom thought she was. Maybe neither realized how hard it would be for all of us.
So at a young age, I felt like I needed to be the one to guard my family, even though it was unfair to me. In addition, I felt alone in that task, even when there were others who could have contributed.
That’s why Abigail was the only one watching, and the only one leading her family to safety, and the only one running back for her father, and the only one carrying the true burden of that day.
It’s because I needed her to be burdened down, like me. Because I needed her to be unhappy and alone, like me. Because I needed to connect to someone in this way, even if it was just a character acting as my avatar.
It’s ok. Be kind to yourself. Go easy on yourself today, Flicker. Today, you won’t guard anyone. Today, you will be safe to rest. I release you.
Image is from the German Dragon Age wiki, and is of a young girl from Dragon Age Origins.