I feel compelled to write this as I have been truly inspired by the bravery of my friends over at Mental Musings who have shared their stories this week, and also by the parents that I have met this weekend at Power To Achieve who brought their children to an event that is based around overcoming your fears in order to achieve your goals. I have watched children as young as 6 get up on a stage and talk to an auditorium of 1000 people, bend metal rods with their throats, and listen to every message patiently and with interest over 2x 12-hour days.
If you were not aware this week was #childrensmentalhealthweek It may be coming to a close, but the message needs to continue...
You never truly know the damage that is done until you reach your adult years. Words that were said into your younger ears come back loud and clear like a scene from a bad movie you stop, only to switch channels looking for a better movie to watch.
So this is little me, stood on a high street with the scariest Mickey Mouse I have ever seen 🤣He is frightening right? Are you frightened of him? Well, probably not as frightened as the girl stood next to him... Me. I spent my younger years constantly frightened. So in honour of every child that has ever been bullied or experienced some form of trauma I want to share one of my stories...
One of the scenes that used to replay in my innocent mind was a situation I found myself in with my grandparents. I can't remember my exact age, but I was very young. Young enough to be confused, and old enough to feel I needed to protect my grandparents by not crying out for help. Like many situations in my younger years this was one I kept to myself and like a toxic flame, it burnt my soul every day.
I stood at the end of the aisle instructed to help with bagging the items they were loading onto the conveyor belt. I didn't know what I was doing; I was more concerned about the speed in which I was doing it. I've never mastered the art of packing groceries. They are just thrown in higgledy-piggledy like a family of children trying to get into a car on a school run. My eyes flitting from bags to grandparents willing them to slow down in my mind before I royally messed the bagging up. No time to wipe my runny nose, no time to scratch my legs that were itching from my thick woolly tights. "Must concentrate. Keep going Sara". Then I feel something coming towards me from the side. I felt him before I saw him. A bad energy that caused me to look up. I don't know how many seconds our eyes connected for, but it felt like a million years. He had no hair and a sign on his head. Little Sara didn't know what it symbolised, but I found out when I was old enough to realise that it was a Swastika. He seemed angry, his mouth snarling like I was the one that stole his hair or printed the mark on his head with the ink stamps I loved to play with. I remember my belly flipping and felt instantly sick. Then I froze. Everything froze apart from my eyes which were now flitting back and forth from the man to my grandparents who were still caught up in loading. He reached into his pocket and took out a lighter and now my eyes were transfixed on this flame, and as he lowered his head to stare in my eyes through the flame the following words were about to shape my mind for many years to follow:
"I hear Nig%*!s burn faster in hell!" Then off he went. Just like that! Leaving a scar on an innocent little girl as permanent as the tattoo on his forehead.
So why am I sharing this with you? Maybe you are thinking this is too personal a story to share? Well, I am sharing this because I no longer feel that pain. This is not a sob story but an awareness story. Like many others who have inflicted pain on me, I chose to forgive in my heart. I am lucky that I built strength over the years to choose forgiveness so that I could lead a happy life. But many children do not find that strength and the pain manifests and they end up choosing negative coping mechanisms to numb the pain.
My plea to everyone reading this is to try and encourage our children to talk. When I say 'our' I am not only talking to parents. As adults, we should encourage every child even if they are not our own to speak up about their issues. I certainly wish I had spoken up as a child. Maybe I would have received the support I needed. There are millions of children out there that are also suffering in silence. It is #timetotalk
P.S The design of this Mickey Mouse costume still confuses me today. So, I also forgive the designer ;)
P.P.S To the man with the horrific tattoo imprinted on your head...you most likely will have passed now but I hope that you found peace and were able to control your projection for the pain you were clearly experiencing in your life x
Much Love & Light