For many years I have thought I would write a book about my life story but there have been many things which have held me back. I am really starting to break through those barriers now and there has been significant progress in my acceptance of my journey. When I imagined writing my story before, it was never as an autobiography. I imagined writing my story as a work of fiction and with a pseudonym so that no one would know that it was my story. No one would be able to look at me and know that "those things" happened to me.
From a young age I did not know how to be. I heard, from a teacher, that fundamentally everything I felt and thought was wrong. I was too young to understand the concept of miscommunication. I didn't realise the words I had used meant different things to her than they did to me. When I tried to do something on my own for the first time I was laughed at by my mother and received the message that I was wrong. I didn't know what I wanted or what was right.
I stopped trying.
For the next 40 years, to a greater or lesser degree, I couldn't trust myself. I had to watch other people so I knew how to react, what to think, how to feel, what to like. In short I tried to learn what the rules were for any given situation and for any particular set of people. Not only was this completely exhausting but it left me terrified of different groups meeting each other as I could literally be a different person depending on who I was with. This behaviour meant that I found it very easy to talk to people, be friendly and gain their trust and confidence. Despite this I have always found it difficult to make friends. It also manifested as needing to have someone else with me on social occasions as the person who I can imitate to make sure I am behaving correctly.
I have had various different therapists over the last 20 years which has helped me move forward and resolve many aspects of my early life. This work, though, will never be done. When anyone experiences trauma as a young child the developing brain is altered and does not develop as it would have done without the trauma. My brain, as for others who have experienced childhood trauma, is wired differently. Some things that other people take for granted takes real effort for me. I have learnt (and am still learning) how to manage what goes on in my head, how to adapt and respond in appropriate ways and curious about thoughts which could lead me on a downward spiral. Not allowing my thoughts to run my life has been huge. But I will always come up against things where my response is not how others would respond. I will remain vigilant to recognise these situations where I doubt myself and question my responses and wonder if I am being triggered into a trauma response and whether I should adapt to conform.
This really is a lifelong journey, but it is a journey that gets easier the more I am able to learn who I am, how I am and accept both of those things. I have also discovered I am accepting my parents choice of personal identifier - my name.
I never liked my name. People I have been close to have often elongated my name and I have been comfortable with that, more than if they have called me Kim. I have also given serious consideration to changing my name my deed poll So why would I use my name on a book? Why would I use it as an identifier in business? Not using my name enabled me to hide; but it meant that I wasn't connected to my own life, my own story, my own lived experience. It is only through my recent work that I am finally coming to accept that what has happened did actually happen to me. That I am Kim, and I do have a voice. I am Kim and I want to share my story. I want to share my journey to find my voice.