Surviving and Living

Back in October, I was watching a movie, “Stuart, a Life Backwards.” It is a fantastic film about the life of Stuart Shorter, a homeless man in Cambridge. It is a real story and basically, Stuart is royally fucked up mentally because his childhood was as fucked up as a mouse refusing to eat cheese.

A friend watching the movie with me said, “Wow, this guy, he was a true survivor.”

And then it hit me: I was given away by my real parents at three days old to be raised by a sane and normal family and living the life in Paris. But when I was six years old, the social services decided that being happy couldn’t possibly be beneficial for the little girl I was, and as my bipolar mother and my alcoholic dad had moved to another district, they had to give me back to a family I did not really know, with brothers and sisters I had not properly met before.

The perfect life transformed to a kind of living hell even though I was still allowed to go back to Paris for the holidays. From age 9 to 13, I lived physical, mental and sexual abuse. At age 14, I told what happened and was treated as a liar and a piece of shit by my own blood family. After three or four months of hospital, I went back to the foster family who provided me with a golden early childhood. At age 17, I put the bastard in prison, but he only got
three years, because you know, he had loads of excuses to have done what he did [I bet you can feel the sarcasm], amongst them the facts that he was on drugs all those times, that he didn’t realize I was his sister, and that he was under 18 at the times it happened.

I, like many people who suffered abuse, qualify as a Survivor. Of course I am not a golden cheese-stick of sanity: short but deep moments of depression, self-doubt, trust, attachment issues and not properly feeling a lot of things: all of those are in my shadow.

But seriously it could be worse, some people have lived the same things, and they are worse, way worse. Some of them are psychotic, some are outlaws, some are doing some serial killing in their spare time, some can’t handle a normal life and have to fuck it up to feel comfy. So since I have realized that what I lived was not the average childhood, questions haunts me: why am I not violent? Why am I that balanced? Where the hell does all this resilience comes from? When will the Massive-Breakdown-From-Hell come, tearing my sanity to shreds and leaving me in bits at a street corner?

But I live a normal student life, with all the social aspect of it, hell, I even manage long-term relationships as I am now engaged. It just feel awkward being so normal.

What is following now is very cheesy: in every “Sane” Survivor’s life, there was, or still is, a little spark of something. Call it love/attention/care/cheese/juice of awesome, whatever you want. One day, someone gave you that. Not to say it fixed everything, because those things can’t be fixed. It’s just that what this person did for you helped living with this broken bit easier.

And that changes everything, but maybe I am mistaken. It seems like all the broken people I’ve known who ended up in the Serious Pit Of Fucked Up didn’t have anyone to show them what was right and wrong, what was self-care and self-respect, and what affection was, and it seemed like they had been deprived of it and left as dry as a fondue set after a Christmas night in which I was participating. My adoptive family gave me all of those things, others did not have this chance. If for you too, something or someone prevented you to fall into the Serious Pit Of Fucked Up, go and hug it.

Maybe one day it will break out, maybe one day I won’t be a Sane Survivor anymore, but when this day arrives I’m quite inclined to kick its guts back to where it came from.

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