There were three fundamental truths that I believed as a foundation to my childhood without question.
1, my parents would always protect me, stand by me, help me.
2, if the monsters ever got me than the police would step in like heroes and take them away
3, good people get better. Bad people get crunched through ‘the system’ and pay for their bad behaviour.
I don’t know what led to this naive belief. Was it things I learnt in school? Things I learnt from the above people? Was I told by peers? Was it reinforced through propaganda in the media? Remember the stranger danger warnings? We all knew if some strange man wearing a rain coat offered you sweets you ran away screaming and told the nearest police officer who happened to be a street over and then the rain mac man would be arrested and no one would see him again. Although no one said what the rain mac man might actually do if you took a sweet from him. Then there was the dilemma at the dr when he offered a sweet, is the sweet indicative of something bad? But the dr isn’t a stranger nor is he in a rain mac. But my mother is here and she’s not saying anything and it’s rude not to accept something that’s offered so I guess I accept a sweet.
I was a very naive kid growing up. My parents believed that kids shouldn’t know anything. At all. Often I’d sense their anxiety or stress over things but I didn’t understand why. I believe that their decision to withhold everything from me was well intended, unfortunately not well thought out. Like when I got my first period for example – anyone see Carrie?!! Yep, i thought I was dying.
Unfortunately when someone knows nothing at all, they aren’t prepared. And when they aren’t prepared, well it’s an opportunity for people that are less well intentioned.
And the second part to my parents belief is, they don’t believe in discussing anything – especially if it’s hard. They prefer things are swept under the carpet. They are old school. It doesn’t help to talk they feel. What is the point? What’s done is done.
So I learnt that my parents weren’t able to protect me or help me.
I learnt that not all predators wore rain macs
And I learnt that the police weren’t infallible – that there are archaic laws, systems, procedures, and police aren’t trained well, they forget things, they make mistakes, they lose things.
Sometimes growing up can be excruciating. And you spend your adult life angry and confused. As a parent you try to do everything you can not to do the same to your own children.
I don’t want my children to know the pain of growing up in a lie, worse still thinking that everything they thought they knew meant nothing.