Erasmus Mundus IMCEERES Program Tastes of life

On Trauma — Childhood (1–1)

I still don’t understand why I ended up stucked in that situation, and I still feel ashamed. I became the person I wanted to be the least. But I guess it would help me see through the past clearer by gathering all the pieces back together.

I was born in my parents’ the 20s. Being the first child, I enjoyed the love and attention from all my family members. The sweetest memories are the time when I usually spent with my grandparents in the beautiful village in the mountains. That is the most tranquil and peaceful place. I was raised with the elegant pace of nature. I remember being fearless, going up and down to the hills or the stream. I would rather be punished than give up on any chances to explore every corner of that quiet mountain. Up until now, it is still the most cherished memory carved on my mind. I dream of going back to the old times, with no fear or trauma, to revisit the wonderful dreamland and enjoy the pure smiles.

I never expected to embed anxiety, fear, and lust into the memory relating to the small village. The peaceful village which silents all the ugliness within the community, within the tribe.

Before everything happened, before I turned 9, I used to have a lot of fun with my neighbors. We had a lot of adventures all around the places. We would catch fish; “trace” the footage of animals in the forest. We would dance in the rain and play games when we were out of bed.

When I started to attend kindergarten, I only went back on holiday. I remember bringing so many toys to share with them. Occasionally we fought over some toys, although they were mine. I always had no clue how to have arguments or stand out for myself. Whenever those things happened, I turned to my grandfather. Those kids would flee away because my grandfather looked really strict. He was like a tree to me when I was little. Standing still, looking tough but provided me with everything he had. He exists in every piece of my childhood memory.

He had a small lodge nearby where he had some work in the forest. There was a break next to it. Most of the time, when we had things to celebrate, everyone went there for a campfire, to have a barbecue, or just to gather there and enjoy the moment. Even now, he passed away, and we don’t really have gatherings there anymore; I still take a walk there from time to time to bring back the memory. I can’t imagine what my childhood would have looked like if he was never here.

My mom told me he was not that gentle before becoming a grandfather. My grandfather was a typical, or to say, a traditional man. He took all the responsibilities to support the family. When my mom and uncle were little, they were under stressful economic conditions. At that time, finding a stable job with a satisfying income in the mountains was impossible. Therefore, he used to work several jobs to sustain the household. He was never attentive about taking care of the kids daily but showed up when things were out of my grandmother’s control. He was never good at expressing his consideration and love but putting everything into his efforts. I don’t know how my mom and uncle used to feel about that, whether they considered him to be a good father. All I know is that he was never easily-approched until I was born.

When I was still a baby, he made excuses to take me out and put me to sleep in his car. Sometimes the household was lack of vegetables, sometimes groceries. Whenever something was missing, I always happened to feel sleepy and needed somebody to look after me. When he took me out for “groceries,” it took hours for him to come back home. There were always “traffic jams” or some “accidents” on the way back.

In my memories, he was the most attentive grandparent I could have ever had.


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