361. Childhood is wasted on children

WARNING: No mentions of sex or spankings in this post.

I had a mega-post all written. So big in fact that I needed to break it up into three separate posts. But then, I decided not to post it at all.

I concluded that, at that level of detail, it is not my story to share. Three posts about Chelsea are enough (357. We are Four. 358. Chelsea Moves In. 359. DD will Amp you Up). You’re stuck with me writing about my favorite topic – Me – and how better understanding Chelsea’s journey has taught me some things about myself, and people in general.

It’s a shame that childhood has to be experienced through the mind of a child! Why does such a grand time in our life, the most formative time of our life, have to be lived through the lens of a child? Why does childhood have to be wasted on children?

I say that a tongue-in-cheek to make a point that so much of what we experience as a child shapes us as adults. The problem is those experiences were interpreted through the reasoning and coping skills of a child.

Childhood experiences can have a tremendous effect on us throughout our life. And how our child-self interprets them can be so varied such that kids growing up in the same household with similar experiences can end up with totally different views about those experiences.

Those views are powerful because the conclusions we reached about an experience as a child BECOMES the conclusion that is forever embedded in our psyche. We become slaves to the reasoning skills of a child.

No matter how much we are told or provided clear evidence that an experience wasn’t our fault, or that we misinterpreted what happened, or whatever the case – there is no convincing that child otherwise. As a result, as adults, we remain mired in whatever emotions the experience triggered in our child-self and those emotions can sometimes become all-consuming.

I have a fond memory of my grandmother. I was four or five years old. I know my age because it occurred at a house they sold by the time I was six.

I walked into the kitchen and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee filled the air. She was standing, rather stoic, near the door of the back porch adjacent to the kitchen. She was staring out into her well-manicured back yard. The slight breeze of crisp and cool air seeped in through the screen door. To this day I remember the smell of the coffee, the smell of the air, the touch of the breeze on my cheek, and the look in my grandmother’s eyes.

It was a thirty second experience, or less, before she saw me and said something that broke the moment. I have no recollection of what she said, or of anything else about that day. I surmise the reason this brief experience was seared into my memory was because the look in my grandmother’s eyes. It was more stoic than serene. Even at four or five, I recognized she was deep in though about something very meaningful to her. There was something about her look that made a permanent impression in my mind. That “marker” allowed me to retain all the wonderful details about the moment.

I long to go to that house, stand by the back patio to the kitchen, door open, crisp morning air coming through the screen door, and enjoy a cup of coffee. So much so that I discovered the house is now a vacation rental. Once COVID is over, we hope to rent it! I think my love of coffee is rooted in that experience. When we are ready to rent it, I sure hope there’s a cool morning like the one in my memory.

That was a positive childhood experience. My point is, it was very mundane and inexplicable as to why that memory was seared into my psyche and gives me joy today. It doesn’t make much sense given the countless joyful things I experienced with my grandmother, but I couldn’t tell you of a single smell or what the air was like or the look in her eyes like I can for that morning in the kitchen.

But what about negative experiences? How you interpreted them as a child is now a part of who you are as an adult. Hard wired, deeply rooted, metastasized throughout the core of who you are, how you think, how you treat others, and most importantly, how you think about yourself. And those “negative experiences” could be things that are obviously traumatic, such as abuse. But they also could be over something that was mundane, yet our child-like minds interpreted them otherwise.

Suffice to say Chelsea had some traumatic experiences, and making them worse, they weren’t just cloaked in secrecy between those directly involved. It was a systemic, collective community of secrets, rooted in religion and family tradition. And while you can imagine what some of them might be, some of what she shared were truly mundane things that she interpreted a certain way.

Jaime is due back in about two weeks. Only in the last few days has Chelsea began 100% opening up with Jaime about everything. Not so much her childhood experiences – she says she shared all of that with him when they were dating. No, more importantly, she is sharing what those experiences mean to her. How they influence her, how they have defined her, and how she is striving to have them no longer define herself.

By changing those definitions, she is changing a part of who she is. Change is scary, for her, and for Jaime. While I don’t know what this means for their marriage long term, I sense this is bringing them closer together, not further apart. It’s just that the “new together” that defines their relationship will be different. Not sure exactly how or to what degree, but ultimately, they are changes for the better as far as resulting in a happy, complete, fulfilled, and secure young woman.

I said this post would be about me. Well, I guess I lied. There was a bit about Chelsea there. ANYWAY – In addition to my realization that one problem with childhood is that it is experienced by children, it also got me thinking about why I connect so strongly to submitting to my husband. It caused me to re-examine my child-mind to better understand what is that makes submission so fulfilling and wonderful to me.

It goes back all the way to Post 3. The Search when I shared how I stumbled on the idea of Domestic Discipline. As I shared in that post, I approached it with repulsive feelings, and as I read more, I felt the repulsion melt and be replaced with giddy anticipation over what is possible. Why?

You can read thirteen posts I’ve highlighted in my Shortcuts regarding my thoughts on being submissive or the nine posts I highlighted in the Shortcuts under the heading, Finding Happiness.

I’ve read through all of them again, and while all true to my feelings, they don’t fully get to the root at trying to explain why submission fulfills me. I think I will give that a go on my next post! Uh-oh, esoteric ramble time!

7 thoughts on “361. Childhood is wasted on children”

  1. As parents, we know children will develop minds of their own… and I think we forget that, too; we know we have a responsibility to mold and shape that mind… and we forget that those young minds cannot process things the way our adult minds eventually learn to do. And it’s a bit of a vicious cycle when it comes to child rearing and a lot of emotional trauma happens to children because they’re unable to process it… and it does tend to stick in their heads and long into adulthood.

    And then, because of that innate inability for such a young mind to process “adult” concepts, you’re right: No matter what you say to them about it, no matter what evidence you present, they rarely change their mind about whatever traumatized them – and even if whatever that was is something that an adult mind wouldn’t necessarily see as traumatizing.

    Once something gets stuck in their minds, getting it unstuck isn’t impossible – it can just be hard to do. Their adult mind can, in fact, make sense of a childhood event and they can tell themselves that the event should not be messing with them but the memory does a “Yeah, but…” because while it can be understood what happened and why it did, it never really changes the fact that it happened… and our minds have a tendency to hold onto negatives more than it does positives unless the trauma experienced is so severe that the young mind “forgets” it… unless something happens and it resurfaces.

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  2. Childhood experiences can also affect how we respond or react to events in our adult life. For instance if she was told “stop crying”, “be quiet “, “don’t talk about it”, as an adult if something happens she( or anyone) may shut down and suppress her feelings and reactions because that is what she was taught, conditioned to do as a child. It is a form of ptsd and cognitive behavioral therapy i believe can help in recognizing and changing reactions. No I am not a therapist and anyone looking for help needs to see their primary care provider, but unfortunately I am researching ptsd because it has come into my life from several different directions recently. I am glad it is all coming together for her.
    A question, recently went back and read your beginning posts. Do you still think Mike is not a natural dominant? Cause it seems to me it may have been always there, like your submission just waiting to come out. He grew into his own quickly and in a good way.

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    1. Thanks for sharing. Yes, our extreme reactions to things are often rooted in childhood, and can be a form of ptsd. Therapy can help and in a lot of ways the past month has been therapeutic for Chels. I’ve encouraged her to get professional help as there is only so much our love and support and guidance can do.
      As for Mike. I don’t think it’s natural in that he was predisposed to ever behave like a Dom. But like I was with submission, we both took to our roles like a duck to water. Why? Well, that’s part of what I am trying to explore in a more meaningful way than i have in some of my prior posts. Not because I have this need to reconcile some bad thing…but I’ve always been interested at getting to the root of a feeling. The more you know about yourself, the better life is! At least that’s been my experience. Thanks again!

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  3. My 19-year old nephew is having a bit of this. He is a freshmen in college. And hates it. But he says he’s, “always been told he has to go to college.” So he is. His mother and I are trying to tell him that’s not what has to happen. And maybe a trade school would be better. But every teacher since 1st grade has told him he needs to “stay in school,” so now he’s wares into that thought process. I hope he wakes up soon and realizes he shouldn’t spend all that time and money on college – when he already hates it.

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    1. Thank you for sharing. It’s a great example of what I was writing about. It isn’t always traumatic events that shape us and sometimes it has can have positive effects. For instance, he could have found that he loves it and is grateful for the constant encouragement throughout his life. But since that is not the case, he has to convince the first grade version of himself and every other version that EVERYONE was wrong. That’s hard to to. Also, things change. What was good advice regarding college in the past is no longer valid. Trade schools make more sense than ever for many people — and many trades pay exceptionally well. I am surprised at what Jaime makes as a plumber. Beats a fine arts degree working at Starbucks any day! lol. Good luck to him and I hope he recognizes what’s best for him, whichever way he goes.

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