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  • Who I Am...Then and Now

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    5 posts, 5 voices, 669 views, started Dec 3, 2008

    Posted on Wednesday, December 3, 2008 by Karyn Olson

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    • Pearl
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      Sometime ago I wrote this short autobiography and submitted it to Lifechallenges.org.  Lifechallenges is a place where you can submitt your own stories about your own experiences and challenges...I happened upon on it by accident one day and was amazed by many of the stories I read there...I had always known that I had a story to tell but just never had the means or courage to do it...that day I decided that was what I was going to do...this is my submission...

      If you are interested in accessing this site...here is the link  [Link Removed] 

      *WHO I AM...THEN AND NOW*
      I was born in a small community in Northern Ontario...At the time of my birth my mother was 17 years old...single and incarcerated in a work camp in Sioux Look Out Ontario.

      My mother is native and originally comes from a reserve north of Thunder Bay Ontario...My father who also came from the same community died when I was an infant...Carbon Monoxide poisoning...that’s what I have been told...I don’t know too much about him...but what I do know is that he was young, handsome and most important of all...he loved me...And that is all I need to know.

      Mom tried to hide her pregnancy...and did up until she was eight months gone...when her father found out he freaked and beat her up...told her to get an abortion or he would do it for her...My God...how can some people be so cruel and uncaring?

      When I was about two and half years old my mother met and married a newly landed immigrant.  From that day on my life would be different...I left my home community and never looked back.

      My step-father worked for the Federal Government so that kept us on the move...Always moving here and there...no stability...new school...new friends...I hated it.  I’ve lived in various places in Alberta and the Northwest Territories...This constant moving left me with no stability and no sense of belonging...A feeling that I still feel today.

      When I was a child I used to think of my life as pretty sheltered and I didn’t know of the misfortunes of other people.  When I mean misfortunes I refer to poverty, alcoholism, sexual/child and domestic abuse.  The reason I say this is because we were never aware of these things.  We really didn’t know what they meant. In our home they were never spoken of.

      But today as an independant adult I realize that I was exposed to more than I thought.  I guess I figured because I was so comfortable in my own so called sheltered environment everything was ok  and all other things didn’t exist.  I also had a few deep dark secrets that I had been keeping to myself and was too ashamed of letting anyone know. So I continued on this pretense that everything was ok. Little did anyone know that I was living in my own little nightmare.

      Eventually my parents divorced...leaving us children with our father.  It was harder for me to adjust because he wasn’t my natural father...I always felt I was different and was treated as such.

      Another thing I had a hard time coping with is being of native ancestory and living in the white world.  I couldn’t understand it when someone referred to me as an “Indian” or “Wagon burner“. I had no knowledge or identity of myself or my culture.

      At a very young age I was sexually abused by my maternal grandfather.  That was only the beginning...through out my childhood and early teens I was prey to most men...These experienced left me with mixed feelings about love, sex, relationships and trust...these feelings stayed with me well into adulthood.

      With this heavy load on my shoulders I began on my road to rebellion.  At a young age I learned to push people away. I was afraid to love and be loved...Most of all I learned to repress all my feelings, hurts and angers...something that I would pay for dearly later in life.

      By  the time I was 13 I had gone out of control...the only solution was to ship me off to my mother...and that is exactly what my dad did.  Arriving at my mother’s, a person whom I hadn’t seen for years was an experience in itself...When I first arrived everything was perfect.  Reuniting with family I hadn’t seen in years was a blast and overjoying.  But soon the honeymoon was over.  No sooner did I settle down into what I thought was a normal life...everything started happening.

      My mother and new step-father drank lots...from little bits of imformation I gathered from family and friends I came to realize that they were alcholics...But this was not new to me...because the same behavior went on with my other family...the only thing different was that I was in a totally different social and economic level.  Welfare, hunger and being poor...that was all a part of my life now...Things that I didn’t know anything of...with all of these elements now in my life I began to regress even further.

      By the time I got into highschool I had given up on all hope of anything promising.  I lost my courage to even try...This led me to thing I hated the most...ALCOHOL...The very thing that tore my family apart and onset my horrifying experiences sexual abuse.  By the time I was 15 I left home and ran about...not caring what others thought or said about me.  My life was nothing but one big party...whooo hooo...but still I wasn’t happy...

      My solution for that was the geographical cure...yeah right...as if that would solve anything...new place, new home, new friends...but still the same old me...nothing changed.

      When I was 19 I got pragnant...I was sooo happy...Not sure what happened to me but something inside changed...I was going to have a baby...maybe that’s what it was...my maternal instincts kicked in...on my 20th birthday my daughter Miranda was born...And she was the cutest thing that I ever saw...the best thing that ever happened to me.  The relationship between me and her father didn’t work out but I didn’t care...I was happy to have my beautiful baby girl.

      Out of one relationship and into another...I found myself pragnant again.  This relationship didn’t work out either...So I packed up and headed back to Ontario.  Alot had changed in the years I was away...People changed...Thunder Bay Changed and of course I changed...It was a big adjustment...

      Melissa was born on December 13, 1984...Another miracle had happened.  I guess it was right there and then I realized my children were the most important thing in my life.  They were what kept me going.  I realized all I didn’t have as a child...my children were going to get...the loving, the understanding, the bonding and the nurturing.  I believe strongly that had I been provided with these basic elements of life my life might have taken another direction.

      I moved to Winnipeg Manitoba in ‘86 and things went well...kids were doing good...I was doing good...everything was great...until....I met him...then all hell broke loose...things would never be the same...After a month of seeing him...I learned how it felt to have the wrath of man at your door...yes...I found myself in an abusive relationship...something that I said would never happen to me...

      The beatings got worse as time passed...to the point where I was hospitalized a few times...my once unmarked face shows many scars...scars that were put there to make me look ugly so that no other man would look at me or love me...but still I stayed..hoping and praying that I could fix it...fix him...change him and make him better...It wasn’t until later that I come to the realization that I can’t do that...the only person that can do that is him himself...so I decided to fix myself...I joined a support group for abused women....took counselling and read tons of self-help books...slowly I could see the change in me...I was beginning to find myself...After about a year of intense therapy I decided to leave him...and although it was one of the harder things I have done in my life...it was probably the best thing that ever happened to me...

      It has been 8 yrs since I have left him and things are great...My life has changed for the better...my relationships with my daughters have improved...I am a gramma...to a handsome little man who means the world to me...I am not sure where my love life is at...but hey that’s ok...life goes on...I am ready for whatever comes my way...but most importantly of all I have learned to love myself...and accept myself for who I am...I am more caring and attentive to people and situations around me...Don’t get me wrong...I am NOT perfect...I am far from it...I still have times where I feel lost...but at least now I recognize it and try to deal with them right away...

      I have always been the person to tell what’s on my mind...before it was different...I would say it the way it is...mostly out of anger...harshly and straight to the point...try to hurt you with it....now I find it harder to tell it how it is because I am not saying it out of anger...I am telling my true feelings...from my heart...something I could never do...If I hurt I want you to know that...If I am happy I want to share that with you.

      Another thing that I have learned is that I am a forgiving person...there are always 2 sides to the coin...whatever hurts people inflicted on me was partially due to their own demons...demons that they have not dealt with...and until they deal with them they will go on hurting others...something that I realized that I no longer wanted to do.

      I think that is why the quote “To Thine Ownself Be True” is so important to me...after all...how can I be true to others when I couldn’t be true to myself...that sure is a motivation to change...

      I have been wanting to do a writing such as this for a long time...but kept putting it off...I guess for me it is part of my healing...to you..it is to let you know who I am and where I am coming from...Also if my words could just help one person...then it is a blessing.


      Karyno, Your links have been removed, please consider upgrading to premium membership.

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