I always thought that my life wasn't traumatic. No abuse that I could remember. Not anything that other people would call abuse. Just a lot of isolation and occasional teasing from other kids. It was supposed to be ok because kids always do that to each other. "They do it because they like you." That is what I was told.
But the truth is they didn't do it because they liked me. They didn't do that to other kids, and I didn't do it to people I liked. They did it because I was different. I made them uncomfortable, so they got comfortable by teasing me. And the truth is that when all I wanted was to be a regular seven-year-old kid, the teasing and the isolation hurt. It hurt more than anybody could ever know. It hurt so bad that I had to pretend I had playmates. I don't know what I would have done without my pretend playmates. The cycle had already been started, the hurt already driven in deep. It is now 18 years later, and I am still fearing that the few friends I do make will decide I am too weird or troublesome to be worth their time. In fact, I guess subconsciously I am drawn to other people who are different. Different people have to stick together, you know. We stay together because neither of us wants to be alone. It's one of the few times in life when we are accepted instead of teased or ignored, and we enjoy it and probably think we cannot ever find it again.
Was this trauma? Oh, probably not by some other people's standards. But trauma is relative, isn't it? It depends on so many things! I wasn't supposed to feel hurt because it was just normal kid stuff. Just like sexually abused kids aren't supposed to feel hurt because, the abuser and other enablers tell them, it's because the child is loved. Loved, maybe, in some sick way. Loved for the pleasure and comfort that other people get out of watching me make a fool of myself. Love because it was funny when I stepped up on a step that wasn't there. Love because it was funny when I tried to talk to my friend and she was no longer there. It was funny. It certainly wasn't supposed to be humiliating!
But it WAS humiliating, and it made me think I was incompetent, and it WAS traumatic. What is trauma, then? All I've ever wanted was for someone to tell me that I wasn't crazy for developing some psychological disturbance because I was a blind kid. Up until now, everyone has just told me it was a matter of me accepting my blindness. Well, how do I do that? I hate my blindness. It made people do things that hurt me. It made me do stupid things that I never intended to do. It made me a helpless, dependent person and the only way I could get out of that role was for someone to feel compassionate enough and to take enough time out of his/her oh-so-busy schedule to show me how to do things. That's why I want to teach the blind kids. It isn't taking time out of my busy schedule for me to teach them. It's giving them what I often had to learn by making a fool of myself. It's caring about them because I wanted someone to care about me that way.