The idea for this blog came to me while I was in the attic, literally, I was in the attic.
My aunt and uncle had both passed away, the job of clearing out years of memories had been left to my cousins, and one day I found myself reminiscing with them in the attic of their parent’s home.
As we sorted through sixty years of boxes filled with clothes, documents and outdated appliances, I realized the three of us hadn't been together since I was 8 years old and I couldn't help but notice how much had changed for me since the last time we were together.
As a young girl, I always felt like an outsider when I was around my cousins because I believed they had a perfect life. Their family seemed full of love, kindness, happy times and togetherness while my childhood was filled with abuse, trauma and the secrets my siblings and I were forced to keep about what went on in our home.
Because of those secrets, I grew up feeling inferior to my cousins, aunts and uncles.
I was a young girl the last time I’d been in that house, and I was enjoying the opportunity to laugh and talk about the fun times we shared together in that house like the “secret passage” that connected my cousin's closet to the closet in my aunt and uncle’s bedroom and how we used to go between the bedrooms without the knowledge of our parents (or at least we believed they didn’t know)!
Rarely do childhood memories turn out the way we remember them, especially when we get the opportunity to visit them as our adult self. I remember feeling a twinge of disappointment when I discovered that our secret passage was less of a secret passage and more like an unfinished wall.
As we sat together in the attic, going through what felt like the millionth box, I opened a box that was full of letters, documents, birth certificates, cards, and newspaper clippings. It was all there, pieces of documented family history that revealed the lives of our family members in ways the three of us had never heard before. Proof of births, deaths, affairs, illegitimate children and even manslaughter. This information was not part of any childhood memory the three of us had ever heard of before that day.
As we sat there, dumbfounded, trying to make sense of the written and documented proof we were holding in our hands, all we could do was stare at each other!
The truth of what we'd just learned hit me like a bolt of lightning and I blurted out, "Wow, this is proof that I was never inferior to the rest of you because you had awful secrets just like me. The only difference is, you didn't know about them until now! I should write a book about this and title it Secrets in the Attic." My cousin replied, “no one would ever believe it, you’d have to write it as a book of fiction because no one is going to believe this stuff!”
By the time we left the house that day, our eyes had been opened to the fact that most of what we thought we’d known about our parents, family members and even who we'd been taught we are, had been based on lies, half-truths, innuendos, secrets and misleading information.
As we were each lost in our own thoughts about what we'd learned, I started wondering, “if our family memories can no longer be relied on, how does that affect the basis of who we believe we are and how do we come to terms with the people who told us those lies, half-truths, innuendos, secrets and misleading information?"
Have you ever asked yourself where your beliefs come from about who you are, what you're capable of or what you deserve to have? What limiting beliefs could you free yourself from and how would it change your life?
Not everyone will have an experience of family secrets being revealed but every belief our adult-self has is based on something we were taught, experienced or intuited as children. All beliefs about who we are, both negative and positive, are formed between the ages of birth to twelve years of age. How much of what we believe about our childhood can be relied on as the truth for the choices we make as adults?
As an adult, childhood memories can invoke something you’re trying to live up to or wish had never happened. Either way, we can’t go back and undo the past, or can we? If you think about it, the mind is like the attic of our life, full of outdated junk we no longer need but often hold onto because we have difficulty letting it go.
What are the secrets in your attic? Are there beliefs your mind is holding onto that, if you let them go, could free you from the pain, struggle and challenges your adult-self is experiencing? Would "NOW" be the right time for you to let go of your limiting beliefs? Only you have the power to hold onto your limiting beliefs and only you have the power to let them go.
Remember, Life Is All About Choices!
Nancy Mueller ~ Life Sensei