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-Personal blog for Janika Banks.
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Saturday, February 25, 2017

normal childhood pressure

Sometimes I wake up so full of self doubt I can barely think through making breakfast and getting dressed, much less handle whatever else is coming later in the day. It helps to go back and read things like 'I Was Crying All the Time' from 1989.

This isn't about being harsh on Kristy, because I love her. This is about context that helps me understand why my Plan is important. I love that article because for the 'back in the day' level of content, it's actually very good. Mental health was still very young, and diagnostic criteria was still being hotly debated. For it all to sift down to pressure, and missing getting to be a kid... well, that impresses me the most. That is my precedent for what I'm doing now.

My pressure growing up was about being told not to cry after I'd been hit, about having to help kill, dismember, and eat pets I'd raised from babies, about hours of food processing and prep that breaks child labor laws, about not getting the health care or emotional support I needed, about having to learn how to pretend I was ok or be punished for acting out.

I was not ok. I'm not ok now. I've never been ok. But neither have either of my parents. The more I look into what makes us who we are and the societies that weave the fabrics of our lives, the more I see that being broken is partly how most of the human race has survived. We're all broken.

But back to me. If it's this obvious, why is this so important? Because an entire group of people actually wants me and my kind 'wiped out'. Because several other groups of people misunderstand my kind so much that they torture their own children. Because even my own kind are cruel and eat their own.

Never mind that this is all very complicated and layered with decades of socioeconomic history and culture clashes. Never mind that we live in tiny microcosms and misinterpret why people are the way they are. Never mind that we live in an age of me, me, me.

I do mind. I want answers. I want to know why EVERYTHING. I want to understand how and when and where, and I want to tell the story. I spent years getting a sociology degree generously peppered with everything there is to know about human history going back 25,000 years. I mostly wanted to know how in the world my parents got off on turning a blind eye while they tormented me, but I have learned so much along the way that I think I'm nearly able to show how this whole process works in a series of intimate stories shared both subjectively and objectively.

I'm able to do this because I was born especially equipped to solve this problem.

In the meantime, I'm relieved that I have a definition of what normal childhood pressure is supposed to be, because I'm so messed up that I can't even imagine.

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