Day 4- Earliest Childhood Memory

I do not want to commit to my earliest childhood memory because it’s hard to date certain things. Most of my early childhood memories are influenced by extreme emotional responses so please do not assume that this is in anyway an indication of an unhappy childhood.
I had a very loving home in which we did not have rules for the sake of rules, I was fully expected to question every time somebody asked me to do/not to do something and if the answer back was not good enough then I did not have to fulfill the request “because I said so” was not something I grew up with.

Anyway one of my earliest memories was at nursery school, with a minder. Outside of my safe comfortable space, with my safe comfortable people. I think it is the first time I have ever experience shame.

Nursery age is 2-3, at the time I think I was at the end of potty training which matches the 2-3 timeline. I was wearing a red shorted playsuit that looked like a dress, this is important. And I desperately needed the toilet. The minder told me I could wait and I created a big fuss until she eventually took me. I did make it on time, so this isn’t a wetting myself story, but because of the playsuit, I had to fully get undressed to pee. The minder decided I was taking too long so started telling me off through the door for taking too long, I explained I was getting dressed. At home this would have been the end of the conversation, I had been asked a question and explained with a reasonable response. But the minder did not think so, so she opened the door to me half dressed and continued to tell me off for taking off a dress when all I had to was lift my skirt to pee. I explained the playsuit but by this point, she had told me off twice pulled me out of the toilet and dressed me, which at the time I was most upset about I could dress by myself and she did not ask to dress me.

As an adult, I can look back and realise it was not such a traumatic experience, but also take in the gravity and privilege I had of knowing even at that age that my body and mind were my own. My upset was that she had not listened to me, taken over something I was doing, shown my body without my consent in public. The whole thing I can put into a lack of consent box. She did not man handle me, or sexually exploit me but it still crossed my very clear and respected boundary.

The post is deviating somewhat to the current news topic of body autonomy and the need for it to be respected by close relatives, and whilst it is not my place to suggest which side is right or wrong (when not discussing the perversion element in the topic) I do hold strong opinion that we have all been children at some point. In our own experience, we have decided what boundaries we hold for our body and more than likely if these have ever been crossed, even in a way that is perhaps insignificant in the grand scheme of life, the event has left an impression.

 

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