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Is It Possible To Forget Negative Experiences Of School?

Childhood, often hailed as a time of innocence and joy, can also become a battleground where innocence is shattered by the harsh realities of the world. When children become victims of society's demons, the golden hue of childhood dims to ash.

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Rudrani Gupta
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As adults, many of us yearn to return to the simpler days of childhood. It's a longing for stress-free living, the comforting embrace of parental love, undisturbed sleep, and the carefree freedom to be ourselves. But for some, the thought of returning to childhood evokes a sense of dread rather than nostalgia. Trauma has a way of imprinting itself deeply into our consciousness, leaving scars that are difficult to erase. For those who have suffered through a traumatic childhood, the happy moments may fade into obscurity, while the wounds of the past remain painfully vivid. And am I one such person? 

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Childhood, often hailed as a time of innocence and joy, can also become a battleground where innocence is shattered by the harsh realities of the world. When children become victims of society's demons, the golden hue of childhood dims to ash. Usually, when we are kids,we lack the maturity to fully grasp the complexities of the world around us. We are ill-equipped to process the emotions stirred by the injustices we may face. It's only as we mature that the true weight of these experiences begins to settle on us. We come to understand that we were wronged, that our innocence was shattered by forces beyond our control. But since it is too late to protect our childhood selves, we live with guilt, trauma, and anger. We often forget the good things that happened in our childhood and are overwhelmed by the trauma that rips the present apart. 

How do Negative Experiences at School affect Childhood?

As children, we spend a significant amount of time in school. Schools are often referred to as the 'temples of education' because they not only provide education but also ensure the safety of children. However, sometimes even these sanctuaries are not enough to stop the fangled demons from digging their teeth. Incidents like these can catch children off guard and shatter their beautiful perception of the world they imagine. 

Reflecting on my school days, I recall numerous incidents that left lasting marks on my psyche. I was groped by my school staff. My fear of mathematics was so overwhelming that I once fled the exam hall, leaving behind my belongings. I remember being touched inappropriately by my hostel superintendent. I was morally policed for wearing a 'tight' T-shirt during a dance performance. The principal even threatened to "cut my wings" and accused me of "spoiling the boys" at the school for talking to male classmates. I had to leave my hostel in the middle of the semester due to sexual harassment rumors and the principal's rude behavior. To make matters worse, my parents labeled me as weak for this decision, and it still haunts me.

Is it possible to Forget Negative Experiences?

These negative memories of school life have almost erased the positive ones.  Today, I don't remember how active I was in co-curricular activities or how many awards I won for public speaking. I used to be a top student, but now I've lost interest in studying. I used to be a lead dancer in Shiamak Davar's choreography, but now I hardly dance at all. I was a successful leader and mentor with big dreams for the future. Little did I know that my future was not as bright. Rather, it will just be a living memory of my traumas, which will push me to the corner—alone and depressed. 

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It's impossible to forget negative childhood memories, especially when they evoke strong and unresolved emotions. Some people may try to deliberately forget these memories and replace them with positive ones, but this is just a coping mechanism to deal with the negativity from their childhood. These individuals may either come to accept the negative memories as part of life or avoid discussing them altogether.

How To Make Peace with Childhood Traumas

The main goal is to find peace after experiencing trauma. Carrying around negativity will not only affect our present but also determine our future. Although we can't justify the injustices and negative experiences we've faced, it's difficult to fight for justice when our experiences are not taken seriously, even by the perpetrators. While the law allows us to file cases for trauma and mental abuse, many of us are reluctant to go through the lengthy and mentally taxing process of court cases, which not only affects our mental and physical well-being but also our reputation.

I understand how challenging it is to overcome traumas, as I have my own personal experience with them. Allowing your traumas to define you only gives the perpetrators the power to leave a lasting scar.  I'm not suggesting that you should blindly forget everything. Making peace with negative experiences from school involves accepting what happened, learning from it, and ensuring that it doesn't happen again in the current or future generation. This is the only justice we can provide to our childhood selves.

Views expressed are the author's own.    

childhood memories school experiences Childhood Trauma
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