Trauma Laundry

As the last of the laundry was folded, I sighed in relief. It feels incredibly good to get things done. It may seem small, but for me it is important to get laundry done. It is something that I am just learning to do. Usually laundry goes like this…… I wait till there is way too much. I put it in, forget about it. Or it is left in the basket unfolded for the entire week. I struggle with it, because I was never taught how to do laundry.

Not taught how to do laundry? For anyone that seems pretty silly. Many of you will find that strange for a 28 year old to say. I was never taught to do laundry properly. The reason was was because of the issues in my childhood home. My Moms alcoholism shaped my entire life.

The reasons for this were two fold. My mom was lost at the bottom of a bottle, and struggled to take care of us. When she was sober, she would do everything for us. I believe it was her way of making up for the bad days. My dad was busy working, trying to support the four of us. There was never a chance for me to learn these important skills. For me, there was a lot of catching up to do.

That is the unseen side of trauma. The focus tends to be on the emotional toll of growing up in a dysfunctional household. Yet there is also an impact on life skills. This tend to be unseen. It is hard to talk about, and a certain amount of humiliation that it brings. As a 23 year old, I couldn’t cook, couldn’t really do laundry, and had no idea how to clean dishes. I had spent so much time just trying to survive I had never really learned to live.

Slowly I had to learn how to do these things. The process has been tedious, but progress has been made. My dishes are much cleaner these days. I can make a mean Shepard’s pie. I have to be methodical with the chores, until habits are formed. Yet slowly, I am gaining ground. As little as it is, it makes me proud. That is why to have, folded laundry is a big milestone. Its means that I am learning how to live.

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