Dungeons and Dragons : a personal fairy tale

Including links at the end to all my current writings on childhood trauma and sexual abuse

Georgia NeSmith

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I was a voracious reader of fairy tales as a child, & continued to read them off and on as an adult. I devoured Hans Christian Andersen and the Grimms. The Red Book, Green Book, Yellow Book, Blue Book…any color book of fairy tales. I found stories that made me confront monsters…and survive. And stories where brave children saved parents from their doom. And stories where stepmothers and fathers treated their girl children badly…but the girls escaped.

For 60 years I remembered what I thought was a dream I was certain I had at age 5 — a dream centered around fairy tale imagery that had puzzled me all my life.

Photo by Shanna Beasley on Unsplash

I “dreamed” I was in a deep, dark dungeon where a wicked witch was forcing me to eat baby alligators. Up to age 65 I thought the dream was conjured up by having been that voracious consumer of fairy tales, and I never questioned how it might be connected to my flesh-and-blood life as a child. And until recently, following the death of my mother, I hadn’t shared it with any of the multiple therapists I worked with for years on my ongoing clinical depression and periodic PTSD symptoms.

It wasn’t until age 45 that I began exploring the possibility I had been sexually abused as a child. As I became progressively convinced of that likelihood, I assumed that my mother’s involvement, if there be any at all, would have been nothing more than averting her eyes from images she did not want to see, images that would have destroyed the tenuous hold she had on her marriage for much of my childhood. She had told us, repeatedly, that if it weren’t for all of us children [five] she would have divorced him, but she had no way to support herself and us. It would be too difficult for us all, she said. So she sacrificed her happiness — supposedly — for the sake of our familial stability.

That tenuous hold was never discussed openly, though there would be long conversations with each of us separately where she would talk about how miserable she was…

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Georgia NeSmith

Retired professor, feminist, writer, photographer, activist, grandmother of 5, overall Wise Woman. Phd UIA School of Journalism & Mass Communication, 1994.