Friday, November 23

Childhood Junkie

"Childhood is what you spend the REST of your life trying to overcome."
-- from the movie Hope Floats

An adult's childhood usually keeps flashing before his/her mind's eye. As years go by, you can't help but reaching out to the child you used to be. It is inescapable.. we carry our childhoods with us to the grave. Thinking about it, I find the above quote to be the truest thing ever said about childhood. Growing up in the third world is not exactly happy. Being a female child in a conservative society sets limits to how childish you are allowed to be. Our generation joins the same pool of memories. There was not much variety then. We all watched the same TV channels (only 2 back then). We all went to Alexandria for summer vacations. We all went to governmental or old private schools. We all saw the Egyptian national team playing in the World Cup when "heaven's justice found its way to Balermo Stadium."

Parents in the third world take it for granted that kids will find their way. Back then, parents never thought it was necessary to learn about parenting. They experimented with their children. And they always prefered easy solutions to end any situation.. like screaming at a noisy child to shut up.. or threatening him/her. Most of our parents had financial problems. They cared so much about educating their children, and they always pushed us to score the highest grades.

It was the trend in the 80s to be preoccupied with financial security. This time witnessed a massive wave of immigration. And those who stayed in Egypt had to work several jobs in order to be able to face the huge rise in prices. Money was talking and everybody was all ears. We don't own the right to blame them. Things are much easier said than done. And those who are criticizing the generation to whom our parents belong have got no idea about what they were going through. It was a tough time for everybody.. adults and children. Education was deteriorating and schools were packed with unqualified teachers whose basic task was to stuff the kids' minds with whatever is written in their textbooks. As children we did not study, we memorized. We were supposed to be able to read our textbooks with our eyes closed. Such a skill was later on discovered to be useless and resulted in millions of unemployed youth who are now ending their lives by the Italian shores.

We.. a generation raised in fear. Fear of adults.. Fear of exams.. Fear of the future.. Fear of society.. Fear of God. We had no clues. We were left behind in the absence of a view to govern us. We were denied any useful experience or knowledge. We felt like a burden on our families who were toiling to satisfy our needs. We didn't want to disappoint them, even if they had disappointed us many times. And we struggled with life as best as we could. We.. a generation raised in weakness. Physical weakness (rarely encouraged to play sports with playcourts disappearing from our schools, and sports clubs being too expensive).. Cultural weakness.. Financial weakness.. Low self-esteem.. Dependency. We dwelt in the allies of narrow minds and low ceilings.

Our homes were noisy, but empty of dialogue. You can hear people shouting, kids playing, TV turned on, music of the new generation singers, with additional background noise from the streets. But silence filled the air. Parents only asked their children a few questions like "Did you do your homework? When are your exams? What happened to your new schoolbag? Are you still kicking stones with your shoes?"

As a child, I tried to talk more with my parents.. but they were either too tired or too busy. Air conditions were not so common at homes back then, and the summer heat sucked all their energy. In winter, it was so difficult to keep warm. I liked to curl up beside my mom in bed. She always fell asleep while watching TV. And I had to wrap myself in a woolen blanket while doing my homework. Dad came home at night, and I was usually awake. We drank tea and eat cheese sandwiches before I went to bed. I had to wake up very early to be able to catch the schoolbus. In winter, the morning light could hardly be seen at 6:00 am when I left home. I walked for about 5 minutes while shivering, usually followed by stray dogs, until I reached the place where I waited for the bus. I come back in the afternoon to an empty home. Our neighbor hears our door being opened.. She opens her door to check that it is me.

  • "Hi ya tante. How are you?"
  • "Hi, Fantasia. Come in and have some food with us."
  • "Thank you. I'm not hungry. How are A, M, N, and Y (her children)?"
  • "They are having dinner. Please join us."
  • "You're always generous, tante. I'll eat with mom and dad. They'll be back soon."
  • "OK, my dear. Lock the door well and always check who is there before you open."
  • "Of course. Don't worry. Have a nice dinner. Excuse me."

I changed my clothes, put my shirt and socks in the laundry basket, turned on the water heater, measured 2 cups of rice and put them in a big tray, sat at the dinning table and started searching the rice for tiny solid objects (we did not have the ready packed rice back then). Once I finish, I set it aside and start washing and cutting vegetables for the salade. After a while my mother came home and took over from there. My mother was always tired and while we had dinner she didn't utter a word. I tried having a conversation with her several times, but she always avoided opening up. I try talking about what happened at school, doing my best to make it sound funny. "Can you imagine? The girl actually told the teacher the nobody understood anything of what she said. haha.. And the teacher kept asking her what exactly didn't you understand. Then the girl said 'Everything'." If I considered something like that to be funny, my mother made sure not to laugh, and then she would warn me against being rude to my teachers: "Do you know how much we pay to keep you in this school? We could have easily sent you to a school near us for half the fees. But we want you to have the best education. This girl is so bad, keep away from her or teachers will have a negative impression about you."

I so much wanted to tell her how much I appreciate what they were doing. I so much wanted to tell her not to be so serious all the time. I was just trying to cheer her up. My attempt failed, but I didn't deserve a reminder and a warning. I wished my mom was less serious at times. I knew that she could not bring herself to see anything other than the possible negative influence that this classmate might have on me. She thus used this opportunity to play her role as a parent. But I could not help feeling hurt. I kept thinking: "Can't we communicate on a human level, away from this mother/child scenario? Can't she say anything other than giving instructions and warnings? Why does my age seem to prevent me from being treated as a person? Why must a child always be addressed as an inferior? Yes, I am young.. but I can communicate with adults. I understand how you feel and I can get you out of this mood. Why don't you give me a chance?"

  • "Fantasia!"
  • "Huh? Yes, mom."
  • "Did you hear what I said?"
  • "Yes, sure mom. I don't approve of what she did. But it was not usual to hear this in class."
  • "OK. After you finish your food, clean your plate. Will you take a nap?"
  • "No, I don't think so. I've got an oral test tomorrow, and there's so much homework to do."
  • "Alright. Don't waste your time so that you can sleep early. Don't watch too much TV."
  • "I'll only watch one show and the evening news."
  • "Evening news? Do you understand anything from the news?"
  • "Yes.. I.. think I do. I tell dad all the news when he returns home."
  • "Did dad ask you to watch the news for him?"
  • "No. I watch it anyway. I like knowing what's going on with the world. They also show interesting stuff from around the world right after the news in Nafezzah 3ala El3alam (A Window View on the World)"
  • "That's not for your age dear. You should watch Cinema Elatfal (Kids' Cinema), Mama Nagwa, Baba Maged.. Things that suit your age, Fantasia."
  • "I watch those too. And I like watching the news and 3alam elteknologya (World of Technology)."
  • "I am so worried about you, Fantasia. You don't want to live your age."
  • "There's no need to worry, mom. Tell you what?.. Why don't you watch TV with me? I always want to know more about many things I see on TV."
  • "But I don't like watching the news. Besides, I have many things to do around the house. Maybe tomorrow."

Needless to say.. Tomorrow never came. And as I was growing up I realized that I didn't know Fantasia. It suddenly hit me in the face.. Lack of real communication or experience handover made all the orders and warnings become pointless.. And whatever came between those two were lies. How were we able to forgive our parents for lying to us? All adults lie to children. All adults think that they must lie to children. All adults don't feel ashamed when they lie to children. Children?.. Who are the children? What age removes you from the childish category to place you on the other side? And once you step in, how do you stop being a child? Is it supposed to be an automatic process? Or are you supposed to do some ritual or rite of passage?

Egyptian children are considered childish until they marry off. Can you imagine a 30 year old child?! I don't know what to call this.. hilarious, sad, rediculous, pathetic, crazy.. what?.. Growing up becomes a child's own responsibility, because no one will be ready to accept a third adult at home. And if you are a girl, you can't move out before you get married. The amount of money you make is irrelevant. We're talking traditions and customs here. Are you outta your mind? Live alone? Do you want to disgrace your parents? In Egypt a girl stays at her daddy's home until she finds the groom. The only option becomes launching yourself into adulthood.. but secretly. If your parents find out about your plans, they would consider it as a rebellious attempt. They would get too scared that they might react negatively, placing more restrictions on you. So, hushhhhhhhh.. you take care of yourself.. Grow up without anybody knowing about it. And I walked out of childhood on tip toes.

13 comments:

egy anatomist said...

إنهاالملايين التي شبت تتواصل من طرف واحد مع بقلظ وأحيانا مع كرنبة البلهاء
إنهاالملايين الذين خاضوا أعتى المعارك الدامية للحصول على 20 قرش ليلعبون جيم أتاري أو دور بينج بونج في الشارع
إلى الملايين الذين لم تصدق نفسها حين بدأ إرسال القناة الثالثة داخل القاهرة الكبرى فقط
إنهاالملايين التي تحملت صابرة راضية تذكير آبائهم الطيبين الصامدين لهم كل نصف ساعة بالمعاناة الرهيبة التي يتحملوها من أجل توفير نفقات تعليم جيد وحياة كريمة
أنه جيل لم يشعر بمرارة الاحتلال.. ولا فرحة الاستقلال.. لم ينكسر بنكسة ولم يرقص لعبور.. لم يرفض سلاما ولا يتذكر اغتيالا في المنصة.. فقط ربما يتذكر قليل من طابا.. وكثير من حرب الخليج عام واحد وتسعين.. إنه الجيل الذي لم يجد قضية قومية ينشغل بها سوى الفقر والفساد والتطرف.. إنه جيل فاتته رؤية نساء عائلته بلا حجاب.. لا يتذكر إلا لماما يوم كان يسبح مع أمه أو خالته في شواطئ نظيفة وحوله رجال ونساء بأردية البحر ويا للعجب لا ينظر أحد لعورات النساء ولا ينشغل أحد بالعاريات الكاسيات

إنه هذا الجيل الذي عبرتي عنه يا سيدتي الفنانة الجميلة أروع تعبير ووصفتي حاله وظروف نشأته فأحسنتي الوصف والتحليل

إنهم أبناء الطبقة الاقتصادية الوسطى.. أبناء الطموح الجاذب إلى أعلى.. وسوء مستوى الحياة والخدمات الذي يشد للأرض وما تحتها

إنه الجيل الذي حرم من التواصل مع آبائه.. فالآمهات نزلن للعمل وهن غير راضيات فزاد إحباطهن الذي منع ممارستهم واستمتعاعهن بأمومتهم.. والآباء الذين اضطروا لمزيد من العمل فزاد إرهاقهن الذي منع أيضا ممارستهم واستمتاعهم بأبوتهم

حقا كما وصفتي بفن واحساس وعبقرية أدبية

هو جيل الخوف.. جيل المشي بجوار الحيط.. جيل الأحلام البسيطة المتواضعة.. جيل التعليم السئ إلا من رحم ربي.. جيل انعدام الثقة في كل شئ.. جيل التوهة وفقدان الاتجاه.. جيل اللا أمل

يا سيدتي كنت أظنك بارعة في التحليل والشرح فإذا موهبتك الأعظم هي في القصص والروي

اروي يا سيدتي.. لا تكتبي مقالات.. فبرغم تشوقي لمقالاتك.. إلا أن الروايات الجميلة والقصص القيمة تضم في جنباتها آلاف المقالات وتشرح جميع الأسباب وتصل لكل الآفاق والأبعاد

أنا بحق أعتذر عن كل هذه الكتابة.. إلا أن إعجابي بما كتبتيه وشجني الذي أثرتيه وتأثري بحلاوة وصفك المختصر الشامل يجبرونني جميعا على إفراغ شحنات المشاعر الفائضة بداخلي

وأخبري من فضلك هذه الطفلة الصغيرة الرائعة.. التي تطارد أمها من أجل سويعات قليلة.. أنها ستكون أروع الأمهات وأعظمهن.. وأن طفلتها هي الصغيرة ستكبر في النور وأمام الجميع بلا خوف أو وحدة

وأخيرا.. أكرر طلبي

أكتبي يا سيدتي قصصا.. اصنعي عوالما من خيال.. ابعثي فيها الحياة.. صيغي لنا بشرا لحما ودما.. على ورق أو على شاشات ضوئية.. لا فارق.. لكن اظهري هذه الموهبة الفريدة العميقة الساحرة.. ولا تخفيها مثل الجيل الذي أخفى مشاعره حتى عن نفسه.. ففقدها وفقد معها نفسه

تحياتي واحترامي

على باب الله said...

OK ..

1ST of all

this comment is Rated ( R ) for offensive language , so please all children under 30 , and unmarried ones under 80 should not read it :

- my impression after reading this post was ... wtf ? ..

f---en awesome ..

where did you get the courage to tell that stuff ?

i am sure 99.9% of us shared the same shit on regular basis .

but no one's got the guts to talk about it .

domestic silence , lack of common ground of conversation .

over-protective parents ..


you hit the jackpot there fantasia

----

- you brought me back to ( 3alam elteknologya , we nafeza 3ala el 3alam , )

i consider those days my best t.v. days ..

every saturday .. i watched nady el cinema

sun. : 7adatha belfe3l ( movie )

thurs. : oscar

wed : ekhtarnalak

--

you stirred some memories i thought were lost in oblivion

--

somehow .. i am mad at you for that ..

i liked them better when i couldn't remember them ..

The Alien said...

i do not have much to remember about that period, i mean with my parents cause i do have much for myself. it was any diffrence from what u said, it was even the same lies and the same TV shows.

i can not remember that i talked to them then, i was always the strange child who prefers to be alone. that was not true, i did not wanted to be alone but they forced me to be. i remember them making laught at me reading Micky, watching news (like u), alam al hayawan and technologia. that is why i decided to do waht i want whithout caring about them. i kept buying Michy and watching my shows. after a while they left me alone. i took care of myself and they do not know anything about me till now.

haneen said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Jasmin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
haneen said...

my dearest, fantasia

you remind me about my childhood past, and how it was look like to me sience there .I grow up as a naughty girl looks like boyes some how. play all thier games riding bike and others tough games I always said to my self why boyes takes all this rights and girls not, so I used to be a rebel about all sort of my life, and I used to watching elmoseeka el3rabeya " oriental music" which was not suitable with my age there. but iam still love to hear that kind of music till now I dont know why, so when I remember my childhood I feel happy couse i think it most wounderfull life i have ever lived but, it was never come back again I really missed it, missed purity and peace of mind I wish I could be child again.

best regards

Fantasia said...

egy anatomist,
first of all, i'd like to apologize for the late reply. seems i'm having a hard time managing 3 blogs.. i hope this would be a temporary phase, as i'm still experimenting. i promise to reply faster next time.
second time to find myself outta words to thank you for all the sweet words of praise. and thanks also for encouraging me to write more stories.. actually, the original plan was to start this journey by some autobiographical records.. merely as a primary phase that is. and then continue dealing with various topics through articles.. sounds like it wasn't the best idea after all.
your comment really made me reconsider this plan, that i am seriously thinking about intertwining storytelling with essay writing. will see how this goes.. but you need to keep providing me with your feedback, ok?
now i am obliged to repeat every single word i had written earlier in my comment on your blog! your comments are damn good! i wish i can comment like that. seems like all this blogging is draining my mind.. i try to comment as thoroughly as possible, but i never reached anything near what you have perfected!
you paraphrased this post so beautifully, i have to say. and i could sense that you were touched by what i narrated.. that makes me so proud and so motivated to keep the same quality of writing. i really don't write except when i am certain that i want to write. i never type a word unless i feel it and i am moved by it. sometimes the demand from my readers for new posts makes me overwhelmed. but i am determined to stick to my writing rituals. thanks to your comment, now i have more reason to keep doing so.
when i talked about children of (what is most likely to be) the last middle class generation, i was only describing the face i saw of their lives (being one of them). i had no idea that several people here shared the exact same details. that's amazing! i was remembering my impressions as a child.. (children tend to see things as flat.) but i went like WOW after reading what you, ala bab allah, and the alien said. you made me discover that as long as the impressions are genuine, then they must be right. that is a new addition to my list of beliefs.. thanks.

Fantasia said...

ala bab allah,
please don't be mad at me.. i am sorry.. i didn't mean it.. i mean whatever is causing you to feel mad.. ok.. please don't use any R-rated words to show your madness :))
hey, you also reminded me of ekhtarna 3ak.. oufffff.. McGiver!.. yeeeeh.. no no, i won't remember those TV days any more.
i believe if this generation was the outcome of a massive photocopying, it wouldn't have had any chance of actually being that similar! hehehe..
you haven't seen my guts yet.. don't get too excited.. save it for later.
thank you so much for this huge applause.. i was like "YAAAAAAAAAAAY" and boxing the air with my 2 fists! you made me feel as if i had really won the jackpot! so encouraging.. yet, it makes me haunted by guilt.. you made me feel so good and i stirred your memories in a "not so good" way.. i ask for forgiveness.

Fantasia said...

the alien,
damn.. i was so touched by your comment. hey, buddy.. you ought to cheer up for that. my parents know absolutely nothing about me as well, and i gotta thank them for it. only that i have to do it in secret also, or they will ask why are you thanking us :))
the more i see people who have grown under the protective wings of their parents, the more i realize how lucky i was. just like what happened with the religion teacher.. God had better plans for me. how can i not be thankful, huh?
as i told you before, neither of us are aliens.. but we have to believe that about ourselves as long as we are surrounded by real aliens. cheer up, buddy! mickey was coooooool.. i spent whole nights reading the annual editions (you know, mogalad mickey) and it was fun, i f'ken enjoyed it.. same with the TV shows.. who cares what others think?

Fantasia said...

dear jasmin,
your comment put a smile on my face as well. you can never imagine how happy i was when i read that you found my story touching although you couldn't relate to it.. that's the best award i could dream of.
i believe it is normal for children to seek more communication with their peers.. of course most of them are tired of instructions and parental endless advice.. in my case, however, i felt that my parents needed this kind of communication as much as i needed it. that's why i kept trying, even though they turned me down a lot. we were strangers living under the same roof basically. and this was the typical middle class family back then, for the reasons i had discussed. it is just that it took me so long to discover those reasons.. by then childhood was a thing of the past.
i'd like to thank you for showing interest in the tiny details.. i was so reluctant to add them, and i was actually about to omit them from the draft, before finally deciding to keep them. i was worried that they might harm the pace, making in slower.. or might be considered intrusive. yet, what you said proves that my hunch was right. therefore, from now on, i shall remember your words before deleting anything. keep interacting.. it is always a pleasure to receive your views.

Fantasia said...

dearest haneen,
welcome to my shrine.. so glad that you were finally able to leave your comment, and sorry for any inconvenience you experienced while trying to send it the first time.
it is so nice to see many people talking about their childhood and sharing memories. this is enough to wipe away all illusions about difference and otherness. one can not help but clearly see that people are essentially the same. this phase is what lies behind each one of us.. it is our most younger self.. the source of our character and psyche. not only do we share the history of our birthplace, but we share individual history as well.
i also was a rebel (needless to say), and it has made me strong. being a rebel taught me many things and shaped many aspects of my individuality. there was a time when i used to imitate boys, but it was very brief.. i soon discovered that gender doesn't really make any difference or give any extra qualities. music was and still is another dimension of who i am. there is always a song playing in my head. "elmoseeqa el3arabya" was not exactly my taste, though. i belong to "el3alam yo3'anny" :)
thanks for sharing those memories, dear haneen. your visit and comment made me so happy. want to see more of you here.

egyptian feminist chic said...

dearest Fantasia,
I just found your shrine this morning, when you mentioned it in one of your comments...

So anyway ... I can totally relate to everything you wrote... add to that being alone.I grew up as 1 sister among many brothers. I wasnt close to anyone, so no one ever listened to me, and to make things worse.... I had no friends.. most kids my age would'nt talk to me.I dont know why, I never knew. I think I was a nice girl. SO I never knew what was wrong... I realy mean no one... I tried talking to my mom about it, I went and asked her how do you make friends? she thought it was a silly question, and simply said you just go introduce yourself and people will be your friends. other than that, she was too busy to listen. I would go home and sit alone in my room and cry and no one would notice. kids at school wouldnt even sit with me during lunch time... now when i look back, i think i may have had some kind of depression..... i guess the reason my parents didnt care was because I was always top of my class.... i was top of my school.... so they thought that as long as i am doing well, then everything must be alright. a teacher even noiced how no one would talk to me. she called me aside and asked me why.. i said i didnt know. but it made me so self consious. i knew she was trying to help, but at the same time i was so ashamed of being alone. she called my mom in to talk to her about this, my mom came, and listened to her,then went home,and never uttered a word about it. i asked her later what did she say? and mom just said you have a silly teacher... you are doing so well in school, and she is concerned about you having friends... it is just silly, she should mind her own business. add to that my parents always faveored my brothers... i was never allowed out alone, and they were, i was never allowed to go on a school trip,all my brothers were.by the time i was 9, my parents started taking us to the beach, and hen not letting me swim or wear a swimming suit.... i look at my pictures at that time , and i see a little girl.... i didnt hit puberty till i was 13, so at 9 i still looked very much like a child.so basicly i spent my summers sitting under the umbrella with my aunts and mom and grandmother, while my brothers, and all of my cousins, both boys and girls went swimming, i asked why not me? they said because you are a girl, you cant wear a swimming suit! i said but my girl cousins are all in suits, even a couple of my aunts! the said, your aunts are adults and they can do as they please. your cousins are 8, you are 9!! besides we are not their parents , we only need to protect you... someone can look at you in a bad way! to me this didnt make any sense, especialy since the next year, all the girls still went swimming, and i was the only one forced to sit next to my parents... their excuse? you are beautiful! i have blond hair and blue eyes, which is rare in egypt, and for some reason i have always felt like i am being punished because of my looks.i have been forbidden any kind of freedom because i was pretty, and i think it was the reason kids hated me at school.... i got so much attention from teachers, and everyone who ever set foot in the class would ask about me, and if i spoke arabic... and now that i look back this is the only explanation i have for why i was so hated by everyone in sight! the problem was mainly the girls... the boys were okay, they realy didnt play much with the girls, but they didnt run away from me like i was the plague whenever i talked to them. I tried so hard to make friends.... i saw othe kids invite each other to birthday parties, so i thought maybe if i invited kids to my birthday , they would like me... i went home to my parents and a month before my 10th birthday, i said okay, i would like to have a birthday party and invite everyone from school... my parents didnt mind they said okay, as long as you are here at home sure why not? so i sent out invitations, and my parents only comment was .... this is costing us so much money, we aren buying you any presents this year... i agreed, thinking mayebe i can give up presents, but maybe i will have friends in the end and it will be worth it. i tried explaining this to my parents but was totally ignored.... no one cared enough to explain to me that this is not how you make friends. no one told me what to do. they put up decorations and wore a dress ( which at that age i never did) and i waited for people to show up... and waited and waited... untill 4 hours later, not a single person came to my birthday. i was devastated and ashamed, and hurt. i pretended not to care, my parents and brothers sang happy birthday to me and and we cut the cake and ate it. i didnt cry infront of anyone, and my parents thought as long as i am smiling, i must be happy.i went to school the next day, and kids winked at each other and pointed at me. appaently everyone agreed not to come, and no one had the decency to tell me. someone made fun of me saying that my birthday party probably sucked because i suck, and i looked at her, smiled , held my head high, and said it was wonderful i had other friends from out of school come over, and we had a blast... and they are the losers for not coming and not having the decency to apologize for not coming.... iam in my early 30's now, and realize that this iwas all child's play... but for some reason, every time i think back and remember this it hurts me so bad... and i cry.. and i feel like this just happened yesterday.

whay am i saying this long story?? because when you mentioned how busy your mom was, it reminded me of my mom. i needed support i never got. i needed someone to care for me and tell me what to do, and no one did. i needed guidance, and i never found it. i love my mom, and now we are very close... but at one point of time when i needed her the most she wasnt there for me.... i know she didnt mean it , but she want there.

by the time i was in my mid teens, i had moved to a new school, and for the first time in my life i actually had friends.and people talked to me like they did everyone else!!! it shocked and surprised me, and i gradually regained my self confidence, which i had lost a long time ago. so now i am more mature , but i fear i will repeat the same mistakes with my own daughter. the thought terriffies me. i have gotten past so many things growing up,but i have always been a strong person. and maybe all these things add up to who i am.... but if my daughter goes through similar circumstances, will she be okay? can i be there for her? will i say and do the right things? i keep asking myself these questions, and everyday i pray i will be around for her when she needs me. maybe she will be luckier than me in lie, but i am sure the time will come when she will need support asnd comfort and understanding. and hopefully i will be there to lend a guiding hand.

Fantasia said...

my God! you know the first time i read your comment i couldn't reply. i felt so mad at everybody who made you feel this way as a child. i know that you are a happy adult now, and i wish you all the best that life has to offer. but your story was so touching and i could relate to many parts of it, although my own childhood was a lot different.. still the broadlines behind the events were almost typical.
i couldn't control my tears while reading about your birthday party, and then those girls who conspired against you.. how could some children be so wicked! i also had a group of bullies to deal with at school.. and i had absolutely no idea why they hated me so much! they might have considered me to be provacative in a way, i guess.
your fresh memory of the past is a very normal and human thing. those years formed the person you are today, and every little detail that took place back then is carved inside you. a child's emotional development is strongly affected by early experiences which leave lasting marks.. and those can be as painful as a fresh wound. that's why i started my post with the quote "childhood is what you spend the rest of your life trying to overcome".
your daughter will face her own issues and will undergo some bad experiences.. that's inevitable. don't worry about your abilities to as a parent.. just be spontaneous and show all the love that lies in your heart for her. children can never have enough of that. of course you will be there for her.. you will soothe her pains and drive away her anxiety. but don't think that it is in your hand to prevent her from ever feeling sad or facing a difficult time. this is part of growing up, and seeking to prevent that from ever happeneing will just have the opposite effect. the most important thing is for her to find an open heart, a safe haven, where she can seek refuge whenever needed. knowing and trusting that this haven will always be there makes all the difference.
the fact that you have understood the nature of your early suffering, will make you the best mother that can ever be. be sure of that. a person who cared enough to analyze her past and reconcile with the present is someone who goes to the futures with eyes open wide. you didn't just stand there, and played the role of the victim.. no, you moved on, you learned, you gained control over your life.. and you emerged as a victorious woman. you have got so much to give. your daughter is so lucky to have you as a mother, and you will be amazed at your parenting abilities as years go by.
my best regards to you and your lovely daughter.