I recently read the book “Where There’s Hope” by Elizabeth Smart, a woman who was kidnapped about 15 years ago. When I was telling someone about it, they mentioned that they had read her first book that detailed her experience.
As a child and young adult, I wasn’t allowed to read Smart’s original book or any other autobiographies about kidnapping survivors. This wasn’t because my mom didn’t want me thinking about how these things happened or because I should be naive enough to think that it could never happen to me. It was because, I was extremely aware of the fact that it could happen to me.
I grew up completely and utterly convinced that I would be kidnapped and possibly die in the process.
Talk about childhood anxiety.
Most of my friends don’t remember Smart being kidnapped or rescued because at the time we were no older than seven years old. But I do. My grandmother had a tendency to watch CNN on a loop in my house when she visited. And talk about what she had seen on it when we spoke on the phone.
The details that stuck out to me were how both of our families were strict on locking up the house and had people that helped in the yard and other basic facts. But that was enough to spin my little kid brain out.
Don’t get me wrong. I was already an anxious kid. I was terrified of thunderstorms and being abandoned by my parents. Like hiding in the basement under a blanket while crying scared.
So, it didn’t take much to add kidnapping to the list of probable things to happen in my life. Plus, my mom used to constantly tell my siblings and I that if we walked away or got lost, we would most definitely get “taken” by somebody.
Basically, this just added confirmation to a truth I had already heard throughout my few short years on Earth.
That the world was a scary place for me to live in.
I grew up scared.
And now I get to learn to trust the world and myself, one step at a time.