November 17, 2021

Can I Play Again After Surviving Adverse Childhood Experiences?

Abigail Osborne

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CollageAdverse Childhood Experiences, 2020A3

I’m in my forties and I survived a neglectful and abusive childhood. I have made a good life for myself but finding out about adverse childhood experiences has made me fear that a person with my background cannot thrive mentally and physically. I represented my five adverse childhood experiences as pinballs in a pinball game from hell, because my upbringing was haphazard and I bounced from positive to negative experiences with no sense of agency. A pinball game says at the end, “YOU CAN PLAY AGAIN” so I subverted this, because while I would dearly love to get a time machine and undo it all, I cannot be a child again. My traumatic background has made me risk-averse and so I included text from a well-raised woman around the border of the picture to show the effect of a happy childhood is to make one more adventurous. I envy that. My art is important because I hope to demonstrate to others who have suffered adverse childhood experiences that you can have a voice, you can seek to thrive, you can even make disturbing art to make everyone think. You CAN play again.