I write about Goldenbridge industrial ‘school’ because most of my counterparts can neither read or write, or are perhaps too afraid to let anyone know that they were there because of the stigma attached to Goldenbridge. I refuse to not talk about it, because that would be expected of me by a lot of people.
If people feel ashamed of knowing me, and talking openly with me online, because of my past institutional life, well, that is clearly their problem, not mine. I realise that I have to respect their wishes if they want to remain anonymous. However, my wishes and dreams in life were trampled on for too long, as a child in that god-forsaken hellhole, and I refuse to be shoved into a secret box any longer. The pandora box has been opened as far as I’m concerned, and everything in it has been revealed. I have nothing more to hide. I can only get better by expressing the inexpressible that tortured my psyche for far too long.
I know that having revealed my past has not endeared me to innumerable people in the blogosphere. People want to be around those who send out positive vibes. They don’t want to be around people who have suffered too much, as it would wear them down. I respect that, and am well used to not being acknowledged, one can judge from the lack of comments. Anyway prophets are never accepted in their own countries.
I hid my Goldenbridge past from the day I left because of being ashamed of having grown up there. Children in general had been made aware throughout their childhood that they were mere nonentities who were going nowhere in life and they believed it. They went around with their heads held low. So ashamed of being a part of the human race. What right had they got to think that anybody would care about them in the outside world, when the one they secretly inhabited had never accepted them. The stigma and shame was worn on their foreheads everywhere they went. It was their identity. They knew nothing else.
Society continued to make them feel that way when they left Goldenbridge. Business people were reluctant to employ them if they knew they were from institutions. It was much worse for the boys than it was for the girls, but still they too suffered gross humiliations.
There was such a huge stigma attached to having grown up in reformatories and industrial “schools’. A person born out of wedlock could not enter a convent. So nuns deemed it fit to be kinder to those who had fathers, as invariably, if they saw any potential they could be persuasive in helping them to join their order. There was a girl in Goldenbridge who could not put a foot wrong in that regard, whilst her sister was treated like a doormat, and slaved away in the institution. The sister who was put up on a pedestal eventually joined a religious order. I since heard that she left the religious order and married well.
Those who were born out of wedlock were on the lowest rung of the Goldenbridge ladder. There was no investment to be made in them. They were the untouchables. They were made to feel guilty for transgressions of their mothers. I remember when I first saw my birth certificate I was in total shock that there was no father mentioned in the appropriate box. I’m sure there are countless survivors who felt the same way. SHAME! SHAME! I plan however to fix that, as I know who my father was, and am grateful for that knowledge. I suffered horrendous abuse in the past from people who should have known better. They delighted in calling me a bastard. I was so devastated and shocked at being denigrated in that fashion, that it took its toll on my psychological makeup. In rural Ireland that kind of things happens a lot. My mother told me that I was a LOVE child, and that I was never to forget that I was conceived in love. So no matter whatever was thrown in my face the words of my mother would be remembered by me, silently and simultaneously as the nasty people were spewing out their hatred. Children born out of wedlock were one of the most vulnerable children in Goldenbridge, as they never had visitors, and mostly didn’t have siblings, or if they had they were never told, so they had to battle through life on their own, not only in the institution, but when they left Goldenbridge. They didn’t have mothers or fathers to take them by the hand and open up their homes to them when they left Goldenbridge, they were completely left to their own devises. Making their way without a compass was so difficult. They had no identity at all. At least those who had siblings were grounded and didn’t suffer in that capacity.