Life is full of trials and tribulations that we endure because we have to.
Surviving is not a testament to our skill as much as it is to our being able to put aside our own emotional needs and do what needs to be done to put one foot in front of the other. Often our response is guided by the immediate needs of another, or others, who we focus on rather than our own pain. Hence heroes are sometimes born.
But for the vast majority, it is just life. Shit happens and tomorrow comes and it is not long before what happened is a distant echo down a long hall filled with other baggage.
But we never truly escape.
Our minds can be like a personal maid, hovering in the wings, waiting for us to sit quietly long enough, to convince it we are ready. Suddenly those experiences, the memories, the emotions we ran from, flood our awareness and we are forced to sort through them in hindsight. Our mind dumps them when we are perhaps least expecting it. The pain is perhaps even more acute, often largely undiscovered and experienced up to that point, but the ability to deal with it is greatly lessened. The people and the situation are no longer part of our contemporary experience.
Yesterday, for me, it was the viral video of the child crying in response to music that deeply touched him. I remember crying to music and being smacked and told not to be ridiculous. I remember crying in my bed at night over the loss of both my parents and being yelled at. So today I am sitting with a little girl who felt too much and saw too much and was never once picked up or held or comforted. Every time I think we are good, something pops up and I find myself sitting in my old rocking chair and holding her and reassuring her that “we” will be ok. We are ok. Mostly I let her cry. And I cry.
I realize I created a pattern of putting everyone else in front of me. My growing up gave me the message that my needs were “ridiculous.” Everyone else gets comforted and I go it alone, approval, or lack of negative attention, awarded when I pretend I am ok.
I was not ok.
It’s a battle I fight. So today I need to have a talk with a little girl and we have to come up with a plan. It begins with telling the people around me to stop telling me how to feel. It begins with me telling the people around me that I do feel and what I feel.
I am going to cry.
There are times when the little girl and I are not years apart in time, but one. This is as scary as it gets for me.