I had a lonely childhood. Had to fill time, usually with my 3 year younger sister without parental help. We would walk very long distances; to the library, to the pool in summer, or the ice skating rink in winter. Then I made a group of friends and we regularly rode 2 buses downtown and went to free kids movies at a museum. The Pink Panther is the only one I recall. My mother was like a background figure throughout my childhood with a few exceptions.

At age 13 I began menstruating. Upon telling her I was bleeding [and shocked at that first occurrence] she promptly slapped me across the face, welcomed me to womanly adulthood, and went back to her cigarette burning in the ashtray, and the telephone receiver sitting on the kitchen counter where her best friend waited to resume their phone conversation.  KindCard-12c

I tried out a few curse words around the same time; and had to carry the 1,000+ page dictionary upstairs or downstairs [it was always opposite where my mother was castigating me], to read aloud the word and definition. I’m unsure if I remember my mouth being soaped. I also know I stole a few candy bars from a small store in our neighborhood, and was found out and my mother made me go and apologize.

A bit later I was made to sit at the kitchen table while my mother drew diagrams of a woman’s reproductive organs– her means of teaching me about sex. The first time I actually had sex I had no clue what was meant by the statement; don’t worry, I used protection. So much for my education.

I quit college without talking to my parents. How could they possibly understand? They never really got involved in my present/future. My mother had taken my to a high school guidance counselor for tests and then to explain what I would be good at in adulthood. My father told me I should take courses to get a teaching degree, as a fall-back to help my husband, in case he needed me to work.

Both the vocational testing, and teaching degree fulfilled the “womanly” accepted role of nurturing others, prevalent thinking at the time I was growing up. Yet I filledCard 9-2015-5b.jpg my own emotional needs as a volunteer worker with children with disabilities beginning in my early teens onward. A college course stating psychiatric language placing people with low levels of cognition [due to disabilities] in “idiot” and “moron” boxes was the reason I left college. Had these superior people no humanity, I wondered? 

It seemed obvious to me that I was alone in the world. Decisions were on my shoulders alone. And I couldn’t find my way through a dense forest of expectations and lack of help finding alternatives.

What I DID decide/ know was that if I ever became a mother, I would really, truly love my children, talk to them about anything and everything, not judge them, not put impossible demands on them of what I wanted for them, instead helping them find what they wanted, what they cared about, where each thought they might excel.

Today’s post came about after reading a comment on someone else’s post. Here’s an excerpt of the comment by Heather; “I want to say that this idea that love can come from the inside is a great one! But, it does not replace the very real pain of having a mother who doesn’t love you. And, worse, living in a society that says all mothers love you, you just don’t realize it! ”

Stay tuned for the next chapter in this story.

Cards here; created by me. First saying; “No act of kindness, no matter how small is every wasted.” by Aesop. Second saying; We’re every one of us imperfect. We’re every one of us, in some way, wounded animals. The most important thing is to take care of each other. ” by Barry Lopez.

 

 

 

This morning I read a post about Emotional Pain and how to overcome. I picked at one point made by the author; Loneliness is a trap… that can push others away… etc, etc. I’ve written 2 comments to the article, and here’s one of them.   PowerOfTouch

[We can be] doing the work on ourselves that needs to be done- and I also firmly, and at bedrock, believe we can make choices.

I believe when I’m in an emotional state I need to figure it out. [1] Where did it come from and why am I feeling this way? [2] Can I find another way to look at the situation? [3] And if I’m feeling bad (angry, upset, sad) what can I do to change that feeling? [4] Can I respond differently in the future if something similar pops up and my reaction is the same?

When I feel lonely I make a choice to get in action; do some art, get out of the house, cook or bake something delicious, call a friend, etc.

So this addresses questions 3 and 4 above; What can I do to change what I’m feeling and can I respond differently next time. To answer question 1 is difficult, question 2 also. When feeling jealous, left out, angry… I’m dealing with my reaction to what I perceive. What if I’m interpreting wrong. Since I cannot read any other person’s mind maybe I can decide to put the focus on me. What do I need to feel well, healthy, strong-er, more complete? And that leads me to the next part of my comment;

When it is a BIG lonely I go visit friend, hug, maybe shed tears, tell stories, laugh together.

When I’m lonely there is a reason. I miss an intimate, loving relationship. When my older daughter was 16 and “dabbling” in sex we took a walk in a beautiful wooded park and I talked about intimacy outside of sex. Intimacy with someone we care about can be a friend, sister or brother, or such and not necessarily a partner.   Choice2-2012

Intimacy can be sharing our thoughts and feelings with this person and feeling rewarded when they understand and expand on it with their own feelings and ideas. That “rewarding” feeling, that sharing, the hug and shedding tears and telling stories and laughing together that I mentioned above [in green text] is an intimacy that for me fills the empty spaces. It reminds me I’m worthy of all those feelings we’re sharing. I’m not as alone as I allowed myself to believe.

My choice is to not dwell on what I don’t have, but find ways to fulfill my needs/wants- in as healthy a manner as I can devise. By exercising the making of choices.

There’s a bit of comment I made on the article from a second site that I want to share, which maybe says this more clearly; Loneliness for me isn’t a trap, but a bit of a warning; to call a friend, get busy cleaning the house, write a blog post, get exercise of any sort. If it feels heavier then I spend time with a friend. Get a hug. Pet the cat. Indulge in tears if so moved, laugh and talk and share stories together. And then the lonely cloud dissipates to leave me/my world sunny again.

My belief; negative or hurtful feelings can be seen as early warning so that we have a chance to change our reactions; get support, move in other directions, make healthier choices. For me living is about making choices that support me– to be the best I can, especially because I have another human being depending on me [Nate the Great, my son with Downs who shares home with me.]

I wish for all of you reading this; feeling fulfilled and cared for while finding the power of making choices enhances your well-being. My best to you, Lauren

Top card saying by Leo Buscaglia; “Never underestimate the power of a touch, a smile, a kind word, a listening ear, an honest compliment, or the smallest act of caring, all of which have the potential to turn a life around.”  This card and all my artwork protected by Creative Commons license. Do NOT copy my art. Thanks.