When I was 4, we moved into a new home. Obviously I don’t remember much about the old place, but I do remember missing it, and I do remember trying to tell my mom about it. I remember is so clearly, it’s hard to believe this was 27 years ago. I was feeling sad, and nostalgic for our old place. I remember feeling it like an opening in my chest and a yearning in my heart. I remember debating telling my mom because I didn’t want her to worry. I remember wondering if it was normal to feel this. It was days before I decided it was worth telling her, because she must know this feeling too, and can sit with me in it. I must have said something like “My heart feels funny. And when I think about our old house my heart hurts.”
I remember my mom asking if I should go to the doctor. I was devastated at how misunderstood I felt. I knew this wasn’t something the doctor could see or fix. She said “Well, if you feel it again, let me know and I will take you to the doctor.”
She walked away more quickly than I wanted and I remember regretting telling her, and feeling so alone.
For the record, I have a loving, wonderful mother. She did nothing wrong and I am absolutely sure she doesn’t remember this. She probably thought of it was a rambling, tired 4 year old and she was busy moving the house.
I am learning, from my developmental pysch studies, that this was actually a very traumatic happening for me. The books I’m reading define how these types of misunderstandings from primary care givers are burned into our memories. It’s one of my first memories. I remember my little feet being on the wall, as I laid in my bed, because I lived in a finished attic and we had diagonal ceilings, as my mom walked away. She had her hair in a long braid, much less gray than it is now, and she was carrying a white laundry basket. I remember sitting there after, knowing I feel worse than before, and I cannot assume others’ have this feeling too.
I’m learning that when you are a child, you don’t have a large world view. The way you view your parents, siblings, etc. builds your entire world view. If your dad is mean, you don’t think, I have a mean dad, you think, the world is mean.
When my mom didn’t understand me, I concluded that I am different from everyone else. I didn’t know the words for curious, sensitive, intuitive, or open but I knew I was those things.
And I knew no one else was.
And I knew if people were gonna love me,
I couldn’t let them know that part of me.
I’m not exactly sure how to unlearn this, but I start now with practicing.