Archive for April, 2011
I grew up a good child, someone who spoke when spoken to and who did what was expected. I was respectful toward adults. Above all, I avoided disappointing my parents. In fact, I lived my childhood anticipating their needs and desires, then orchestrating my actions to make sure they weren’t mad at me. Emotions, especially the wild abandonment of anger was as foreign to me as the dark side of the moon. What I wouldn’t discern until decades later was the physical, emotional, and spiritual toll it took on me to repress feelings of anger.
My first experience of searing anger came when I was thirty-nine years old and my husband of six years died of cancer. Even then, I did everything I could to keep my wrath at bay. I used vats of Chardonnay to anesthetize myself. But like a can of coke that has been shaken and then unsealed, once opened and fizzing, the anger spilled over. No one, including God, was exempt. I took it out on restaurant servers and grocery store clerks—nothing they could do was ever right. Finally, a dear friend said to me, “You’ve got a problem. You’re angry and you need to learn how to deal with it.” With her words, I could see that I was taking out my denied and repressed pain and hurt on people around me. I did have a Read the rest of this entry »
Throughout my childhood, the most precious of all commodities was time and space to be alone. Long before I understood its importance to my own well-being, I sought out moments and places of solitude. Growing up in a family of twelve and in a tight knit community engulfed by an extended family and friends, I frequently experienced my life as if I was in a large aquarium with hundreds of multicolored fish circling the tank looking for food. In retrospect, even the air I breathed as a child felt recycled and, what’s worse, rationed.
From conception, and I do mean from the time I was conceived, I was not alone. I shared my mother’s womb with my twin brother. I remember sitting at the kitchen table as a child and asking my mother, “Who is older, Jim or me?” “Jim came first,” she responded. I was crestfallen to find out that I was the younger twin. Today I realize that Read the rest of this entry »