Empathy is the antidote to shame…The two most powerful words when we’re in struggle: me too.
There is no shame in feeling broken…Sometimes it is the breaking that leads us to the source of our own becoming. But we need not suffer alone. When you feel trauma or shame, if you feel depressed or alone — speak your truth, ask for help, insist without ceasing on the support that you need.
To mark today…February 20th…
To grow up bathed in shame.
Struggling to crawl out to you.
Hope slipping back
I always wondered why.
To reach you
Through the fog
Left alone. Numb.
I always wondered why.
Until running bare
Into the dark
Finding every door
I stopped wondering why.
The only path
A new truth
Of my own.
…for my mother, who would have been 90 years old today.
If we have someone who loves us — I don’t mean who indulges us, but who loves us enough to be on our side — then it’s easier to grow resilience, to grow belief in self, to grow self-esteem. And it’s self-esteem that allows a person to stand up.
from Grammy 1966
from Grammy 1966
I have much to be grateful for in my life. The love of family is at the top of the list. As a child…and then as an adult…I was well loved by my grandparents. Held up. Cherished. Accepted.
All four of my grandparents – and my one living great grandparent – took the time to write to me. Personal letters. Postcards. Valentines. Birthday cards….
I heard from them on a regular basis…knowing I was important in their lives. And not forgotten, even though we lived miles apart.
Treasured pages of handwritten news, stories, questions about my life and plans for the future….
Offering encouragement and understanding
And unconditional love.
Irene Waters’ “Times Past” prompt challenge topic for February is: Tales of Terror
Can you remember any tales of fear that your parents used to stop you going out of bounds. Please join in giving your location at the time of your memory and your generation.
As a baby boomer growing up in the USA suburbs, I basically roamed the tree lined streets of my working class neighborhood. On foot. On my bike. On my skateboard. On roller skates. I specifically remember the house I lived in from the age of 4 to 11. There were woods to explore at one end of the street before it curved uphill to circle around to the next block. Houses lined up close together and near to the street.
My mother issued two clear directives to keep me safe:
Don’t take candy from strangers.
This was in the context of a stranger driving around the block, who might stop, open the door and try to lure me into his car with a Nestle’s Crunch. I would then never be seen again. And terrible things would happen…which were never spelled out in any detail, but an implied tale of terror just the same.
I will admit I considered possibly grabbing the candy and making a run for it. However the opportunity never presented itself.
Being the immortal child that I was, I was unafraid to ride my bike for hours at a time…for long distances that perhaps would have been prohibited if I had advertised my adventures. Which I didn’t.
A favorite trip: to “the little store” on the other side of town…saved my allowance and bought my own candy. Smarties, Mary Janes, Mounds, tiny wax bottles (remember those? argh), button candy, Bazooka Bubble Gum. No strangers needed. Sometimes I let my younger sister tag along, swearing her to secrecy.
Interesting side note: when we first moved there, my sister was 3 years old. One day she packed a lunchbox with napkins, hopped on her tricycle and took off…without telling anyone. Her destination: where we used to live…a long car ride away. A dozen houses later – almost a quarter mile – she arrived at the far end of our road, about to pedal down the cross street. A dangerous intersection at the crest of a hill. The neighbor on the corner stopped her in time and called the police.
So my sister got a ride in a police car…which is where she was eventually spotted by my frantic mother. Who had grabbed me and my infant brother and probably went looking for strangers with candy. An actual tale of terror thankfully averted.
Don’t go near Tony M.
Tony was a mentally challenged teenager who lived a couple of blocks away. At least I think he was a teenager…to my young eyes he could have been in his twenties. He lived with his parents and sometimes wandered around looking somewhat disheveled. It was never explained to me what he might do. Or say. But the look in my mother’s eyes spoke fear. My questions about why went unanswered. I rarely saw him, but when I did he mostly looked lonely and sad. I wonder what happened to him.
Contrasting colors are colors that are on approximately opposite side of the color wheel. Yellow and purple, green and red, blue and orange, and a myriad of variations in-between each of those….This week’s challenge is fairly wide open as far as subject goes, just try to use the color wheel as a guide.
Orange was my favorite color when I was in my teens and twenties. Orange bedspread. Orange blanket. Orange beanbag chair. Orange stationary. Orange flair pens. Orange Tupperware. And on and on. When we ordered an orange formica countertop for the bathroom sink in our 1980 starter home, nobody thought twice. It was on the list of standard colors. After all, it was 1980. And it matched the orange shower curtain.
Orange is no longer my favorite color, but I love seeing it come back in style…especially when it is worn by my favorite grandson.
He was stylin’ with contrasting colors in the summer of 2017….when at the age of 14 months… he made quite a splash at the beach.
His first time dipping toes in the ocean.
And digging in the sand.
With an orange Tupperware scoop…courtesy of Grandma.
Our backyard was a place for running, jumping, playing…and enjoying the fresh air. When the wind picked up, as if often did, it might make playing whiffle ball a bit more challenging. Raking leaves into neat piles took a few more minutes…but it kept the bugs away!
It also picked up your hair and momentarily held it…in all kinds of random positions.
A daddy and his 3 year old son…
Sitting side by side on the back steps.
Turned around briefly.
Facing away from the breeze.
But making its presence known.
IN A NEW POST CREATED FOR THIS CHALLENGE, SHARE A PHOTO OR TWO OF NATURE.
For twenty years my young family and I packed up the station wagon to travel 90 minutes north for our annual week-long summer vacation…
…to the Great Outdoors.
A conference center/family camp on Lake Winnipesaukee. A fairly rustic setup, we roomed together in a small bedroom (until we outgrew it & also needed the room across the hall), ate together at a communal dining hall and spent the better part of every day playing together. The 2 of us. Then the 3 of us. Then the 4 of us.
No television. No phones. Long before the internet and cellular phones. No distractions.
And no cooking. No cleaning. No dishes to wash.
It was eat, sit, talk, explore, swim, dig in the sand, play cards, games, read, sing, sleep.
Lots of walking…especially through the woods surrounding us. Sometimes via the walking trails or sometimes blazing our own…collecting “natures” as in…leaves, acorns, pine cones, twigs, pebbles….
Several times each day we made the trek down the path to the lake…our feet crunching over the layer of finely crushed gravel. Breathing in the damp mossy air. Spotting little critters dashing through the brush on the forest floor. Looking up, squinting in the bright sun, trees standing high above our heads…branches spread as if protecting us, little and big alike. Slapping a few buzzing mosquitoes.
Eerily quiet. Peaceful.
When our children were small, the walking time depended on the amount of equipment we needed to bring with us. And how fast little feet could walk. Or needed to stop and rest from the weight of pails, shovels and sand toys. But it didn’t matter. We were in no hurry.
With just one 3 year old…it was only a swimming tube, towel and a chair for mom & dad.
A ten minute walk.