I was watching a series of Ted Talks on storytelling and a common theme, or rather a common element, is that each of the speakers have mentioned a strong influence when they were young. One woman spoke about being brought up in a chauvinistic household and being beat for not following the rules that she was supposed to follow. Another man spoke about how his grandfather ignited his imagination by deconstructing things for him at an early age, taking apart phones and radios. Another man spoke about his mother taking him to the movies when he was a young boy and on and on it goes.
I look back at my early life and recognize that I was neglected. I don’t have any strong role models, people introducing me to things or gifts of insight. I learned how to look out for myself, which I realize is valuable, but it is not being brought up. I can probably relate more to children that have been lost in the woods and survived, except that I lived in a city, amongst humans, not wild creatures.
This knowledge makes me feel a longing for something that I never knew and never had. I remembered my girlfriends being in love with Donny Osmond, how they idolized him and wanted to meet him and I never understood that. There were no celebrities that I had a crush on or felt any connection to. I did not look outside of myself for people to bring things in and offer opportunities.
My wiring has been all about being self sufficient, learning what my needs were and how to meet them myself. This of course, set me up for a marriage to a man that had no obligation to meet my needs or provide any sort of support or encouragement. I hadn’t had it in the past, why would I look for it now? I probably wouldn’t have even noticed if he had not also been cruel and mean. But, in the final tally of it all, I realized that there was no reason to stay and serve this man because he was not a partner, not a friend and certainly not a lover. He was, by this time, however, the father of my children, so I have no choice but to continue to deal with him, but I digress.
I did not have the mentors, the unconditional love and the insights of an adult in my life while I was growing up. This sent me in a particular direction. How could I possibly get people to like me? Good grades in school, excelling at sports and being nice to people were the keys to who I became. Now, in the second half of my life, I am faced with the question of where to go from here. Despite my past, this is my present. What type of future do I want to create?
What I would like to leave for the world is my understanding of what it is like to be allowed to grow up instead of being raised. To be able to explain how to identify the children who are in danger of being neglected and overlooked by those that are supposed to love them and care for them and to offer hope to the people that have survived this lack of upbringing. I would like to help them become all that they can be and live a satisfying life of joy. A few Ted Talks will do that to me.