It’s been a long time since I wrote anything since a lot of things have been going on. Also all my other posts are here.
I want to talk about doubts and fears. Actually the fear is what leads to the doubt I am convinced. Since I have always been a single parent and since I have always quite uncritically taken in what most of my peers and family members have told me or advised me to do I have followed advise on how to be a parent also when it went against my instincts. That is, I have not always followed my gut feeling and it is in these instances I have felt most like a failure.
I have always had a sence of ‘not fitting in’. I was simply different; different from most of my classmates if not all of them, I was different from other children, I felt differently about most things etc. etc. Not that everybody isn’t different – we are all unique individuals, but I always knew that there was something profoundly wrong with the way things were happening. With what was going on in the world around me and so on. Something felt rotten. Something was off. But as a child who learned to follow authority almost without struggle it has taken me a very long time to realise exactly how wrong things are. I grew up in a good home. I mean, my parents were sweet and loving. But I still was made to believe that, as a child, my opinions didn’t really count and I was to behave according to how my parents found right. Granted my parents weren’t nearly as strict as some of my friends’ parents whom I was almost afraid to visit. But they were still conventional parents. Following a hierarchical order. That said, I don’t think my parents didn anything they didn’t feel was necessary. My mother was always very calm and friendly. She only yelled in sheer frustration over not being listened to or if she was stressed out or anxious about something. My father was mostly playful and a great storyteller but he could be very stern and unthoughtful when we were around strangers because he himself was feeling uncomfortable. So with my adult reasoning I can put myself in parent’s shoes and understand their motifes. But what I learned as a child was damaging to my selfesteem and to my own judgement. In most of my primary school years I had a very oldfashioned teacher to whom yelling was absolutely obligatory. Though he had his good moments he scared the shit out of me and I behaved like a ‘good little girl’ in almost all of his classes. I only recall one time when I had to stand in a corner with my back to the rest of the class for not coming in to class on time. That was when I deliberately disobeyed by staying out in the yard with some other classmates for a huge snowball fight. I remember how fun the fight was and I remember the shame by having to stand with my back to the rest of the class. But I have no recollections of what my teacher was trying to teach us that day. I also have a lot of memories of being yelled at by him and having to memorise numbers. But I simply can’t remember what I learned. Or can I? Did I perhaps learn that it was okay for adults to yell at children? That I was the kind of person you could say or do whatever you wanted to?
Still I enjoyed school. I was good at it. That is, I was good at behaving and at doing school work. I detested homework and always wished I could have been a bird or a bear or whatever when I sat for hours having to do the same thing over and over. I am sure if someone would have asked me back then if I preferred not to go to school I would immediately have shouted: YES! no more school! And I would still have learned the ‘schooly’ things I learned there. But I wouldn’t have learned that it was okay for strange adults to yell at me, that it was okay for older kids to bully me, spit in my hair and throw stones at me, that it was inevitable to get bullied from time to time simply for being different than the others.
So, fears; I see our fears grip us people suddenly from time to time, out of the blue. Fears like an ancient feeling that takes over and tries to control. For example in the line at the grocery store; parents hissing at their children because they get stressed out, and they are stressed out because they are thinking that they wont make it home in time to make dinner, clean up, get ready for bed etc. etc. They are afraid of what will happen if they don’t do all the things they think they should. And I know it from myself; suddenly I get a sweaty feeling that what we are doing just isn’t enough. The other day we had a day where A and I were reading books for a couple hours in the morning and talking about what was going on in the books, then I sat and worked by the pc for a little while and A was playing alone, she loves pretend play and can do it for hours. Then we went outside and picked blackcurrant in the garden and went in again to make jam. A was so into making jam and wanted to be in on the whole process. We measured and talked about measures and how many grams of berries went with how many grams of sugar and so on. We succeeded in making a really nice jam 🙂 Afterwards A wanted to watch a movie and I did some cleaning and sorting through our clothes because I have decided to sell a bunch of it at the flee market. Then all of a sudden I got a feeling that we should have been doing a lot more or something different or maybe A hadn’t learned enough that day or maybe it was something else I couldn’t really figure out what it was. Until I realised that it wasn’t anything, it was simply fear that had gripped me and started to put thoughts in my head. I told myself that we had been doing axactly what we should and that I knew that because we had been enjoying ourselves. So, it’s worth taking a deep breath and thinking twice when you start to feel stressed out about something you feel you haven’t done well enough. It is likely that you have done exactly what you needed to do that day.
It is as if fear is induced into us people by society. Things are prescribed that we should do and if we do not do them something terrible will happen. What will other people think? What will my employer say? What will my parents say? What will my friends think? What if I can’t buy that house, that car, that dress, that pair of shoes? What if I fail my exam? What if I miss my train? What if I don’t get the job? What if? What if? What if? What if the sky falls down on me? Well, then it would be nice to have some alternative skills to help you get by…
I think it is vital to try to think outside of the little box we were brought up to think inside. It is important to keep in mind that everything is changing all the time and that we all have the capacity to work things out in our own way if we choose to do so. So don’t let fear get too much of a grip when you feel sad or lonely or like a failure. Know that the sun will still rise tomorrow, just like Hemingway says, and your children will be all right and so will you.
Much love xxx