Friday, May 22, 2015

Sitting, Crouching, Waiting to be Found

I was probably the only kid who ever hated the game Hide and Seek. I found crouching in my chosen nook terrifying, anxiety producing. What if nobody finds me? What if everybody quits the game, and I don’t know? Quiet, still, and trying to not be noticed, I felt frightened, alone, unsure of myself and my choice of place. Let’s just quit this game already and play tag or house or, for the love of God, anything else.

And yet I’ve made a good effort in my life at playing my own grown up version of the game. Sometimes, in fact, I forget that I am hiding and cannot even find MYSELF.

At various points in my life, I have hidden my feelings, my home, my needs, my abilities, and my worth.

I did not grow up in a touchy feely sort of home. I did not have space in my life to be the sensitive, caring, kind soul that I am. My early world was harsh. My sisters and I ate what we had to eat, wore what we had to wear, and were encouraged to be thankful just to have a roof over our heads. My parents were busy dealing with a hard life. They did not have time or energy to worry about extras like our emotional needs. “My girls don’t cry.” This is what I got. I know how to be tough, how to be strong, how to persist in the face of defeat.

And yet, I was the kid who cried when Bambi’s mother died.

For those who have read Gary Chapman’s Love Languages book, touch is my number one, my number one by far. I THRIVE on touch. I NEED that skin to skin. I LIVE for hugs and handshakes and pats on the back. I melt when someone reaches up simply to straighten my hair. I know. Seems like not much of anything. To me, however, it is the oxygen that I breathe. Sadly, I am only now learning to ask, and only now learning to receive.

For a long time, I hid my home. I was embarrassed growing up, because mine was not like the homes of my friends. We had roaches on the counters, heat that wasn’t always there. We had cars that broke down and landlords that chased us for rent. My parents yelled at each other, swore at their kids, used words like godammit, sonofabitch, and pussy and cunt. I can’t even type those words without turning weird shades of red. I had aches in my stomach and nails bit to nubs from the fighting, the swearing, the things flung in rage.

I no longer hide this, no longer pretend, because within this mess I became who I am. I learned, from my parents, respect for my elders and speaking with care. I was taught to not bully, not tease, and to share. My parents were giving to those who had need. They taught us to be strong, to try hard, to believe.

I’ve played other hiding games in my life.

As a new mother I hid my needs.

I have hidden my worth by playing small. Not afraid of failure, but afraid of success. Who am I to hope? Who am I to expect? Be good with what you get, don’t ask for more. Insecurity, self-doubt, low self-esteem. Many of you would be surprised, but hey, I’m a writer. I’m great at Pretend.

For most of my life, I have hidden my ability to sense what others don’t yet know. I get feelings, have dreams, read situations before they play out. It is not to an academic’s advantage to speak of her woo-woo ways. And yet, here I am, coming out of a closet I was pretending was not there. I am fascinated by concepts such as telepathy, twin flames, past life regression, Spirit, and guides. I have a friend I have met frequently in my dreams. We get together for a visit and a chat. Some call this a rehashing of the day or of wishes or thoughts. I call it communication at the level of the soul.

Which leads to another closet in which I hide. Once more, I find myself covering my feelings so others will not see. I would come out, confess, wave the white flag, but I am not certain I am ready for something serious as that. I have only now figured out that I am even IN that hiding space. Denial is a heavy thing. It is like one of those keys with the big brass locks, its weight in my pocket just too much to bear, preferable, though, to showing what I cannot show. And, yet, here I sit, crouching and waiting, sad and alone, waiting, waiting to be found.