Friday, May 25, 2007
The Need To Be Heard
School’s out for summer! I promised my daughter that she could host a overnight camp out. The girls varied from eleven to thirteen years of age. There was a brief introduction of each family as they dropped off their children. A glimpse of who they are and their status in the community. I couldn't believe in the few moments time how much you could learn about people. Some opened up more then others to talk, but they all opened up. They shared lack of employment, gas prices, family issues, A chapter in their life that they wanted heard. I was amazed how much I knew about each family as they drove off.
I watched the girls mingle, viewed the different personalities, they were all having so much fun. One young girl, seemed extra attentive, bubbly personality, maturing. She said I like it here, I’ll call you mom, she came and sat beside me on the swing, cuddling up close the blanket wrapped around her. She spoke and I imagined her life flashing like candid pictures. The description of her home life very clear.It’s not uncommon families with stepparents. In a very short time, she spoke of her stepfather, her desire to know her real father, her love for her grandmother and feelings of not being wanted. I felt sad as I held her, knowing I could do so little. I said have you spoke to your mother? she said “she gets angry when I bring it up. “I felt helpless and yet I knew she just needed to be heard. We all need that at various times in our life, to be heard. Sometimes it gives validity to a secret and sometimes it a earmark of a cry for help. I am here if you need to talk and if you need some place to go you can always call.
I had written letters for years to a person who rarely responded to them. Some would say why would you do that, continue to write letters to some one who is not acknowledging you? If I was honest with myself, I would say, I had hoped that they would answer. I could have written all the same words in a diary, why did I need to write them to someone.? Many times as I wrote the letters the questions that troubled me the most, had the answers hidden in my own words. If only I dare to listen to myself, but also there is something about sharing what you have shared with no other soul. Someone was listening, I was being heard. My secrets, my silent cries, my tears were falling on someone else’s shoulder ,even though the response was minimal.In writing those letters I broke the golden role of the dysfunctional family " what goes on in the home stays in the home" It was brainwashed into us, share nothing, speak only when spoken to and above all keep it home.I can't say I never had a response from the person who for years read those letters. They did speak, very little, but there were a few comments. One was "your life is like a roller coaster." I think that is very true of dysfunctional families, that is how they survive so long.The up and down, the good and bad, the ying yang or the balance of good and evil. It some how plays on the optimistic personality, giving hope, having faith. I thought of it both sides of the scale, given enough rope to hang ourself, or enough rope to reach the floatation device.
I went back five years into my life, I remember looking into a photo album to find a picture of myself. When I finally found one, I was viewing a picture of the stranger I had become. I didn't like the person I saw. I felt ugly, stupid, sad and lost. The years that followed were the makings of a survival journey an acceptance of my own self worth an exploration of life and a growing experience. I needed to be heard and someone listened.