Fear and Longing

I was a timid child.  I was afraid of the dark, an angry sky, the boogie man.  I longed for a feeling of safety and of being loved, but I expected rejection.  I learned early on that my fears were an intrusion on other people’s lives.   I couldn’t depend on those closest to me to save me from imagined harm; it was up to me.  And I didn’t feel up to the task But in order to avoid irritation, or ridicule, I kept my feelings to myself.

One of my earliest memories of being afraid was when I was staying with my maternal grandmother.  I was about three years old.  I don’t know why I was there, alone, or why the rest of the family was absent.

I slept with grandmother’s stepdaughter, Nancy, in the front bedroom.   This particular night, Nancy was out on a date.  It was a hot, sultry evening and the window was wide open.  The bed was next to the window.  It was very dark outside and I could see only the silhouette of a large tree.  Grandmother was sitting in a wooden chair across the room.  She said she’d stay there but I knew she was impatient to leave.   I closed my eyes and tried very hard to go to sleep.  Grandmother, thinking I WAS asleep tried to slip out of the room.  I cried, so she came back in and parked herself in the chair again.  I closed my eyes and we went through the same routine several times, until she finally lost her temper and spanked me.  My Great Grandfather, who happened to be sleeping on a cot in the dining room, called to her to bring me to him.  He held me in his arms and told me stories, one about a stork who flew through the sky with me until he found a momey and daddy who wanted me very much, so he left me with them.  I fell asleep in the middle of the story.

I think I knew that my Great Grandfather was an exception.  Back home, with a busy and impatient mother and a distant father, I learned to live with my fears.

As an adult, I still feel incapable of dealing with them, so I have adopted the solution of avoiding what I’m afraid of.  Which, of course, is no solution at all.

What am I afraid of?

2 thoughts on “Fear and Longing

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