It was a good summer after all

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Helping each other 

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A view the campers were treated toIMG_2576

Crazy table drawings

I bussed 4 hours a day to volunteer with children 10-11 at an outdoor camp. I had to do it. I slept from 3-6 hours but somehow I managed to drag myself to the bus everyday, and inexplicably I felt like something was being filled up by volunteering there.

I had a late teenhood. And I had an even later identity formation. I’m twenty one, and the two years between nineteen and twenty one are as barbarous and poison laced as can be. Age means nothing.

If you think that someone can emotionally mature without being allowed to explore themselves, you’re wrong. Just look at my mom. Flipping over to a new page-fifty-yet still emotionally immature.  How can be it a surprise that I, reared by her, am also emotionally stunted?

It’s not a judgement, it’s a truth. We all need to explore to find our place in our own lives; if we can’t, we are stuck as children, buffeted by fate and clinging onto a dependent love. We won’t learn that the strongest love is co dependent love. We don’t learn that other’s lives are codependent on us. It isn’t just selfishness, it’s a disease.

I’m sick and tired of being on the brink of anxiety or depression because I feel I am worthless or deserve what I get. I’m tired of being someone’s punching bag, someone’s empty affirmation, the disease’s vehicle for transmission into the next generation. It’s already been in our family for at least two generations-I must be the last to pass on this erasable affliction. It’s one thing to be pre disposed to being emotional, and in a related vein, artistic. It’s quite another to abuse the next generation as a means of assuaging that pain.

I get it, there’s some things that we can’t help. The best we can do is commit to taking a step back every day and earnestly incorporating feedback on our flaws. Not spend twenty years rearing a child and pushing every bit of love with a tongue of poison, slowly killing everything the child stands for.

And understand that people who are in this situation have more trouble learning to form supportive relationships because they have to learn it for themselves. And even when they figure out how to, it won’t erase the emptiness that has become a part of their identity. I see that taking years, although the strides by which life will improve will be drastic each year.

These kids have crutches. They are childish on their own and pretend to be fearless around others. They want to fake it until they make it but the truth is they can’t fake it, they have to truly experience it. Help them with those experiences, set up their lives to make up for deficiencies.

I’m happy to say that I’ve put this year behind me. When I think about myself, I no longer feel a hole I will never get out of regarding my abilities as a human being. I have that base feeling of decency for myself that you take for granted under normal circumstances. I feel emotionally mature enough to try to share my life with someone else and give love unselfishlessly and regard each and every person as a potential friend or learning experience. I don’t feel the the need to push people down in my mind in order to find confidence, which was the way I was taught to feel good about myself. I don’t feel the need to grovel in order to feel liked, which was the way I was taught to feel loved. Back when I first volunteered with kids, I didn’t really care about them and did it selfishly. Back when I started camping, I was heady with the new experiences and I felt like I was only pretending to feel the things that I did. Back when I first went to counselling, I never believed that life could change. But now I really feel it. For the first time in my life, I see a future for myself that is realistic and concrete, not the lurid fantasy of a confused child.

Just being able to say, I’m not screwed up and it’s not my fault and that I can make other people feel loved is everything.

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