As I sat and talked with my counselor the other night, we covered a lot of ground, as I try to understand myself and as she is trying to understand me. Counseling has been good for me the past five years. I am not the same person that I was when I first walked into my former counselor’s office. It has been a safe place to share anything and everything, not be judged, ridiculed or made to feel less than, adding to shame.
At times it seems like a waste of time to discuss the past but the past affects our today and future, if not dealt with and understood. There are some things I want to know and to understand the whys in life as a child, adult and even now as I ponder at my present age. Talking it through, listening, research and even writing blogs have been healing for me.
It was even when I was a child I knew I had a teacher that was a role model for me when in elementary school and years following. I watched her, how she dressed, I looked at her gold wedding ring of how pretty, her short dark hair, how she carried herself and conversation with others (adults or students). Always positive, I felt in my view, perfect.
I wanted to be just like her. It was my desire to become a teacher at that age. No surprise, as I would have the neighborhood kids in our garage sit as students, at times, during summer break and we had school. Of course, I was the teacher, just like her. We all had fun at this time in my life, as children should play and be imaginative.
As a little girl, I had my Barbie dolls, as many little girls did, and I was oftentimes in my Barbie doll world as I was off in my bedroom while others were in the living room talking, laughing and drinking beer. I had this one Barbie doll that I probably picked out to buy that reminded me of her, with short dark hair. We all know, Barbie dolls are perfect.
Later, there came a time when I sat down to all of my dolls, and I remember thinking this is silly. I packed up my dolls, doll house, clothes and they went into storage. I still have all my dolls in safe keeping one day for my granddaughter(s) to play with or for an antique store to sell, when I am gone.
Even though my dolls were put away from childhood, as I entered into a new phase of my life, my role model was still special to me.
With her importance to me, it was always a joy to run into her outside of school or see her as I rode my bike. When riding in the car, I could see her house in the distance, across the train tracks in this one area of the road, right before you go over a hill. I was always alert of my surroundings when going down this main highway because of that, as I would see a light in her kitchen window. To me, that light brought a calmness because I knew she was there. Was she? I do not know for sure but the light helped me to cope in my life at that time. Silly but I did that.
Not having a close relationship with my mother or sisters to help understand matters growing up, I had to listen and observe mostly of those that were around me. Having a light in my lonely childhood full of unanswered questions, helped me.
This week as I write this, I discussed some areas with my counselor and it made sense in part of why abandonment affects me somewhat. While having her as a teacher one year, she was out several times for medical reasons. I missed her, I was concerned about her and could not wait for her to return. The class sang this goofy song a boy wrote when she returned, I remember still to this day, as if it was just last week. Sigh of relief, she was back.
While I do know now that it is normal to feel an attachment to teachers and perhaps boys having a crush, I did not then and never had someone to talk to about this with. Lost in my thoughts of why she was so special. Now knowing, she cared for me and I needed that, if just a smile or a wave, I was somebody to her. I felt special.
As my counselors have discussed this and as I have pondered it more, I realize it was probably a grounding tool for me back then. I did not know that in my young years but I always wondered what was wrong with me to be somewhat obsessed with her. Even that brings shame because of just those thoughts, what is wrong with me.
I was nobody at home but the youngest in the family and just present while everyone around me was busy with their own lives. I just existed. Sadly, I escaped in thoughts of wanting to be just like her when I grew up.
As children, and as I was a child, we develop coping mechanisms to survive and grow. With her, I learned not just from her class that one year but many years of not being forgotten, shown kindness when we would run into one another and the excitement I felt, like seeing a movie star, in my eyes back then. We are friends today. I know she cares and loves me as I do her. To top it off, she was in my wedding, the date of her birthday (that was not planned, just the calendar year although it was pretty awesome). The Lord truly blessed me to have a good role model, teacher and friend in my life.
While she does not live in the same house, I still look over the hill and railroad tracks to see a light on in the kitchen window of the unknown, present owners. The light still brings me a calmness.
In regard to counseling as an adult, I was not aware of the whys and confusion felt keeping it to myself, such as childhood emotional neglect, abandonment, coping mechanisms that came into play, grounding for calmness and shame present and built because of thinking something was wrong with me.
How sad for a little girl to have all that within. Counseling has paid off for me and I believe that the Lord blessed me with the best counselors to understand some of the whys in my life to unlock the freedom within.
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11 NIV