I am honored to be with Sue Mitchell at An Untold Story sharing a portion of my story. I do hope you’ll follow me over to Sue’s blog to read the rest.Note: As Sue and I discussed this guest post and using an excerpt from my work-in-progress, I expressed thoughts about a memoir I had just read. In that life story, the writer’s experiences somewhat paralleled my own. The author’s words opened up new avenues of thought and reflection I’d never expected to experience. I’m writing my story hoping to touch others so that they too may begin to think, reflect and heal.
Living with Fear
Young children scare easily—a tough tone, a sharp reprimand, an exasperated glance,
a peeved scowl will do it. Little signs of rejection— you don’t have to
hit young children to hurt them—cut very deeply.
~ James L. Hymes, Jr.
For a child, living in fear has to be one of the worst emotional states to find in one’s environment. Living isn’t living when it’s done in fear of something or someone. And that’s how life was in my childhood home.
Fear was an everyday occurrence. Not the fear of physical harm. Instead, the fear of words, another’s emotions gone wild, punishment, the unexpected. A child is supposed to be happy, carefree. This is impossible under a cloud of fear. Like waiting for the thunder to roll, the clouds to burst open, then drenching, chilling rain falling on you.
Merriam-Webster’s online dictionary defines “fear” as:
a: an unpleasant often strong emotion caused by anticipation or awareness of danger
b (1): an instance of this emotion (2): a state marked by this emotion.
Imagine living with these feelings day in, day out. Never knowing what to expect. Always on guard for that moment when tensions rise, tempers flare and you become the focus of anger and temperament.
July 3, 2012
I wonder if you remember anything special about cherry Jell-O. Probably you remember making it quite often. After all, it was Brad’s favorite!
BUT do you remember an afternoon when the worst thing that could have happened to a mother happened to you?
Lovingly, I’m sure, you had prepared another of those “humongous” pans of cherry Jell-O. And you had carefully placed it in the refrigerator to do that gelling thing it was so clever at doing.
I don’t remember where you had gone after that, but little eyes were watching and big ears were listening. As soon as they had perceived you were nowhere near the kitchen, Brad went to work.
Despite the fact that he was just passed three years old, he had somehow managed to learn how to reach up far enough to open the refrigerator door. His eyes spied that pan of Jell-O, and Brad was going to have some. And onto the floor it went!
As always, the minute you heard a crashing sound you were right there to see what one of us had done. And there it was — red Jell-O all over your kitchen floor!