“Most of us, no matter what we say, are walking in the dark, whistling in the dark. Nobody knows what is going to happen to him from one moment to the next, or how one will bear it.”-James Baldwin
I was rejected by a person a child assumes is supposed to love them, and by failing to nurture my spirit, failing to listen to my emotions, and never providing me the space to cry; I came close to repeating that failure in my own life. Most people are ignorant to the shifting impulses and desires in their internal being; this inability to respond and respect these changes are a result of people being unable to provide us with an example of an intimate relationship with the self. When a child slumps his shoulders, drops his head, cries unexpectedly, and the eyes of his caretaker are unconcerned or annoyed, that builds a barrier between the child and their emotions. But when we respond to the shift in a child, we teach them the value of everything happening inside them.
My spiritual, mental, and emotional growth was overshadowed by the emphasis placed on my physical well being, one of the curses growing up in a generation removed from poverty. I believe, naturally, children move closer towards the actions that provide them with praise and love. So, not only are parents unable to provide children with the more difficult nourishment- emotional, spiritual, mental- but children are celebrated for having wealth. When a child discovers a drought of love from one source they either reject all attempts at nourishment or run to the one providing even an infinitesimal amount; I choose rejection, internally I resented the world and became unable to answer the need for change in my life. I expressed my crave for independence by leaving people that loved me at any sign of change, or repressed the depth of my love for people; anytime my love became too much, I became mean and unaffectionate. To love, which involves taking a risk, I had to stand by my worth and in the strangeness of new emotions. We have to be truthful in our pursuit of love; love begets truth. If I love you I am going to be honest with you, and if I lie to myself about my desire for you then I will never be able to be spontaneous. I will be trapped in the motionless rigidity of fear, and prevent myself, as many people do, from letting people in, expressing ourselves deeply, and allowing ourselves to experience the subtleties of a well-lived life.
“I had crossed the line. I was free; but there was no one to welcome me to the land of freedom. I was a stranger in a strange land.” — Harriet Tubman
We must be able to sink deeper into ourselves while growing simultaneously; we must be willing to accept those that abused us were unable, sometimes unwilling, to love us. But instead of hating them, we must recognize the potential of healing and giving our children the nourishment we lacked. We often become the characteristics about our parents we hate, and become just as delusional about the similarities. We must be willing to see people beyond the range of our own emotions, and not trap them in the narcissistic naivety of our own consciousness. Many people never allow the world to exist outside their opinions, perceptions, and expectations; they do the same thing to the people they love. No one is a monster, but a human being, and, I believe, acceptance of our complexity allows us to develop empathy for the people that have abused us, we are one.
A child, when very young, may have the empathy, but then fall into a misunderstanding of the humanness of their parents. While slowly evolving that misunderstanding into hatred because you are not able to understand how someone could treat anyone so mean and narcissistically. Our responsibility is to converge empathy and understanding so we can love people as they should be loved; the deeper my love grew for myself, the deeper I loved the world; I was forced to confront the difficult parts of the world and discover the beauty in living my particular experience. Healing and forgiving is the only way to allow ourselves to be loved by the people that choose to love us; loving when everything is peachy and pretty is simple, but to love when the world is chaotic is true commitment. Everyone carries all the emotions, fears, anxieties, hope, hopelessness, desire to be held and stimulated that we carry around with us.
Because pain can be a wellspring of pleasure, we must become graceful internally with our lives. Through forgiving we discover the beauty and complexity of pain and becoming; we have an obligation to accept ourselves. We are being required to analyze the world anew, and release the heaviness of being rejected so we can experience the world in all its beauty.