Or a version of this is true. I have managed to become a reasonable adult who can make rational decisions - even RASH decisions - and I'm glad at the woman I've become. Yet...through music therapy with Cara...I stumbled into an awareness that I couldn't have expected and makes perfect sense:
I never grew up.
It is OK to eye that statement with scrutiny. As proud as I am of myself for surviving up to my forties, which I did pretty well despite obesity, there is a little pin prick of truth I can't ignore.
So here's how we see it:
Prior to the age of five, I was everybody's darling. I was raised an only child, was the only grandchild and niece in my immediate family...was the newest, cutest and may I say most talented youngest cousin mom's side of the family ever laid eyes on. I was loved, massively loved, by a tight knit group of people who helped raise me and took care of me and my mom. I LOVED my grandparents, my aunts, uncles, cousins and I loved my mom - so so much. And guess who else I loved?
In my fourth summer, my life changed "for the better." Mom and I were excited to be moving in with a nice man, Jimmy, and his three kids (whom he had custody of since his divorce.) I'd barely met them before we did move in and for a while I was really, REALLY happy to be there. Jimmy's kids, it seemed, didn't want for anything - not that I knew I did while living with mom. Our poverty was modest, natural, and I was happy with my life the way it was. And then I thought in Jimmy's house we'd be even more happy together, me and mom.
But the way my world was run changed very quickly and not very easily. Suddenly, I was the youngest of four children. I understood I had to share my mom with them and found it hard to. They had to share their dad with me - and he would give me such praise for being so cute and delightful and entertaining (my natural way of being, not at all fake) and his kids began to resent me. My mom and I didn't have one-on-one anything any more. I barely had time to see my grandparents and my aunt Mabel who I really, really loved and wanted to be around. Visits were far, less often. I had to change schools and before long I had to put up with threats of being thrown out if I didn't let my brother or sister get their way - they would tell their dad to throw me and my mom out if I didn't X, Y, Z.
I went from being everybody's love to everybody's nuisance. Despite this, I still tried to matter...it just didn't take. Or it would take, but it would mean having to draw LOTS of attention to myself however I could. I wanted praise and I wanted love.
Cara says that children naturally develop from being Self-oriented to being more aware that the world doesn't revolve around them - a progression that occurs normally for the average kid. She senses that I didn't go through that process quite as smoothly or eloquently as I might have, given an ordinary circumstance of being the same fun kid living with my single mom and getting surrounded by her family.
So, instead of growing up the smooth way, I grew up the abrupt way, and it shunted my ability to feel important and heard. It caused me to believe I wasn't worthy of attention even though I knew better in my head. Even though I knew in my heart I was pretty cool.
My external validation had vanished and I never got around to navigating through doubts by myself. Every once in a while, I'd break that "glass ceiling" of expectation and I'd get the attention I liked, but as I said it would take such feats to accomplish.
I wanted to be Noticed. Liked. Enjoyed. Of course I still want to be.
Could the quick cord cutting have stemmed my development? Could this really be a reason I sabotage my own weight loss? Can I please get noticed some other way?