A really insightful person on here, Ido Lanuel (blog name: Awakening) has been writing pieces regarding memory, the human thought process and well, life in general.
His writing brought me to a state of thinking about my own troubled childhood and the way I perceive myself.
My childhood was anything but stellar.
In some ways it’s all the usual scenarios, child of a divorced family, alcoholic parent…those types of things.
But in other ways it was the small events that happened during those typical American family moments that changed everything about
the way I see myself, the way I see my art, the way I write my poetry…the way I make my imprint on life.
Isn’t it sad that I say the word typical to describe my alcoholic family?
But it is typical nowadays…who doesn’t know someone that has an alcoholic member in their family, or is the child of
a divorced family?
My mother, who is an angel in disguise, recognized the illness in herself and had me live with my maternal grandparents at the age of nine.
But much of my mind shaping had already taken it’s course.
During those moments with mother I witnessed so much turmoil, so much anger, so much sadness that I started to take recluse in books.
By the age of 5 I was already reading at a second grade level and at the age of 10 reading at high school level.
Poetry became a source of inspiration and catharsis.
Often in my youth I was angry at the world, angry at myself…and sad.
Sad that my dad had really little input into my upbringing but ironically had so much to do with the shaping of my emotions.
Sad that my mother was an alcoholic/substance abuser, that her ways of making ends meet always left me meeting strange, creepy men and having our house be a place that I could never bring my friends home to.
Sad that my childhood’s happier times were always so fleetingly few and far between.
Yet, later in life how could I be mad at her when she ultimately did do the right thing by placing me with my grandparents?
And, if not for my turbulent upbringing would I still be so into poetry and art?
Would I still have my son, who is such a blessing to me?
Who would I be?
Growing-up I had such mixed emotions over my value, I struggled daily with my sense of self, my sense of personal value, and my sense of belonging.
To say that I had a low-self esteem would be beyond an understatement.
I never felt like I belonged anywhere….and I heard my grandparents fighting with my mother quite often over my living with them.
Oh, of course they said they wanted me there to my lovely child face, but I could hear them fighting at night, and naturally that gave their words a whole new meaning to my young heart.
Many a day I would stare out my bedroom window longing to be anywhere but where I was, but I felt like I belonged nowhere at all.
I suffered from moments of feeling like I was outside myself looking down at the world, as if nothing really existed.
(Later on I would learn that it’s called De realization and Disassociation triggered by anxiety.)
I had feelings of who would want me if my own family didn’t want me?
Who could ever love me?
I went through phases of wearing all black, all white, and there was a point of wearing all yellow.
Black of course was because I felt alone, nonexistent, white because I saw light in everything, yellow because I wanted more happiness and I felt wearing a cheery yellow would help foster that mood.
During my black days I wrote the bleakest of poetry, and I was cutting myself to release the pain.
I am glad to say that I no longer cut myself but I still occasionally write dark poetry.
My grandmother and my mother both are wonderful artists but it wouldn’t be until I got older that I would find that
I had a love of photography and would start to mess with digital art.
My grandparents were fairly young when I was brought into the world and they both had a love of pop music along with classical music, so grew-up listening to everything from Frédéric Chopin and Bach to Men at Work to Dr.Hook, Metallica, and Depeche Mode.
You can well imagine that my listening to music was also a form of escapism, and naturally you’d be right.
I could zone out for hours listening to music in my room.
The love of the arts is what would become my catalyst for starting the Facebook group, Artists United.
Artists United is a group (or rather a set of Facebook groups) that are there to give them a place to
receive feedback about their works in a friendly, non-judgmental environment and also to help promote their works.
After reading and reflecting on Ido Lanuel’s blog post, now I’m not so sure if I had a miserable childhood or maybe one that was actually beneficial.
I say this after much introspect.
Maybe it wasn’t all Rosie meadows, maybe the bleak moments were really bleak in comparison to other kids’, but if I put a happier spin and think of how good things came about from it, maybe those memories can become better tools for my artful mind and also in the process not be such a sad place to visit?