I sometimes wonder how I have got through life at the hands of such a dysfunctional family.
It was only recently that I admitted to a Psychologist that I believed I did not know how to "feel", ANYTHING!
Not just love, nor hate, frustration, sadness, joy ... no not just one or two emotions or feelings ... ALL OF THEM! Some I do not know the names of because we have never been introduced.
However, after this weekend just gone, I may have to rethink that.
While I did grow up in a family that was less than supporting, caring or nurturing, I was lucky enough to have grown up in a time where the idea of a Community raising a child still existed.
I have a pseudo family, one I have known since I met my sister when we were 4 years old. We were at Preschool, and we became friends. It turned out we lived in the same street, so as we grew up, spending time with each other was not hard to do.
I became a part of her family, just because I never went home! I loved her Parents and her sister and even her Aunties; her cats and dogs, her parrot that "wolf whistled" every time we walked in the back yard, we played with guinea pigs and so many other family pets over the years. We played as a community in the street with all the other kids that never went home; and we shared our childhood.
We climbed on garage roofs to eat mulberries straight off the tree, we caught tadpoles at the local creek (along with a few leaches) and watched them grow into frogs, we drew tennis courts on the road of our dead end street and held Wimbledon style competitions for all to compete in.
We recorded our own radio shows (on cassette recorders) and had imaginary friends who kept us occupied for many hours at a time. We took pet mice to school in our pencil cases, or our imaginary friends. We had gymnastics competitions in the back yard and swam in the pool in summer.
I got in trouble from her Mum and Dad when we did not do what was required of us, or if we pushed the boundaries from time to time. But I also felt part of the family as a result of that discipline, like someone cared enough to set me straight.
We went to Church (as everyone in our community did) even if you were not Religious, just because that was where all the community activities were held. We went to Girls Brigade, Physical Culture, Dancing, Sunday School, Youth Group. We played tennis at the local courts and bought ice cream on the way home at "George's Corner Shop", where we all learnt to play a pinball machine, not to mention Pacman and Space Invaders when they first became "the thing"!
And when I reminisce like this, I wonder how I could possible have been so sad as a child ... but I do know ... it was when I had to go home.
I had to relive that feeling this weekend, my best friend remarried and I was lucky enough to be there to help her celebrate, to revel in her joy and be a part once more of her family. It was wonderful too to be able to spend so much time with our sister, and nieces and nephews and prospective son and daughter in laws, to be proud of all their achievements and to enjoy the adults they have become.
I felt like I had come home ... and then, once again, I had to go home ...
But I now understand, that I do feel, that I do love, that I am loved and that is because I was with people I can trust to respect my feelings, to nurture them and to share them with me to allow myself to be vulnerable and know, I will not be hurt.
Thank you my sisters and my family. I now know who you are.
I have come home xo
Another Happy Ending