So I got through things. I wrote my lesson plans for last week, which weren’t done because I had been too busy trying to calm down all week to actually write things done. I drew a lot of lines in my grade book and made it look like I had been doing something or at least planned to do something, which actually the Department Head never asked to look at. He is supposed to give feedback on my assessments, but he really didn’t look at anything. I have no idea what he might write. He came to my 2nd period class while they were meditating, made everyone paranoid about having neat and tidy stacks of things in front of themselves so that they couldn’t concentrate, flipped through a few of their notebooks and went away again. But anyway I did what I thought I needed to do in order to prepare and had one less thing I might worry about later. Then VP Ma’am gave me a soft copy of her appraisal form and I duly plagiarized because this is Country X and who cares if it is your own work or not. Things got done.
I thought about some stuff in the course of the day that may or not turn out to be relevant later. In assembly, some boys were talking and I thought about making them stop. They weren’t paying any attention. The Look accomplished exactly nothing. Then I thought, “They aren’t mine. I don’t really care that much.” Last year, that would have been C’s area to supervise, and I would have cared. She worked really hard to control her section, and the boys did not always listen to her and none of the other captains really bothered at all to control their sections. So I always supported her, because she was the only one doing her job to the absolute best of her ability, and it was really frustrating for her sometimes.
And maybe that’s important. If someone isn’t yours, you care but not that but not that much. There are degrees of caring. Not everyone gets the same dosage. Or maybe I was just shut down today with the stress of doing the appraisal work.
After school, I had this profound sense of loneliness and isolation, that seemed to be connected to that thought of their being degrees. I just felt cut off from life and from everyone, not entirely, to a large extent, and I felt very sad and alone. I also felt somewhat hopeless. I seem to have chosen this fairly ascetic life for myself. There aren’t a lot of close connections or even the possibility of close connections perhaps. Is it really worth doing? Am I worth doing these things for?
You can see where that might go. I had a sense of just kind of walking through mud in life.
At home, at last, I started to think maybe I don’t have close connections to many people, but I might be on the path toward a life with a deep sense of connection to myself and to a sense of purpose. I don’t know where that will lead, if it’s an important thought, or just me feeling ashamed and despairing today in the wake of a lot of stress.
For some reason, I began to think of the cycle of how I feel related to a sense of vulnerability to the way babies feel when their mommies don’t come. I mean, if mommy is there, they might feel joy—just happy in their whole bodies to interact with mommy. Then maybe mommy isn’t there. They want mommy and mommy isn’t there and mommy doesn’t come. Then you get sadness and anger. If you think about what happens when mommy doesn’t come, an angry cry comes next. It is wanting first, then frantic, then angry. If mommy still doesn’t come, you get despair. The baby stops crying. Now, in the normal course of life, mommies don’t always come. Dr. Spock recommended against coming, I believe. That’s how sleep training arose. But somehow, something about my not being tended to as a baby was traumatic. Maybe it happened more often, or maybe mommy was there and hit me instead of rocking me, or maybe I generally did not get rocked or held or comforted enough to learn how to cope with all of those feelings. I don’t know. Nonetheless, it made me think the cycle in my head is baby trauma. It’s exactly the cycle of an infant being neglected. Now, the shame maybe isn’t. The shame is maybe an extra layer, but the shame seems to be me in my own head trying to shut down the desire to reach out, and maybe it happened later, or maybe it happened because my mom abused me and made me feel I had no right to ask for her to attend to me in some way—like hitting or yelling. I don’t know.
It made me think my feelings I have when I think of C are mainly not feelings for C. They are trauma. They are no more about her than the terror I have when I hear power tools reflects my feelings about sawing boards. They affect my thinking—emotions do—and so it seems that they are about C, but they are not. I would have those same feelings about anyone I felt close to, whether they were a kind or a cruel person, whether they cared authentically for me or were putting on a show. I do have real feelings for C, but they are frequently buried under intense trauma feelings.
And that’s all it is. As difficult as the feelings are, they are trauma. They are baby trauma. They are not me, or my deep and authentic self, or anything more complicated than that. Healing from them might turn out to be complicated, but the basic background of it is not. Someone neglected and abused me instead of nurturing me when I was a baby, and I am reliving that emotionally every time I reach for someone and want to feel close or connected. I feel it more strongly with close relationships. Maybe just close relationships.
It seems somehow worth dealing with. Address the baby trauma and I might know how I really feel about people. I might be able to get more joy from my connections. A lot of things could happen. I suppose it could seem hopeless—I still am affected by the saw and by the truck idling outside. It doesn’t though. I don’t feel it is hopeless. I feel like this can be done. It’s worth doing. I’ll have to figure it out.