Punctuate Life

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Her Five Year Old Self

Once there was a little girl who was perfect in every way. Beautiful, smart, loving and kind. Her parents loved her until their next child arrived and then the next and the next. Before she knew it she had to grow up and take care of herself all at the age of five. And when it got a little crowded at home guess who got shipped off to boarding school?

She tried so hard to please them. Got straight As and excelled at everything she did. But it was never enough. Rejection was just around the corner. Emotional abandonment was an eerie shadow that she couldn’t shake off. When she wanted to follow her dreams and go to college, there was no money. The perfect academic record and everything she worked for so far was simply thrown to the dust. Did she have to pay her way through college? Wasn’t that something parents ought to do?

She watched her dreams get shattered while her siblings were doted on. Even little K who dropped out of school and sabotaged every job they tried to wheedle him into. She was nothing but a financial burden, dispensable as the maid who asks for too much. An expenditure and never an asset. All the nice things they said about her was just lip service. Deep down they just loathed her and were jealous that she made it against all odds unlike the rest of them who never could rise above their pettiness and super inflated egos.

She was the sickly one who almost died several times. Gangly, shy and introverted, she had few friends. Yet one man peered into her eyes and saw the beauty of her soul. He married her and they left the town she grew up in to begin their new life together, away from the daily drama (or so she thought). Her parents found a way to stir up fights between the newly weds. But she vowed never to be like them – a loveless, bickering couple only kept together because of their devious minds. She swore to rise above it and win the love of her husband.

They faked concern to gain her confidence. She dreaded their every visit. Old hurts would surface, age old dramas would be played out endlessly. They somehow knew how to play the victims or the underdogs. Several times she rushed in to save them from their own spiraling plots. But she failed. They were in too deep. She finally retreated to her corner of the world and tried to shut them out. But that proved futile. Their life was part of the tapestry of her life. Pulling those threads out would leave a gaping hole in her life. Leaving those ugly designs ruined the rest of the beautifully crafted tapestry. Guilt consumed her – How could she even contemplate cutting them off?

And yet they yielded such control over her. In front of them she was a little five year old – shipped off to boarding school while everyone else got to stay. Who sobbed herself to sleep every night. Who never felt she was good enough and was often ashamed of her existence. She finally stumbled on the solution. She didn’t have to cut out the designs. She just had to stitch another design over it. If her parents couldn’t nurture her inner 5 year old, she would!

I love you, you are perfect and I am so proud of you. I will never leave you. abandon you or reject you and it’s not your fault. You are free to pursue your hearts desires without fear. You are free to be yourself, instead of what others think you ought to be. She said these words over and over until she felt like a huge burden was lifted off her chest. She sighed long and hard in relief. Something changed and she couldn’t put her finger on it. It escaped her time and again. But slowly the drama surrounding their visits ended. She saw it for what it was and refused to get sucked into it. She realized that maybe her parents never got the nurturing they deserved. So she stepped up and started being the elder instead of the five year old. Instead of constantly seeking their approval and attention (unconsciously) she offered her sage advice and help whenever she could. But the poor fools were beyond redemption. They found new ways to exclude her and punish her. She hugged her inner child tightly every time it happened and whispered – “I love you” softly to her.

Slowly she saw the ugly designs fade and when she was ready she stitched the words – Honor Thy Parents on it. If ever she sprouted wings and could fly heavenward she would lift them off the ground and take them with her. In her heart she said – Forgive them for they know not what they are doing.