What’s worse than being lost in one’s life? Being lost and not even knowing it.
I think back across the span of my lifetime — now looking especially at my adulthood — and realize I have ALWAYS been lost. Mostly I look at my own children to see what NOT being lost is like. That’s a miracle to me. How could I as their mother have managed to raise three wonderful children who are not lost in their lives in the slightest (they range in age from 27 to 41)?
The main thing I accomplished during my whole 18 year abusive childhood was to keep on breathing, keep on getting up when I was knocked down (which was often), and to keep putting my one foot in front of the other as I managed to continue to move forward in time.
I never knew I was lost because I had nothing to compare my state of being to. Being lost seems to me to be an extremely personal experience. Never could I compare my insides to anyone else’s insides. And even if I could have I would have had no idea what I was looking FOR or AT.
I haven’t spent time in my adulthood (nor did I in my childhood) longing for what I did not have. My problem is that I never knew I had a right to set my own course from any deep inner place that was connected to WHO I AM.
What did I want?
Mostly I operated automatically and on instinct – flying blind.
While I knew I did not want to raise my children the way I was – as I raised them in the OPPOSITE way to how I was raised — I never knew from the start that I had a choice to have children or not. I never knew that I had a right to intentionally set the course of my life. I never knew it was OK for Linda to want anything for Linda.
I didn’t even know enough to know I didn’t want to be lost.
Most of my life has been a wandering life, not because I wanted to wander – wander around lost – but because I had no other option. I COULD not make any different choices than the ones that I made.
Do I regret those decisions? Not for the most part. What bothers me now is seeing young women, especially unmarried pregnant ones, who I KNOW are as lost as I was at their age, lost as I have always been.
I wish I could ‘help’ them but I cannot think of any way to do so — because I know this kind of lost — the kind that comes from troubled, traumatic and unstable childhoods that creates a kind of fog within which a person cannot see how lost they truly are. In fact, they have no idea they are lost at all because they have nothing to compare it to.
What does NOT being lost look like?
I can see ‘not lost’ in other people now besides in my children – but it is my children I care most about, and the children they bring into the world. That they are doing well is most important to me.
Is the intergenerational transmission of unresolved trauma REALLY about this being so lost and not knowing it? Does all the trauma drama that follows draw its sustenance from the lostness that can swallow a person up sometimes from before they are even born?
If anything else other than survival happened along the way for me in my childhood it was really a surprise. It was not the pattern of my life. What clues did I possibly have about who I was, what I needed, what I wanted, what I had to offer to the world, how to make friends, how to settle down, how to have a life of my own that did not center around being a mother?
Even though I have lived in this same area for the past 12 years, I am still often wandering in my heart and mind. If I had the money in my life I would be able to travel to see the people I love that live a long ways from me. I would be able to travel to the places that I also miss. I would have many more options if I had money – but being poor because I cannot make it out there in the ‘real world’ leaves me – well, lost and mostly alone.
I don’t want other young women who had a very rough start to end up like this!!
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