Why do I question my need to give, to share, to not be alone, to contribute to the whole? I wonder if I have a biological mandate to be a productive helper. My abuse-trauma history has caught up with me. While I don’t like to be alone my body needs me to be alone much if not most if not nearly all of the time.
I don’t believe the foundation of American culture is all that healthy, based as it is on the competitive struggle for existence. This culture turns a blind eye to suffering in many significant ways. It allows parents (and others) to harm children. It has not bothered to create an adequate system to guarantee safe passage for all out of their early years of life.
When people tell me that children are better off being left in their abusive homes because entry into the foster care system “is worse” I question the sanity of any culture that has created and sustains such an unsafe and grim reality.
I find no way to wake each day (in my trauma-altered condition) knowing that I can spend my life doing anything that truly makes a difference. My “loneliness” is therefore tied not only into the competitive struggle for existence that never helped me or my siblings when we were in our horrible home of origin, but is also tied into the fact that I don’t know how to find a way to enter this same system now in any productive way that I can tolerate.
I am never satisfied by passing time — or rather by filling time — with pursuits that seem meaningless to me. I seem to lack the requisite “selfish gene” that appears to me (as a virtual outsider to mainstream American culture) to be satisfying to nearly everyone else I encounter.
Being a mother of dependent children for 35 years evidently satisfied my deep, deep desire to contribute to the betterment of others. My children grew up and now live a long ways from me. They are independent and doing fine. But living another life now alone and single does not suit my nature in important ways.
But then the way my body processes information, I would need a very orderly, kind and peaceful environment “out there.” A sharing and caring environment. A noncompetitive place — one I cannot find.
I think perhaps I have ancient genetic memory of tribal shared life. Perhaps those genes were activated by the supreme isolation, abuse and trauma of my childhood. Maybe those genes screamed for help from a social network of caring others. I needed help. There is no possible way to deny that fact.
I needed MY PEOPLE! My people in the larger sense. A people who would have been invested in my well-being and in the well-being of my siblings. We desperately needed to be cared about, cared for, rescued, saved and cherished. We needed to be noticed in our need. We needed a community of caring others.
In our culture we are so often separated and divided, enclosed in individual houses, struggling in a competitive world to survive, not in one built of, by and for cooperation. I often feel homesick for a different world that I am not sure even exists.
I do little things. I am starting little rose plants from my climbers that can be propagated to give to a woman who comes to sell little plants at the farmers’ market faithfully every Saturday. I grew jalapeno peppers last summer and made gourmet pickled relish from them that I donated to the booth that raises money to run the market itself. I can give fresh eggs to a neighbor, bake cupcakes to leave off at the homeless shelter. I can sew things, here at home, alone, to give to whom?
I don’t have the internal resources needed to volunteer or get involved unless I could find the most special situation that met my needs — my disabilities. This saddens me. All I can do is write, it seems. I think of all this as I remain completely stalled in my book writing process. I have always hoped those books could offer something of use to the greater good.
It is cloudy, rainy, very windy. Stormy and gloomy outside. The earth is being prepared for spring. For new growth and life. Nature is by nature productive and giving as is the earth itself. Why do I question my own desire, my need to be a part of that kind of life? It matters to me that my life matters, not in competitive ways but rather in cooperative ones. My challenge is to find ways to make that happen.
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March 4, 2013