Thursday, October 12, 2006

Welcome to "Bearing Your Soul Week" at Melz World

(Hey, if Amalah and Dooce can do it, so can I.)

I promise, I'll get this line of thought over with pretty quickly. I just thought that someone out there might have some insights to help me. I can't afford therapy, and I have no insurance, so medication is out, so I have to work though these issues on my own.


Does anyone else deal with this? I feel like I'm a 13-year-old wallflower at the school Christmas dance. But I'm not 13, and it's not Christmas, and I don't dance anyway.

A month or so ago, I told my mom about a recurring dream I'd had since I was in college. In the dream, I'm running from something. No matter how or where I run, I can't get away.

It's terrifying.

She told me she thought that my dream represented fear. Sounded fair enough. So, I researched fear, and researched it in the Bible, and wrote a sermon about conquering fear. It turned out pretty good, if I do say so myself.

Well, I think I've taken the "fear" thing one step further: insecurity.

I heard a child-development expert say once that most adult issues can be traced to a childhood event. For instance, I have a problem with disappointment. When I was six, my dad left us up in Memphis for several months to work a job in Texas. When he was coming back, he called to tell me that he had a surprise for me.

I was excited! I thought it was a new Barbie doll.

It was a ceiling fan. A brown one.

Not that I didn't need a ceiling fan, but I was six. I've had a problem with expectations ever since.

I can't pinpoint a childhood event that began my insecurity, but many, many events have reinforced it.

I do remember that my mom left me to my own devices quite a bit, both before and after she had the other kids. I don't know if that did it or not, but that realization in the middle of the night last night made me feel REALLY guilty about encouraging Anna Marie to play more independently.

The reinforcements were early and often. Observe:

• I was teased mercilessly in school. I was overweight, and my hair always looked bad because we couldn't afford real haircuts, and my clothes were mostly hand-me-downs. I did have a couple of aunts who would buy me nice clothes, but for the most part, we were on our own.

It got to the point that whenever I passed a group of people talking to one another, I assumed they were talking about me.


• When I was in middle school, we went to Texas to visit family. One of my cousins begged my dad and her mom to let me stay after my family was leaving. However, when everyone was gone, she sat me down in the kitchen and told me that we didn't know each other, weren't friends, and that wouldn't change in the few weeks I'd be down there, so don't even try.


• I've done many stupid things in my life, like thinking some girls at a Camp Meeting service were motioning to me to sit with them, and they weren't, and I didn't realize it until I was already seated by this group (of complete strangers). They wanted the girl in front of me.


• I come from a very "demonstrative" family when it comes to affection. My husband does not. When we were dating, he only got up the courage to tell me how he felt during a given "phase" of our relationship when I cornered him. (For instance, "We'll be seniors next year. Where is our relationship headed?) I always had the fear in the back of my mind that he was really in love with my best friend Rachel, but that she had told him that I had a thing for him, and he felt sorry for me, so he asked me out instead.


I could go on, but I won't. In fact, I could talk about Valerie (Random Thoughts), who had a tag post, and tagged someone named Melissa, but I didn't know if it was me, and I didn't want to feel silly (my problem, not yours, Valerie!) so I didn't answer.

And for an insecure person, I have one of the worst jobs possible - I'm a journalist. At a small newspaper. Where we don't get praise or encouragement very often.

I think that the first step to resolving an issue is realizing that it IS an issue. And I did that, in the middle of the night last night, when I woke up at 1:30 a.m. and couldn't get back to sleep. I know that my sister's impeding life change is helping bring this out. What will I do without her opinion about things on a daily basis? I guess I'll have to rediscover my decision-making skills on my own.

By the way, if anyone is still reading, and if you have any insight into how to make children feel "secure" (and assuming it isn't too late for my 5-year-old) I'd really appreciate the input. I'd hate to see her in this same position in 25 years.


Anonymous said...

i did tag you, you silly!
email me...let's talk. Hubbs has the same issues you do, and so i can listen.

Melissa said...

Thanks for the ear Valerie, all the way from Mostly Smoky So. Cal!