Even the strongest of us can get startled by a memory. A soldier remembers the dry wind of a desert, or a lover remembers a long-lost affair. Former foster children are sometimes haunted by past instability, violence, or abuse. These things work like a violent inertia bringing with it an inner calamity well into adulthood.
Irrational fears are born out of our past. Some of us feel wholly inadequate or not enough, and we project this into our personal life. We are always looking for the slightest problem to confirm our fears that we are not loved. We are used to abandonment so we re-create it and never let anyone in for good.
For me, my irrational fears from my experience in foster care impacts my life and parenting still to this day. I know my fears are irrational, but still they persist. I ride out the fears with some sleepless nights. The morning almost always looks more clear.
Sometimes when mini me asks to stay at a friend’s house, my mind conjures up negative images, unrealistic ideas of how horrible the world is and how many bad things can happen in 24 hours to a young innocent child.
My experiences at her age still reappear to me. It is a tough balance, this precarious balancing of fear/protection/and security.
I remind myself that these fears are a deep-rooted sense of doom that is mainly in my heart and mind. I get past it and allow life to just happen, but it is not easy. Mini me knows me well enough to assure me that she will be fine, that she will let me know if she is afraid of anything.
Words do reassure sometimes. Anyone who knows me well knows of my huge heart and understands from time to time I just crave words.
While I pride myself on having a new life, a new identity from childhood pain, I am reminded often of my frailties. I have learned to ride these waves of fragile moments. They do not happen as frequently as they used to, and I channel my fears into positive things. I focus on mini me, goals, writing, cooking, running, and on keeping that strong sense of safety in my life. I crave security around every corner.
At moments of uncertainty, even just my own image in my mirror startles me. I resemble my biological mother quite a bit. Even though I was taken at her from a young age, my memory of her abuse is raw and impacts my life still, especially in times of emotional fear or loss.
For former foster children, this strange feeling of looking like your enemy, who you knew briefly, is haunting.
Her memory can be triggered by a feeling of impending doom personally or professionally.
These fears seem the highlight of my dreams at times, but not always!
Small success stories can come from the darkest places..even from physical or sexual abuse/homelessness/war/tragedy/pain…and if you re-celebrate those small successes time and again..you can dust off your feet again. The memory of failures can be eradicated with the memory of our successes!
Today, I need a dusting...reassurance..security. I’m going to cloak myself in remembering my moments of great glory..of smiles and laughter..of friends, of all the great treasures I’ve enjoyed…And I am going to spend the morning in the kitchen with mini me..and avoid the mirror until tomorrow.