Today I made an enlightening observation about my subconscious self! I observed that I have always seen myself as “that child who got a neglectful,miserable,directionless early childhood.” I was a helpless,neglected child, yes! But that sad image of a child trying out her mother’s clothes before a mirror in an empty house after ransacking her mother’s wardrobe in a frenzy of freedo-excitement, the kind Jerry feels when Tom is away; the thrilling excitement to invade every space in the house, never left me when I turned eighteen! Somehow, subconsciously, I have seen myself in every child. That explains why I was drawn to love International Child Law above everything else in my four years of Law, because I believed children needed someone to stand up for them when they are helpless because they have no voice of their own(atleast was my case). My gloomy childhood made me empathize with every suffering, lonely, neglected and abused child in the world. When I read about Adrian Jones in the news and the abuse he was made to endure at the hands of the two people who were meant to love and care for him the most, I cried so hard that I almost cursed human beings out of existence! There is no way I could see a child crying without feeling pain equal to that of being stabbed in the gut! I wanted to open an orphanage. I wanted to help every child live a happy life. I saw myself as the defender of children all over the world! I even wrote a dissertation about street children just because I could not stomach seeing homeless children in the streets of Nairobi.I felt someone needed to act and quickly at that!
In short,in my mind, I was still that child who got little of what she was supposed to have ,which was a loving, caring family, but instead got plenty of what any child in the world was never supposed to be subjected to,neglect, neglect, and more neglect!
The child was my glasses,my perspective and my paradigm. I woud look at and react to everything in school,romantic relationships and friendships as this severely disappointed child who got tired of being let down over and over again by the people who were meant to love and nurture her, that she lost faith in people’s capacity to be compassionate, considerate and kind; the type of kindness that does not conceal personal interest at my expense,manipulation or exploitation.
Because I was so tired of being let down as a child, I became reactive instead of proactive. Whenever I felt put in that spot I was always in as that child: dismissed, disregarded,belittled or ignored, I would react desperately, as if to pay forall those times I was voiceless and could not even squeak in my own favor whenever my needs and interests as a child were dismissed without a careful consideration of my physical, emotional and psychological wellbeing and development!
Whenever I reacted to situations that took me back to that child,I was judged too harshly by some who were strangers to me, but excused by those who walked my journey with me and understood me.
So this eye-opening realization I made which was that I was still that child inside and have been so despite being an adult and moving on in life, is a big deal to me because it helps me make a paradigm shift. I count this realization as one of those major milestones in my life which have the potential to change the course of events affecting my life in the present and future.
To start with I am going to learn to let go of that child or atleast stop making her the lens through which I look at life. I will do this by doing an imaginery initiation ceremony in my mind officially, mentally recognizing myself as an adult. I will recognize my childhood trauma and the fact that I am sad over having a less-than childhood experience but most importantly I will tell myself that I was not the only child of divorce who faced hardship at the guardianship of a bipolar single parent, but that there are millions of children like me everyday and some have way worse situations. I want to emphasize that personal success is as possible for children of divorce as much as it is for children who come from functional families. What are my thoughts about marriage and kids? Well, I believe having gone through what I went through as a child will make me a committed mother and parent and nothing will come first except my children and their wellbeing.