I have memories of my early childhood. One was when I wandered into the neighbour’s garden.. I must have been very young because I discovered a plot of different coloured daisies that towered way above me. I was mesmerized and enchanted by such beauty and wonder. In my child’s heart, I had found a magical paradise. A spontaneous impulse arose in that moment. I wanted to share this feeling with my mother. I stood on my tippy-toes and with quite a bit of effort, managed to pick a flower of each colour.
I felt excited as I ran out of the neighbours’ yard back to the front of our house.
In my child’s imagination, I could see the look of happiness that would appear on my mothers face when I presented her with such magical wonder.
My mother was standing in the street looking for me. She saw where I had come from and realised what I had done. What ensued as I remember it, was a smack on the backside and her angry voice telling me that I was bad to go into the neighbours’ yard. More than the words, the wall of angry and fearful energy hit my small body and left me reeling in shock. My reverie was shattered. I remember the neighbour coming out at this point. She must have been watching me from her window as this all played out. She tried to tell my mother that it was ok for me to be in her garden. The damage was already done.
Another time, my mother had given me a jar of one and two-cent coins she had collected. I was awed by such abundance! My first impulse was to share this with others. I ran up and down our street excited and put a few of the coins in all of the neighbours’ letterboxes. In my mind, I experienced such joy as I imagined the surprise and happiness my neighbours would feel when they found their presents. When I returned home with the empty jar and I told my mother what I had done, my mother screamed: “You don’t do that with money!” Again, a wall of violent energy assaulted me. I felt utterly intimidated, terrified and confused. What I did felt so right and good.. how could I be so bad, so wrong?
These experiences (and a stream of others) created a split inside me. A split which I am still trying to reconcile. Tears coming as I write this. Grief coming for the moments where my innocence and joy were robbed. Grief for my mother’s ‘socially acceptable’ conditioning and imprisonment and consequent disconnect from any semblance of maternal wisdom. Grief for the fear and anxiety that still arises in me when I try to reinstate the beautiful purity of my heart, to embody and stand for my innate values … to reclaim my soul. Knowing that there is no other choice moving forward because not to do so would be to perpetuate this ‘shadow’ legacy to the detriment of all.
This child was not seen, not heard, not appreciated then and I am determined she will be now.