Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Warm Fuzzies

I wonder sometimes if it's just me, my hard-ass Capricorn nature, that has left me void of warm and fuzzy memories of childhood. Honestly, I hear people talk about having felt safe and cozy and cherished while doing the most mundane things and I think, "huh?" I just don't have that. Seriously, feeling loved and SAFE? IN MY HOUSE? Excuse me while I laugh my ass off. Be back in a sec.

Ahhh. That was rich.

The closest things I have to warm fuzzy memories of childhood are few and far between. They are more often associated with pets, or books, or movies than people. If I think hard about it I can isolate people-related moments that might qualify, (and they are literally MOMENTS - we're talkin' a minute or so) but if you have to delve deep down to find them do those moments count? Not to negate those moments, ya takes what ya can gets and all that, but I wonder if people who have these readily available moments of *ahhhh* accessible to them without effort really HAD more than me or if I was too isolated to appreciate them when they were happening. I like to think I'm pretty damned observant (hyper-vigilent actually) and I don't think I entirely suck at seeing what is really happening around me yet I do wonder if I missed what was there when I was a kid.

Truthfully I don't believe I did. I was brought up in a very chilly environment with precious little in the way of interpersonal relationships and affection. It's hard to connect with your family when they are primarily loaded, closed off, in denial and determined above all things to keep secrets. A child in that environment becomes more of a piece of furniture than something to be nurtured.

My maternal grandmother was honestly the only person who was physically affectionate with me and I saw her, maybe, 4-5 times a year - if that. God knows I ate that shit up, and to this day the hint of Jean Nate makes me long for a hug from my grandmother. While I am grateful for that much, it's hardly enough, is it?
That's my Confirmation - my Grandma was my 'sponsor' into the 'life of Christ'.
What a riot.
FYI: that is a floor length dress. We were specifically told to wear nothing longer than knee-length or our robes wouldn't cover it. Tee-hee and F-U, says I.

I DO know that there are kids who had, and have, it much worse than I did. I was never physically abused, never hit (my Father didn't DARE hit me, I carried a knife from the time I was 8, so Mom was the punching bag at our place). But I never felt there was someone taking care of me, never felt safe, never felt wanted. That's not the worst that someone could have happen to them growing up, I know, but it still sucks. It sucks because it leaves you looking normal. Seeming unscathed, when in fact you are unimaginably damaged.

I am very, very lucky to have survived - and I remember this every day. I was emotionally damaged in ways no one saw or understood (even if I EXPLAINED it!), inheriting the delights of a chemical imbalance was just icing on the cake. Today I am so much healthier that it astounds me - literally on a daily basis. But there are times I wish I had something warm and fuzzy to pull around me when I feel a little blue, or lonely. And I really don't. Not from way back, not enough to fill a void that is decades long.

On the other hand, people who have had [relatively] happy upbringings may be at a disadvantage. Or maybe that's just something I tell myself. But if you think about it, someone whose happiest, most carefree days were in childhood can find the 'real' world a tougher place than someone who grew up in a big ol' mess. When your life is harder when you're a kid, things are easier as an adult. Simply because you've been through worse. I know people who live in their past to such a degree that it seems pathological to me. Attempts to relive 'happier days' keeps you stuck in the past. So in that way I'm supremely lucky. In no way would I want to return to my past. It sucked - it can stay in the past thank you very much. I'll take the NOW over the THEN any minute of any day. Yeah, I'm still a little envious of other people's happy memories, but I have my happiness now. It may not be exactly the way I'd like it to be, but it's 100% better than what it used to be. Maybe someday it will be 110% better, but for now I guess my warm fuzzy moments will have to remain in the present.

After all, there's really no going back.


whimsicalnbrainpan said...

(((HUGS))) I get what you are saying.

And I agree, people who had normal childhoods do have a disadvantage. When the shit goes down or goes wrong every "normal" person I have known doesn't know how to deal.

marxsny said...

Jean Nate reminds me of my grandmother as well. She always had this huge bottle of it in her bathroom. I remember buying her the Jean Nate gift set for Christmas one year. A bottle of after bath splash and a container of powder in a yellow box with a green ribbon around it. Those are the things I try to remember from childhood.

Jay said...

It's awesome to be able to look back and say - I survived.

By the way, that picture up top is The Best.

Gary said...

I am with Jay, I love that picture! (and not only because I took it). I must first comment on the power of smell and how it brings us mom's mom always wore Tabu and to this day when I smell it I think of her. My dad's mom (the German) had a scent of her own as well which was a mixture of head cheese and coffee.

Sweet woman too.

Well, I am glad you survived and that you are here to take on the role of my BFF. I love you darling!

LadrĂ³n de Basura (a.k.a. Junk Thief) said...

My granny was an Estee Lauder Youth Dew kinda gal. So with it until the end was she.

Ditto on the banner and confirmation photos!

Joy Keaton said...

Whim - Sad, but true, right?

Mark - Jean Nate must have been the fragrance of choice for that generation! I love it!!

Jay - Awww Jay, somehow I just KNEW you'd be the first to mention that photo! That's why I love ya!

Gary - Good photo my honey. :) I have to confess that Tabu was MY scent of choice all through HS and the first couple of years of college... do I sense my OWN granny-ness? Hmmmm.

JT - Okay... this is freaksome. I worked for Estee Lauder for a good long stretch in the early 90s (one of my favorite jobs actually) and it was there that I 'discovered' Youth Dew. I still have powder and lotion and fragrance - I actually love Youth Dew and wore it a LOT.
Seriously now, what's with me and the granny scents?

and thanks on the pix. :)