Mum

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It’s Me! she said

Like that store in Oak Bluffs

A clever name ensuring identification would equate with profit

It’s Me! she said

Of the shirt brother wanted

Of the success sister achieved

Of my crooked nose

If it was not an extension of herself it didn’t exist

There are many things I can almost talk about now

This isn’t one of them

 

15 thoughts on “Mum

  1. I read it again and it’s still excellent! πŸ™‚

    I wonder also – and this goes with something you brought up on a recent blog comment interchange, where you said where would we be without adversity? I wonder how much this is also true for compassion – can we feel empathy if we’ve never been hurt? Which to some extent is academic because everyone gets hurt in some way, it’s unavoidable… but some more than others. I can empathise with stuff I understand from experience, or at least that’s been described to me and therefore is a vicarious experience. I can extend empathy into things I can imagine, like imagining a unicorn – a composite, “This would feel a bit like that!”

    That’s basically me wondering how much compassion and empathy are in a way extensions of ourselves too.

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    • I’ve wrestled with this more than a little. How is that we grow an ability to love? Chickens and eggs…We’re biologically wired for connection but if something’s disrupts the connection or we get a bad signal we might put up road blocks, hardened hearts and all that. In church we often talk about ‘softening our hearts’. Love requires a delicate balance of safety, trust, humility and vulnerability. If we have no fear that giving love to someone or something else we get to discover that offering love makes it grow.

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  2. Haha indeed! πŸ™‚ I think that question we are discussing is why my English teacher at senior high school, who had a psychology background, thought there was no such thing as altruism. Basically, he thought when we empathise we’re only feeling for ourselves in proxy. But, I think that depends how you look at it. A Buddhist might say that this is neither here nor there as everyone is interconnected. And a utilitarian might say who cares as long as the necessary actions result. Jesus of course said what’s in your heart matters – and I think it matters primarily for you, whether you’re phony or serious for example (i.e.you can do a good dead mechanically and still be an asshole), more so than for the recipient of a deed, at least in practical terms… but of course, not in emotional terms. Hmmm, complicated! πŸ˜‰

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    • You might want to take a peek at my most recent post called The Power of Love. It sort of answers some of the question. I feel sad for your English teacher. Aww. Call me a mush but I believe in altruism…I think puppies and babies are proof of our ability to love with no motive πŸ™‚

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      • Ah, but as a biologist I must point out that human females are biologically programmed to respond to the big forehead/big eyes “cute” stereotype so that they won’t put their infants in the trash, which would be bad for the perpetuation of our species! πŸ™‚ Just like guys are generally biologically programmed to think with their penises when confronted with naked women, same reason. πŸ˜‰ Both can be mistaken for love.

        (The feline is now among the doves…)

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  3. And following on from that is the idea that you become your own karma, which I really suspect is very true from what I have seen, but of course, the n for my observations is not infinite! πŸ˜‰

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    • One thing I’ve noticed is for some of us who’ve been hurt it’s very difficult to give anything without being motivated by a need for getting something in return as part of filling whatever void is there. In a sense our heart, our motive is our karma. Fully healing and restoring ourselves is what makes altruism possible, it’s easy to ‘love’ a (cute, haha) puppy but to fully engage in reciprocity or selfless giving we must be whole or faithful to some degree.

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  4. Hullo, I’ve only just caught up with this. That’s a very sage observation. It’s also I think often invisible to a hurt person at the start; awareness of that grows with observation. One problem is that if you’re from that situation you’re tending to give too much of yourself to others to sort of try to right the world, you know: “Be the change you want to see.” And not look after yourself enough either. So you end up giving more than is coming in and depleted anyway. And then on top of that there’s what you’re suggesting – that unconsciously there is a void behind that giving, which makes us care too much about how someone responds back. That’s a really good thing to be aware of, thanks for foregrounding it.

    (So by definition, I’ve made progress but haven’t arrived at “complete” yet! πŸ˜‰ I asked a friend in her 80s about this and she laughed and said she’s not 100% complete yet either. :-))

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    • It’s all invisible when we feel scared and unloved.
      Many avoid ever approaching codependent recovery because we hold onto our anger at ‘them’ for not loving us (after all we did) and fear that if we forgive them (for not loving us-wait, what?! Yep.) we’ll never be loved. That irrational, fear-full thinking held me back for years. I was so angry that ‘they’ broke it but I had to fix it. It just made no sense. The truth is in recovery we learn exactly how it makes sense; we also learn all new skills, including how to love and care for ourselves through the process. We come to realize and accept the limitations on what others have to give, shift our expectations, learn how to have difficult conversations, set boundaries, cut unhealthy ties or do whatever it is we’re afraid of doing by letting them go or loving them as they are. On the other side of our deepest fears is love. Everything else is just a hollow, exhausting game. The wholeness waiting for us in healing work is something I wish for all people.
      I love the sentiments of your friend, so true! We’re never perfect in this life but there are plenty of gaps we can fill. Lots of wiggle room between totally wrecked and a little dinged up haha.

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