To Be Understood – To Understand

One of my goals for the time I have over and above sixty years, is to become less interested in being understood.   It causes a lot of inner anguish and more than enough outer crankiness when I feel misunderstood.  Why is that so important to me?  (I just glanced at the clock and it said 7:52.  I was born on the 7th day of October in 1952.  Random coincidence?  Or cosmic message?  Random.  Probably.)

One day, not too many weeks ago, I found myself practically sobbing for a few minutes.  Something I read hit a nerve and got me to thinking that maybe the reason it means so much to me for things to make sense is because when I was just under two years old, I was left in a hospital in Chicago and my parents didn’t take me with them when they had to go home.  My mom stayed over for some nights but often had to go and tend to her other children and arrange things for them — and my dad had to work.

I was, I believe in retrospect, appalled by this and it just never could make sense to a two-year-old — it was beyond a two-year-old capability for understanding.  I adjusted and recovered (from polio, but that’s another story altogether).

It hit me that day, not too many weeks ago, that it is not so much the memory I carry with me (a rather hazy memory at best), but the emotion that carries on.  Something I read suggested such a connection and I found myself in tears as if it were all happening right now; as if I were experiencing it all over again. The emotion isn’t hazy at all; it lives in some part of my self.  My brain?  Soul?  And it does not fade.  Even though I understand as an adult (and even as an older child I understood) why they left me there and it makes sense after all, that experience is imprinted there – somewhere.  I had been abandoned and I didn’t know why.  The memory fades, but the experience stays intact and makes a mark that is cut in for good. 

What is the point here?    I started out early in dire need of an explanation and I experience that perceived need to this day.  This idea that the emotion lives on, suggests that I could be a little more compassionate toward myself and less demanding that I understand everything and be understood.  Just because it’s part of my story, doesn’t mean I have to continue to require immediate understanding about everything that comes up.  Something about that idea allowed me to relax a bit.

That all sounded better in my head.  I haven’t quite sorted it all out yet.

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