Toddler II

I was delighted to find this gender analyser, which says my blog is written by a feminine person- this post was 84% female. It was 94% negative, but I was stating the problem. You need to see the problem before you can solve it. Though even after the election, writing about fun, I am only 50% positive. That text was aged 31% over 65, 21% 51-65. I am not insulted by this: wisdom comes with age. It was leavened with 12% aged 18-25.

Do I care? Do I look like I care? I thought I was re-doing teenage, but a lot of what I do is toddler lessons. I find what joy, anger, fear, complex mixes of emotions not immediately nameable are like. They bubble up within. If I do not hear and acknowledge them- yes, something is Feeling, somewhere else in the brain is Acknowledging or Accepting- they manifest in delighted wriggling or a clenching of the back muscles, or other movements; highly affecting memories which I may have processed but which are symbols for feeling Now; or deadening, when I suppress them and therefore suffer loss of energy, inability to perceive Now clearly, and nameless disquiet.

You need the wisdom of age to write about these things.

I fear the deadening the most. It is my old tactic, what I learned when I failed at Toddlerhood, setting me up to fail at life. It locks me into prescribed responses and steadily increasing pressure until nothing is bearable any more. Or, it worked for a time, it kept me alive, scrabbling to survive, suicidal and self-hating but sometimes effectual. The first time I could prove a doctor was crooked I got him sacked. The second time I might have proved it I ran away screaming.

Historically, we have taught children at all costs to avoid the visible, physical manifestations. They are even a mental health symptom: in strong emotion, rocking can help some people process it, but rocking, or screaming at the floor, is deprecated. When you tolerate it in yourself you are clearly mentally ill. Suppression achieves that, motionlessness rather than stillness, at worst robotic learned responses to all situations. How am I supposed to respond? We knew “Children should be seen and not heard” was wrongful, because repressive, when I was a child, yet my family practiced a less severe form of it.

I find myself trusting myself, but only in part. I had vegetarian lunches with Quakers and in the evening craved a bacon butty. So, I thought, though factory farming is monstrously cruel, especially of pigs, I cannot be vegetarian because I crave meat. Then I find that if I use a lot of olive oil I do not need meat. I want fat. I want less sugar. Is my desire for chocolate an addictive (bad) or nutritional (good, but unlikely) craving? Or could wanting a mild stimulant be good? I am exploring my world, but slowly and too carefully, having lost trust. That is another thing you can teach a toddler, and it is more difficult to learn for yourself, later: I am trustworthy. I have experiences which might tend to indicate that, but others which do the opposite. Or, I have to trust because not trusting makes things worse. Could I-

My toddler lesson is that feeling the emotion fully, using its strength to respond, is the best, most mature adult skill; but wriggling, cringing or rocking can be an aid towards that. It embarrasses me; it is a hard lesson.

S.O.S.

6 thoughts on “Toddler II

  1. It is interesting how much of ‘mental illness’ is about socially prescribed responses, even now. I doubt that we are capable of seeing anything objectively, because of our social conditioning. In a whole array of socially deprecated behaviour there is nothing harmful, though it is met with the response, ‘It’s all very well, but Imagine if we all did that?!’

    I wonder how the world would be different, if our behaviour wasn’t so obviously sanctioned or rewarded. Happier? More relaxed? Less neurotic? 🙂 xxx

    Liked by 2 people

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