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#443209 - 08/04/13 08:46 AM filling in blanks
traveler Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/07/06
Posts: 3513
Loc: somewhere in Africa
i am at my brother's house, going through things that he saved when our mom moved into a nursing home.

Looking at the old family photos has been a strange experience. There are pictures of my original family up until I was three year old – and then there are pictures of the broken family – after my father died , until I was 5 ½ – and then pictures of the second family – after my mother re-married, life with the step-dad (perp # 1), and eventually two half-brothers.

Most of the photos were from the second family period. From all appearances, we seemed to be a nice, normal, happy, middle-class, suburban family. It is hard for me to resist getting taken in by the outward semblance of the perfect family. Appearances can be deceiving. And the photos show only appearances – most of them posed and staged. I know what happened when the lens cap was on the camera.

But I also discovered some surprises. I think I was able to be happy, content and genuinely enjoy parts of my life. Maybe I should thank the dissociation for that. I could tell from the pictures that I was not always faking it – trying to look happy. I remembered times of true joy and good memories interspersed among the darker times. I apparently had the ability to lock the bad stuff in a box and not let it pollute the rest of life. Somewhere along the way, I lost that talent and the darkness leaked out, leached into my outlook, and everything turned dark.

The most precious treasure that I found were photos of my mother and father before they were married and after – and some with me once I was born. I don’t think I had ever seen a picture of all three of us together. And I had seen only a very few of the two of them – or of my father alone. Before this, I had only a single wedding picture of the two of them facing the camera and a graduation head-shot portrait one of my father. Nothing that depicted real life at all. Now I have quite a few – and they show some good stuff. Daddy holding me by the hand and helping me walk, carrying me on his shoulders, pulling me in a wagon, sitting side-by-side, arm around me protectively, me between the two of them, and sitting on Mommy’s lap. Some of us playing with favorite toys...

I don’t know why I never saw these photos before. While a child, I craved information and any kind of connection with my father. Maybe mother still hurt too much to look at them. Maybe she didn’t realize how much I needed it. Maybe she was afraid of repercussions from the step-dad. Regardless of the reasons, I now have pictures that I have never seen before and I cherish them.

Another amazing experience was to glean pictures of myself at different ages and put them together into a timeline, year by year. Many are school mugshots – consistent, posed, spaced at one-year intervals. It has been many years since I have seen some of these photos. Partly because I didn’t have access to them. I had intentionally not taken pictures of myself from the family house. And partly because I chose to avoid looking at them. Even when visiting the family house, I did not want to see them. Now I look at that small face and form with almost a double vision – he is both a stranger to me – and he is my secret self. As a stranger, I can finally, objectively, recognize and admit that he was a cute kid – not at all the misshapen misfit that he felt like at the time. Even during his most awkward adolescent period – he wasn’t as gawky, ill-proportioned, and hideous as I remembered. I was actually not as tall or as heavy or as ugly – but slender, bright, and pleasant looking. It was with a feeling of wonder that I acknowledged that – and then I plunged into tearful grief for the suffering that he had endured. For the first time I had compassion rather than contempt for him. We “met” and made peace and became friends by finding solidarity and unity of memories, thoughts, and emotions. I felt like I wanted to embrace him as a younger brother or protégé – and in doing so found that he had been absorbed into me!

There is more to say, but I will leave it there for now.
lee
_________________________
As my life goes on I believe somehow something's changed
Something deep inside...
I've been searchin so long to find an answer
Now I know my life has meaning
Now I see myself as I am, feeling very free...
When my tears have come to an end I will understand
What I left behind: a part of me. Chicago


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#443220 - 08/04/13 11:25 AM Re: filling in blanks [Re: traveler]
SamV Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 12/13/09
Posts: 5947
Loc: Talladega, Alabama, USA
Originally Posted By: traveler
As a stranger, I can finally, objectively, recognize and admit that he was a cute kid – not at all the misshapen misfit that he felt like at the time. Even during his most awkward adolescent period – he wasn’t as gawky, ill-proportioned, and hideous as I remembered. I was actually not as tall or as heavy or as ugly – but slender, bright, and pleasant looking. It was with a feeling of wonder that I acknowledged that – and then I plunged into tearful grief for the suffering that he had endured. For the first time I had compassion


Doesn't that feel so good!?!!

Well done for you, and thank you for sharing Lee, and little Lee with us. I am overwhelmed with joy.

Sam
_________________________
MaleSurvivor Moderator Emeritus 2012 - 2014

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#443229 - 08/04/13 01:53 PM Re: filling in blanks [Re: traveler]
Tyler845 Offline


Registered: 11/04/10
Posts: 276
Loc: U.S.A.
I wish I could acknowledge , your heart, from the biggest stage on Earth.

LEE


Jim


Edited by Tyler845 (08/04/13 01:53 PM)
_________________________
Most Often, The Child Inside Has Better Access To Execute The Flawless Potential Of Self.

Over-Ride Emotional Conflict With Rational Truths

You Are Freer Than You Think - Paul Berteaux

Come unto Me, all ye that Labor, and are Heavy-ladened. I will give you Rest -Jesus Christ

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#443233 - 08/04/13 02:33 PM Re: filling in blanks [Re: traveler]
toddop Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 10/14/11
Posts: 226
Loc: California
Lee,

Thank you for sharing your experiences on your visit back home. This post means a lot to me. It really resonates with me because of my recent visit with my mother.

Thanks as well for your touching recount of looking at your pictures. I have done very similar things with photos from my past, lining them up, trying to make peace with them. I am glad to hear how you have found a place of love and acceptance for the boy that you were. That is very inspiring to me.

I hope the rest of your visit goes well. I am sending you good thoughts and prayers that you find what you are looking for.

_________________________
Todd

"Great spirits have often encountered violent opposition from weak minds."
-Albert Einstein

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#443235 - 08/04/13 02:49 PM ! [Re: traveler]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 2217
!


Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (02/28/14 09:15 PM)

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