As an adult we can have patterns of behaviours, and/or self-limiting beliefs. Often we have trouble identifying them, but more importantly where they stemmed from. What happened in our lives to create this pattern that no longer serves?
Over the last few years I have had a snippet of a memory, very vague, and never the entire story. The one thing I could always remember was the song. I only knew this song made me feel very sad and alone. Recently as I was heading to bed the same snippet came back to me. I turned the light back on and decided not to ignore what my subconscious was wanting to share with me, I opened up to the experience and sat and sang the song over and over.
As a little background, my parents divorced when I was 7 (some 40 plus years ago). First family on the block, first family at school to have this disease befall them. I lived with my mother in a different State for 2 years. At the age of 9 my 2 sisters and I moved back to Melbourne to live with my Dad and Grandfather. It was initially a 2 week holiday, we all realised fairly quickly that it was a permanent transition. That included my Dad and Grandfather.
At the time Dad was living in a caravan on land at my Grandfather’s suburban house. My Grandfather had a nice life, he had retired and was enjoying regular trips around Australia with his sister in law and her stepfather. They had moved in with my Grandfather several years earlier.
Once we realised it was a permanent move my Great Aunt and Berty McGee moved into their own place. Dad started working multiple jobs to support his three girls. My Grandfather stepped up and in my Dad’s absence became Mum, and at times Dad.
In grade 6 I was successful in securing the lead in the school play. It was not possible for me to accept the role as we didn’t have the resources required. I took a smaller part in the chorus. We had no money to have my costume made so I painstakingly made my little pink skirt with hand sewing, glue and staples, I was so very proud of my achievement. And I practised hard every day the dance steps and the words to the song we were to sing.
The big night of the show arrived. Dad was working and my Grandfather didn’t drive. I did somehow get there and back on the night, from memory it was a neighbour.
I remember standing on the stage in my stapled and glued skirt seeing all of those faces looking at me with what I felt was pity, turning away and whispering – there was no one sitting there that loved me, there was no smiling face looking my way. My pride very quickly turned to shame. Who was I to be standing on this stage? Who was I to think that I was good enough to be present at this event? No one who loved me to take me there, no one to support me, no smiling face looking at me with encouragement. Please remember these are the thoughts of a little girl.
After the show I recall going backstage and watching as all the other children had family hug them and tell them how wonderful they were, how great their performance. Giving flowers and little gifts. I stood quietly in the corner and watched, wishing the ground would open up and swallow me. Feeling so very alone, unwanted and unloved in my little pink skirt.
I have always had the same determination as that little girl in grade 6, resilience and strength to get to where I wanted in any area of my life. But there would always be something lacking, something holding me back once I got there, and I would move on to the next adventure, the next phase, and the next chapter.
After allowing my memories to come back. I was able to discover my-self sabotage pattern. Every time I got to my end goal, that little girl resurfaced in her glued and stapled skirt, feeling very alone, unwanted and unloved. And so I would move on to the next thing always searching for the feeling that was missing so many years ago.
As an adult I know that my Dad and Grandfather loved me and that I was wanted. As an adult I understand that those faces may not have even noticed me, or alternatively they may have been thinking what a brave little girl to come by herself, who know what others are truly thinking. But as a little girl standing alone in that auditorium, having people look at me with what I perceived was pity, whispering and then looking at me some more. I had no idea how special I was. I had no idea that I was loved and wanted. All I felt were eyes on me and so much shame.
Whilst this may seem like a sad story, I also know that this is where my determination, strength and resilience come from, and they are good things to have learnt and developed.
Being aware of this pattern, this limiting belief has allowed me to change and to grow. I can now take that little pink skirt off and tell my younger self you were amazing, you had so much courage and strength to stand on a stage by yourself. If you can do this little one, you can do absolutely anything with your life. Go forth and conquer the world, it is yours for the taking you are very much loved and wanted.
THE TURTLE DRUM
Hurrah the fisherman at sea
Hurrah the dancing waves
And soon we’ll go adventuring for we are young and brave
Let cherries go on blossoming and lovers never part
And never winter’s icicles wrapped around the heart
O dance along the silver sand and beat the turtle drum
That truth may last for ever and sorrow never come….