Yesterday I laid down on the couch and allowed myself to relax. Eventually I fell asleep, when I woke up I was still fairly relaxed so I spent the rest of the day in a fairly calm state of mind with only a couple of deviations into the dreaded, but more familiar anxious state. I skipped church which didn't make me feel better, but reminded myself that I can go tonight at 7:00 PM. Going to church at night is a very different experience than the morning services. I'm a morning person, but I've found it's more difficult for me to interact with people first thing in the morning. My body tends to be very stiff and sore, when I have the girls I'm frustrated that they aren't up and moving, when they aren't around it's too easy to tell myself that I don't have to go even though I always feel better when I do.
I've backed away from almost everything at church that has a scheduled or routine component. I have a lot of problems with church that I need to work through. When I was younger I was a fairly active and imaginative kid who had trouble sitting still. My parents used more law than gospel to keep me and my siblings in order. I've found myself doing that and have made a conscious effort to try and back off when I catch myself repeating the phrases that were used on me long ago. I think a large part of my problem, this is a theme in my life, is the burden of extra responsibility without feeling rewarded afterward. One incident in particular is haunting me today.
On the way to a conference that my parents were attending I felt sick to my stomach. I can't remember if I actually threw up or just felt like I was going to, the latter I think, but I was the oldest child there so my parents told me I had to help watch the other kids. There was probably some adult there, I have no memory of this person, I was probably eight or nine which doesn't necessarily mean an adult was taken away from the conference to help supervise however many kids were in attendance. If I remember right there were about ten of us. Doughnuts for breakfast was usually the highlight of these types of events, but that morning I didn't get one because I was sick.
We were in a dark dingy basement. I was far from home when I was sick, and it didn't seem to matter to my parents that I wasn't feeling well. I have a lot of fear and anxiety surrounding being away from home probably because of things like this and of course when I was a kid we didn't know I had food allergies and intolerances although that might not have made a difference anyways. Looking back it was probably a bad day and I should chalk it up to that. But I think that day and others like it highlight a pattern that seemed to exist when I was younger. I was conscripted for a task that I didn't want to be doing, not given very many resources or support, and not rewarded for whatever work I did do over the course of however long that day was.
Another problem this created, or amplified, was the power struggles I had with my parents and siblings. It was okay for me to watch my brother, sisters, and other kids for an entire day, but if I wanted to go hang out with a friend for a couple of hours that wasn't permitted. That got worse as I got older. I would ask if I could see a friend and my parents would say no for no reason other than they didn't want me away from home. I could spend every school day with these kids, but wasn't going to be allowed to spend time after school or on weekends with them. Sometimes I did things on my own like ride my bike out to see the guy I was going out with, but my dad kept a watchful eye on us when he was home and my mom was working.
I'm more calm about this today for some reason. All I really want is some acknowledgement that an injustice was done and an apology for some of the treatment I received, but that's unlikely to happen. I'm sure my kids have tales of their own about mom and dad treating them in such and such a manner. For many years I parented as I was parented, and even after I learned better techniques I'm sorry to report that I wasn't the perfect parent either. The basic takeaway here is that sometimes people get sick when they're not at home. I think I need to be better about speaking up and telling people what I need. I'd like to believe that if this happened today I would tell people that I'm sick and let them know what I need.
I could have gone upstairs and told my mom and dad that I was sick, maybe I did that, I have a vague memory of being told to go back downstairs, but it isn't a clear and concrete memory, and it may have happened at a different time if it happened at all. Another lesson I can learn is to acknowledge the times when my children are given additional responsibility and ask them if they feel adequately rewarded for their efforts. What really rankles is the idea that my parents didn't feel like I was a responsible kid. I remember feeling like they thought that I was lazy, and I didn't work around the clock or anything like that, but I wasn't a lazy kid either and that bugs me. Again, this is just my perspective, they were busy, they were stressed, and I contributed to that by being willful and defiant on many occasions. Always something to learn from the past I suppose.