“When the world loves you but nobody knows you, you die of loneliness.” Marilyn Monroe
I’ve been thinking about this statement a great deal as of late. It certainly doesn’t all apply to me. There’s no way that I would suggest that the world loves me. (In fact, the idea makes me laugh and I hear George Costanza saying, “Where do you get the EGO!”) Because although I am of the world, I am barely known to the world. And that is okay with me. It is also of my own making and my own choosing. But I relate to the rest of Marilyn’s statement far often in more ways than I wish to admit. But I know I must.
If I am lonely it is of my own making.
If people don’t know me, that too, has been the result of my own choosing.
I have worked very hard to build relationships. One by one.
And one by one, I have watched them many of them disappear. Whether it was through death or through abandonment or separation of another kind.
What I know to be true is that even after ongoing years of psychoanalysis and intensive work with someone who claimed to be a grief recovery specialist, I have not fully healed from the most tragic of losses I have experienced. And as a result, I have not allowed the fullness of abundant support in my life.
Recently, very recently, I have been experiencing a significant crisis and the feedback I have been hearing by people who do know me and love me (ergo, from afar) has been “you are held.”
But how can I be held if I never allow myself to be held. If I don’t know what it means to embrace the experience of being held?
It all begins with me. And what and how I think. No question about it. So even though I have been working with truly the most exquisite psychoanalyst, (and believe me, I know, because I have the where-with-all to gauge this with incisive clarity and skill), until I am ready to lay the burdens down which I have been carrying and truly change my deepest beliefs I have held, I will not heal.
What I recognize now, is that as a result of very early trauma, I never built a “system of support” around me because I never believed it could exist. And if I didn’t believe it, it wasn’t going to come. “Field of Dreams” right?
Last May, I went to a briss. And as I stood and bore witness to a new child being blessed into the world, I cried through the entire experience (on the inside) because there were two armies of families huddled together watching over him, loving him and ushering him into the world in blessing, in humility, in tenderness and in the deepest expression of support I had seen manifested as LOVE.
I am certain that this is the reason we are on the planet. To love each other. To connect with each other.
I wasn’t offered this modeling from either parent. My father left when I was two and my mother was absent (and went away for a few months) after he left as a result of falling into a very deep depression. Yet, I know the desire to connect and feel longing like nobody’s business.
I learned the love and connection from my grandmother. Bless her. Of course there were complications. She too, suffered from depression and I worried about her and tried to save her from herself many many times. But still, I knew connection as a child innately albeit, caregiving and worry. Which is why I often refer to myself as a Jewish grandmother. Right, Des? But with my grandmother, it was contractual. It came only from love. It took no effort on my part. With my mother, on the other hand, it was loaded because I ended up having to “mother” her when instinctively, that wasn’t something which came naturally from my heart. It was a heavy burden. To mother someone who was never “there” when all I wanted was the space and freedom to be left alone to be a kid. Loaded.
Flash forward to now. Age 43. An orphaned adult. I know my father did the best he could with his circumstances. In terms of my mother, I send compassion to her for all of the ways she deliberately set about hurting me. And I work to forgive her every day. In my brain, I know it’s not between us. I came from her. And in my heart, I love her.
So how do you heal that part of yourself that has been tossed aside from your tribe?
The only answers I have ever been able to come up with and without any outside help are as follows:
Keep forgiving yourself.
Keep trying to open your heart.
Ask for help.
And as my teacher Christina says, “keep going.”
I honor all your hearts.