Today, an old insecurity was touched unexpectedly through something that happened at work. Now, in spite of my resistance to it, I'm feeling depressed. I'm having one of those days.
My mother was chronically depressed, and I cannot recall my childhood without that fact coloring each memory. More often than not, I came home from school to find her lying on the bed or sitting at the kitchen table, her head in her hands, lost in sadness. Or angry at some real or imagined slight that she had run over and over in her mind through the whole day. By the time we got home, she was furious at everyone and everything, her anger exaggerated because of the time she had spent nurturing it. My bus rides home were shadowed with the fear of the unknown and touched by the hope that as we rounded the final turn and came over the hill, I would see the car was not in the carport, which meant Mom was gone. And that meant it was safe. I could come home in peace and breathe easy until she came back.
That memory makes me feel so sad. How I wish that coming home as a child had been a point of joy in my day instead of one filled with anxiety and insecurity. My adult life has been spent unlearning the notion that I was difficult to love and her sadness was somehow a result of this unfortunate fact.
Today, this was triggered again; the feeling of being unneeded, frequently overlooked and less lovable than the others. My grown up mind knows this isn't true, but every now and then, the vulnerable child that lives under the surface of my competent adult self gets exposed. Something will happen, something small, and I'm on the school bus again facing the unknown.
I came home early today because I just didn't want to be out in the world any more. I meant to do some work, but my mind wouldn't cooperate. Instead, I spent time with my perfumes, lifting multiple bottles to my nose and loving this calm, comforting ritual of familiarity. When life is the most unpredictable, my perfumes remain the same, and I count on them to bring me back to what I know and to who I am. Just like a child coming home from a hard day of school, perfume waits with its welcoming embrace, ready to soothe my mind and my heart like a mother's love.
Image from cafleurebon.com