Thursday, March 18, 2010

Writing Workshop: Those We Leave Behind

Prompt # 1: 1. Tell me about someone from you past who you lost touch with and who you often think about

My father died when I was eleven years old and I’ve always felt like, in a lot of ways, it was this huge defining moment in my life. Not just for the obvious reasons, but for the way that I managed to insulate myself away from most people. I went from being very outgoing, taking everyone in and trusting, to much more closed off. I’m a hard girl to get to know. I’ll let a person see glimpses and if I really like you, maybe I’ll give you about 75% of who I am, but it’s so hard for me to be 100% open with people. Over the years I’ve become gifted at keeping people at a distance. I’ve got an uncanny knack for losing touch with people, and for no real reason in most cases.

I still remember right before my father died, my mother took me and my sister, separately, to talk with our neighbor-slash-therapist about how we were feeling about our dad dying. I still very clearly remember saying, “What scares me most is losing everyone else in my life.” And I feel like, to a certain degree, that is what happened. Or at least my perception of it, especially when I was younger. I went from feeling like part of a crazy-but-together family with siblings and cousins and lots of friends hanging about, to thinking that I could only count on myself. That other people left and that was just how it was.

And when I read this prompt, I immediately thought about that. And how, when I was eleven it might not have been in my control to try to maintain those relationships, but as an adult, I can try. I just have to get over that fear, and that pretense I keep that it’s better to only count on yourself.


Anonymous said...

very true hon. Thank you for sharing

@porridgebrain said...

I can't imagine losing a parent at that age. It must have made you want to shut off from everyone.

I'm glad you've found a way to let go and rely on other people again. However much it feels 'safer' to think we can cope with everything on our own, we can't. And the risk in loving people and relying on them is well worth it, in my eyes.

I'm sorry for your loss, even now. Thank you for sharing your story.