being three

Something I am learning from this exercise: the prompts often launch me in a completely different direction. I wonder what that’s about.

I am reading a book called “How to Be an Adult in Relationships: The Five Keys to Mindful Loving” by David Richo, and this passage struck me today:

Childhood forces influence present choices, for the past is on a continuum with the present. Early business that is still unfinished does not have to be a sign of immaturity; rather, it can signal continuity. Recurrence of childhood themes in adult relationships gives our life depth in that we are not superficially passing over life events but inhabiting them fully as they evolve. Our past becomes a problem only when it leads to a compulsion to repeat our losses or smuggles unconscious determinants into our decisions. Our work, then, is not to abolish our connection to the past but to take it into account without being at its mercy. The question is how much the past interferes with our chances at healthy relating and living in accord with our deepest needs, values, and wishes.

Where to begin … yeesh. First of all, I can’t write entries like this with Jonathan Coulton playing, no matter how much I like his music. Now that it’s off: in past relationships, I was often told that my past was a problem, something to “get over” — or, rather, something I couldn’t get over, and thus was a deal-breaker — so much so that I attempted to disconnect myself from it, to forget it in order to overcome it. As a result, my memory of my childhood is spotty at best. When I discover an artifact from it, I am often moved to tears not because I reminisce but because I cannot reminisce. Whole years of my younger life are gone now; in an effort to be “normal” I have created twice as much work for myself.

While cleaning my desk today, I found this photograph of my family. I think I am three years old in this photo, but I truly have no recollection of it or of being three, of having two parents in the same place. We all have separate homes now. And today I realized that I am still trying to make sense of that.


[Want to help me bust through my writer’s block this month? Read about this exercise!]

2 thoughts on “being three

  1. steph

    I know what you mean. I have found similar ghosts of a family in my own albums and can’t make sense of mine either. Finally I have decided that they are what they are and this is all part of me, but it still doesn’t make sense. I could go on, but this is your show, not mine. 🙂


  2. Freeman

    I vaguely remember having a little party for my 3rd birthday; the rest of the year is blank. I also don’t remember 4th grade, other than the teacher’s name. Must have been brutally boring.

    However, trying to impose continuity over a full lifespan sounds like its own brand of neurosis. Finally, walking with wisdom requires thinking about more than one’s own “deepest needs, values, and wishes.” Take a really hard look at that book, especially before acting on anything you get from it.


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