Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Turning Away

From birth, we need interaction to feel alive. We love, we fight, we laugh, we cry. Anger elicits a response and screams “I see you”, and affection does the same. The feeling evoked by a kind word or affectionate touch makes us feel good. In battle, our emotions are heightened and we are fully engaged in the process. But what about the absence of response? How does it feel to reach out to someone and get nothing back? Is anything more damaging than the long road of silence? We see this in Pages in the Wind, as Emily reaches out to her mother to show her artwork, which goes unnoticed:



I waited out of eyes-reach to watch her walk down the hallway to see my picture. The first few times she didn’t notice it, so I continued to wait for her to pass the picture again. An hour or so later, she stopped and looked at the picture. My heart raced, and my spirit soared knowing my life could change. The excitement was overwhelming and I wanted to jump out and shout “I did that!” I stepped out of my hiding place and slowly entered the hallway waiting for mother to praise my drawing. She turned and saw me.


“Emily, do you have your suitcase ready? Dad wants to pack the car; we’re leaving right after lunch.”


I felt my body being pulled downward, like a slow leak from a balloon. Once high and exuberant, releasing the air makes it shrivel to an unrecognizable mass. That is how I felt, like the air was being released from my body and I was being pulled downward. I managed to nod to mother that my suitcase was packed, and headed to the kitchen for one last lunch with Grandma.


When Emily put her artwork up, her hopes were to win the admiration and attention of her mother. The slight was unintentional, but the result was the same. Her mother turning away left her feeling empty and reinforced her feelings of inferiority. One of the most damaging elements of turning away is the silence. Silence walks us down the path to our imagination, which can draw conclusions that are far worse than the intent of the silence. Young Emily continues to draw, but she tucks the artwork in a box and never shares it with her family again. That art will become an important part of this mystery later in the story.


I wonder, do you remember an incident in your life when you felt the sting of silence? How did it make you feel?






10 comments:

  1. Definitely the hardest thing to deal with is being ignored. My mom is very passive aggressive and it drives me nuts. I hope I don't do thta I watch it carefully.
    Fabulous and I mean FABULOUS blog!

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  2. So true, turning away is the hardest thing to withstand from someone that you love. Emily is a great character. I wonder how her art will play into this. Love your story.

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  3. It's so painful when your parents turn away, fabulous post. I wonder what will come of Emily's artwork. What a great mystery.

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  4. I have to say, while I ADORE the story I'm the type that doesn't need the background explanation. What I read was so brilliantly crafted you don't need to supply the breakdown, in my opinion (:
    I DO like how you engage us (the readers) by asking questions and on that note:
    I was punished by being ignored as a child. I was born bipolar so while in a manic state, when I spoke too fast and too often, my parents would get annoyed (not knowing my condition was psychiatric) and they would pretend I wasn't there. It was their coping mechanism I suppose... t
    he way they dealt with my "inappropriate" behavior. To them I was misbehaving, for me it was not even a compulsion it was just "me." Nothing I could do to change it, I loathed myself because even SuperMom and SuperDaddy wouldn't listen or respond to me.
    I know the piercing pain of silence all too well, along with that sinking feeling of utter despair when the anticipation of recognition or validation from a parent fails to occur.
    It's like you're suddenly disappearing... as if you lose all substance but at the same time gravity increases 10 fold and presses the essense of what's left of you down lower and more unbearably than you can quite figure out how to handle.
    Somehow out of training and obligation to manners and respect to the parents you so desperately crave positive reinforcement from, you manage to make the motions of propiety and give the responses or actions necessary to appease them so you can slink off to a quiet place to die over and over again in your head, just as you did when they failed to give you that one shred of hope previously with held.
    Just that one tiny gesture would have meant the world to you but was something that never crossed their mind to do. If they just would have "seen" you, just acknowledged you, anything to prove you still mattered! But no, you remain their "burden" and their silence cements that status in your mind.
    ...whew, wait a minute,
    This isn't my therapist's office!
    What the...
    Geez, I'm so sorry!
    Umm, I'll just be going now, LOVE the intro - I uhh, could uh, relate, somewhat, to a (great) extent, (kinda) (a lot.)
    You're a brilliant writer, I look forward to seeing more!
    -Stacy Clark

    ReplyDelete
  5. (If this posts multiple times I apologize, my computer keeps freezing and I'm having to re-enter, it's not showing up on my end...)

    I have to say, while I ADORE the story I'm the type that doesn't need the background explanation. What I read was so brilliantly crafted you don't need to supply the breakdown, in my opinion (:
    I DO like how you engage us (the readers) by asking questions and on that note:
    I was punished by being ignored as a child. I was born bipolar so while in a manic state, when I spoke too fast and too often, my parents would get annoyed (not knowing my condition was psychiatric) and they would pretend I wasn't there. It was their coping mechanism I suppose... t
    he way they dealt with my "inappropriate" behavior. To them I was misbehaving, for me it was not even a compulsion it was just "me." Nothing I could do to change it, I loathed myself because even SuperMom and SuperDaddy wouldn't listen or respond to me.
    I know the piercing pain of silence all too well, along with that sinking feeling of utter despair when the anticipation of recognition or validation from a parent fails to occur.
    It's like you're suddenly disappearing... as if you lose all substance but at the same time gravity increases 10 fold and presses the essense of what's left of you down lower and more unbearably than you can quite figure out how to handle.
    Somehow out of training and obligation to manners and respect to the parents you so desperately crave positive reinforcement from, you manage to make the motions of propiety and give the responses or actions necessary to appease them so you can slink off to a quiet place to die over and over again in your head, just as you did when they failed to give you that one shred of hope previously with held.
    Just that one tiny gesture would have meant the world to you but was something that never crossed their mind to do. If they just would have "seen" you, just acknowledged you, anything to prove you still mattered! But no, you remain their "burden" and their silence cements that status in your mind.
    ...whew, wait a minute,
    This isn't my therapist's office!
    What the...
    Geez, I'm so sorry!
    Umm, I'll just be going now, LOVE the intro - I uhh, could uh, relate, somewhat, to a (great) extent, (kinda) (a lot.)
    You're a brilliant writer, I look forward to seeing more!
    -Stacy Clark

    ReplyDelete
  6. I cant put your story down, it has me so hooked on the characters. I especially loved Grandmas hands and Emily's poetry. Yuo are a passionate writer and your ability to create characters is second to none. Keep writing and I am honored to have found your blog. Thank you so much.

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  7. It's true, lack of communication can be damaging, especially for someone who has a big imagination. It's not the silence itself that's hurtful, it's how the mind perceives the silence.

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  8. Wow, I saw your profile on Link and you are a talent. I see writers on there, but you are a true artist. Your story captured me from the first word. I would love to know more about you, your background and when this book will be published. Your characters are fascinating and Im completely engrossed by your character Emily.

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  9. Beautiful blog; it is so well written and I think that Emily is a wonderful character with depth and fortitude. I hope that she prevails as the heroine that she is meant to be. Awesome.

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  10. Great post. I've been there.

    For the last 9 months, I have been going to a group called Recovery International. It was started in 1937 with the intent to keep people with mental conditions out of institutions and possibly free them from medications.

    They use "spotting" techniques to identify a problem and change insecure thoughts to secure thoughts.

    In Emily's case, she needs to understand that this is average behavior for her mother. It hurts not to get the a response. But this is an average. You can't change other people.

    Also, another spot is: It's not the event, but how you respond to it. By being pulled down emotionally, Emily did not react as if she was in control of her emotions. She allowed someone else to steal her joy in the sheer fact that she produced the piece.

    Approval is a want, not a need. Sure, we'd all love to have raves at what we produce, but it is not a need. We CAN live without it.

    Recovery International has taught me to really reshape my thinking.

    I am a consumer - Bipolar, ADD/ADHD, Anxiety disorder. I write for therapy. I write a lot.

    http://www.RogerBlazic.com

    ReplyDelete

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