As a young child I had asthma. I believe with that came the first real experience of fear for me – fear of not being able to breathe. But medicine was available to help control it for the most part and it was probably my parents who experienced the most angst around it. Then in the third grade fear really took hold. Between second and third grade my family moved to another state. In the school I moved from cursive writing was taught in the third grade. In the new school it was taught in the second grade. So there I was on the first day of school the only child in the class who did not know how to do it. The teacher’s way of handling it left me feeling humiliated and the fear of not being enough – of not being good enough gained a solid hold that guided my life for many years.
For many years I judged that teacher wondering how someone in that position could be so cruel and make a child feel lost and stupid through no fault of her own. Now I realize that the teacher was probably also dealing with fear that arose from not knowing what to do and feeling inadequate. So often when fear arises irritation and anger are what we let loose. When I began to see that teacher from a different perspective – the perspective of the heart – compassion flowed for her and the child that sat in that classroom.
It took years to see that time from a different perspective. My life in school was tense and full of fear around disappointing my parents and myself. I excelled but was a nervous wreck about it most of the time. My love of literature was solace for me and that love of reading helped me weather many rough spots in life while it supported my introversion.
Early on the gift of a love of reading was a strength for my journey. As you will see it was both a positive and negative support for me. Are there things in your life that you see shaped part of your journey? Are they positive or negative or both?