It seemed like she didn’t like me. As if the person I was wasn’t enough for her, and she had no interest in being with me.

One time in elementary school my parents were asked to circle from a list characteristics of us (I’ve since forgotten why). The only word I remember my mom circling was “sensitive.” Then, our teacher did the same for us. One of the words circled by my teacher was, “funny.” Years later I found this paper and asked my mom why she hadn’t circled funny and she said she didn’t realize I was. She went on to explain she was mildly shocked when my teacher circled that but then sort of came to realize I had a great sense of humor once she started paying attention.

She didn’t know me well enough to know there even was a sense of humor. We didn’t chat or do things one on one. There wasn’t any effort in building a relationship. Emotional connection rarely took place.

But I needed emotional connection in a big way. I needed physical touch in a big way. I needed words of affirmation in a big way—which was the easiest for me to succeed at receiving via good grades and athletic accomplishments.

I saw my mom on Thursday and it was fine. There is still such a vacancy and emotional disconnect that pierces my heart every single time I see her.

It’s almost as if I need a re-do with every childhood memory that comes up to heal every time I felt discarded. I didn’t realize there was so much there to sift through. I didn’t realize how hurt I’ve felt my whole life. And I didn’t realize how much shame was attached to feeling sad, angry, hurt, lonely, disappointed, unloved, and unworthy over the disconnection with my mom.

I promise little-me and adult me and my own children to be the one to keep showing up so that maybe generational pain ends at me. This is not all my stuff. It’s my moms stuff and her moms stuff and… I want it all to keep spilling out of me so eventually my body is not holding on to trauma anymore.

Which means it’s ok to keep being vulnerable and letting my body do whatever it needs to, even if that means crying so hard I somehow become 5, head buried in my therapist’s shoulder, in a ball practically in her lap. It’s ok- because whatever I let go on Friday by doing that, lifted something big off of me. And all of these connections are creating space for living an authentic, present, faithful, and loving life.

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