I was in a play this past week. It ran for 2 nights, and this is my 8th year in it. This was my first time doing a spotlight piece, so this was a new part to the play. A friend who lives 5 hours away, decided to come, and to bring her husband as well. They drove 5 hours each way for a 2 hour production, and had to drive back right after. I was so thrilled they were there... It meant a lot to me. Probably much more than they realize. What was a spontaneous moment and an experience for them meant so much to me, and I had an 'a-ha' moment today as to WHY it meant so, so much.
I don't expect much from anyone. My threshold is super, super low. I learned that growing up in the hoard. If you do not expect anything, you are seldom disappointed. And I do not mean in the negative, Eeyore type of way (Winnie the Pooh reference!). Growing up, very seldom did I have someone present at my events. Especially after I went to live with my paternal grandmother after being rejected by my hoarding mother. The list of things are long... They include:
- Winning the Best of Fair and 1st place at the annual high school, regional and state science fairs. My parents did not come to see me get my trophies nor were present to pose for the pictures in the paper any year. In fact, I was grounded from participating in the state science fair my sophomore year of high school. My crime? I advised my parents I was not seeing well, and was advised it was because I ate like crap. After several weeks, I made an appointment at Lenscrafters (I had a job and a car) and went, and got contacts. Many months passed, and neither parent noticed I had contacts. I dropped one and was looking for it one weekend when I was forced to spend the night at 'home', and the 'secret' was out, and I was 'grounded'. I was advised that an appointment had been made. Whatever... it was nearly 6 MONTHS LATER. No appointment was made.
- Being published in a local magazine for my writing and art in elementary school. No acknowledgement at all.
- In high school one of my art teachers was very impressed with my acrylic and oil paintings, and wanted to have a show of my work. No response from my parents.
- I won several scholarships for college, and because of my scores, I had my choice of anywhere. (Failure was never an option I had... this was my only way out of the hoard as I saw it...) My parents neglected to send in the paperwork needed for the full ride to school, and later, after dad passed, my hoarding mother demanded every cent that was paid out. I wrote her a check for $27,000. This was in the late eighties...
- When I graduated from an esteemed graduate program, no acknowledgement of this from any of my family, or really anyone. No party, it never occurred to me to arrange one. No announcements, again for the same reason. No celebration of it, and I did not walk to accept my degree. I graduated with honors. To this day my hoarding mother's only response is to repeatedly ask if it was 'really worth it'.
- Any professional honor I have had, I have not ever had any recognition of.
- In 2007 when I had a hysterectomy, my hoarding mother did not visit, and this past summer when I had emergency surgery and things looked very, very dire... she did not come.
- I also self isolated and did not allow folks to come help me, and just could not ask at some level...despite lessons learned previously... during my most recent hospitalization and for a few weeks post surgery. I went through some pretty rough hours, days, and weeks... solo. Because it seriously did not occur to me it should be any other way.
- In 2008 when my second marriage crashed horribly with major collateral damage, no visits, etc. My mother has never visited me in the 15 years I have lived in an adjoining state, not once. She only came to my home 2 hours away in the same state the week I was leaving for here, and that was to pick up anything I was not taking with me.