NaNoWriMo (Day 1): Different kinds of love.

1 Nov

My parents are very different people. I guess you could call them polar opposites in a lot of ways. However, they compliment each other, and I also know that without them being very different, I would have had an even harder time dealing with the struggles related to my Cerebral Palsy throughout my childhood. In connection with my parents being very different, they also have very different ways in which they show love. I like to think that I got lucky and am able to show others how I feel through how each of my parents behaved (and still do behave) towards me regarding love.

My mom has always showed affection through tough love. During my childhood years, I couldn’t understand that this was even a form of love. The toughness hurt. It made me cry. Most days, it made me feel like I wasn’t good enough. Especially concerning the exercises that I had to do in order to get stronger and be more independent, my mom was the pusher. The goal was to get me to be more independent, and in my mind, I felt like that is all she could really see. For much of my life, I didn’t want a tough love mom. I wanted a mom who would show me she loved me in the obvious ways. I wanted a mom who would see me in pain and instantly hug me and rock me, continually telling me that it would all be okay. I wanted a mom who would welcome me into her arms, welcome me into the place that I fit and would always belong. I didn’t understand how my mom could push me to complete all the really painful exercises and not even be phased when the tears began to fall. I didn’t understand why she didn’t tell me she loved me more often. For much of my life, I doubted my mom’s love for me. Since we were often butting heads, I couldn’t allow myself to see the ways in which my mom was showing me love. I just knew that I was in pain, and instead of making it stop, she was making it worse. In my mind, that was so far from love. Though my mom was pushing me so that I could be a more independent person and fight through what was bringing me down, I couldn’t see that. All I knew was that what I did end up doing never seemed to be good enough. As soon as I completed one exercise, using all my strength to push through the really painful parts, there was another exercise to do…and another after that…and another after that. It was a never-ending stream of pain and tears, and at the center was my mom, telling me to bend my knee up just one more time.

My dad was the complete opposite. He has always been incredibly sympathetic and has always showed his love for me in ways that I could relate to. For instance, I remember the first few weeks I was home after my first surgery. Throughout those weeks, I was in an incredible amount of pain, which often made it really difficult for me to sleep at night. Therefore, I’d call out for my dad, and even though it would take some time for him to hear me, eventually he’d come to my room. In those moments, there was nothing he could do to ease my pain except give me some pain medication. However, the ability for him to just sit at my bedside and brush my hair with his fingers was enough. Though I was still hurting, it was obvious that all he wanted to do was take away my pain. I could tell from how he looked at me that it was so hard for him to not be able to do anything. However, in those moments, his love for me was obvious. The simple fact that he just came to sit beside my bed through my tears said so much. Even if he never said anything to me, I could feel the love that was held in those moments.

My dad has always been an incredibly empathetic person, and I know that’s where I get my ability to empathize with others and relate to the pain that other people have felt, though I may have not felt that specific kind of pain myself. Though my dad has always been empathetic, that doesn’t take away the fact that for my entire life, I have longed to have someone to understand my pain. I’ve wanted someone to be able to come up to me and say, “I know exactly how you feel.” However, in a situation such as mine, that’s not an easy thing to find. My dad’s love for me has filled many of the gaps that a person who knew my pain normally would. Though he doesn’t know what my pain has felt like it, he (as well as my mom) lived through it with me. They were with me every day, watching as I went through unimaginable pain that they couldn’t take away no matter how much they longed to do just that. Also, since I’ve always been incredibly close with my dad, he’s grown to understand many of the parts of myself that I don’t show to many people. Since we’re so similar, he probably knows me better than anyone else. In so many different ways, we understand each other, and my ability to be incredibly open and honest with my dad has allowed us to have the kind of parent-child relationship that I know many people wish they could have.

In much of my teenage years, during the times that I was going through intense physical therapy but also beginning to become my own person, I began to doubt my parents’ love for me. Though I have no doubt that my parents had told me they loved me countless times before, I feel like my own low self-esteem impacts the way I imagine others feel towards me. Though that may seem sad, I think it’s something that any of us who are different struggle with. In a childhood that is filled with a great deal of emotional and physical pain, where is the love? How can we feel like others love us if they are pushing us to do things that are incredibly physically painful? Isn’t love supposed to be a warm feeling? Isn’t it supposed to be the kind of emotion that has no boundaries or limits and is able to lift us out of the hardest times in our lives? Doesn’t love conquer all? Regarding my ability to doubt that others love me, I have realized that I have always been one of those people who needs reassurance, which I feel like is another trait I get from my dad. Therefore, even though I have friends and family who may tell me they love me on a regular basis, I often wonder when I will allow myself to believe them. I wonder how long it will take to stop doubting how much they care. I wonder…I wonder…I wonder.

Though my parents showed their love to me in very different ways, they’ve always complimented each other. If I had 2 parents who demonstrated tough love or 2 parents who were incredibly soft, caring and empathetic, I wouldn’t have been able to make it through my struggles. Though sometimes it’s still hard that my parents show love in 2 very different ways, it’s helped me define my own definition of love. It’s also helped me understand that since my parents have two very different personalities, the way they show affection is definition, and that’s just the way it is. However, it’s helped me see that there isn’t just one way to show someone who you care about them or love them. Though I am only 20 and I still have a lot to learn regarding love, I know that the love I have received from my parents has shaped me into how I show my love to other people. Though I don’t solely demonstrate tough love or solely demonstrate softness and empathy, I know that having a mix of the two is probably the best way to be.

[Word count: 1380 of 50,000]

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9 Responses to “NaNoWriMo (Day 1): Different kinds of love.”

  1. Katie November 1, 2012 at 1:02 pm #

    This is a great first draft Amelia! So easy to read and you write in a way that readers can empathise and don’t feel like they’re just getting a list of facts about your life. I cannot wait to read more.

    I don’t know whether November is the right time for this but I thought it might be a cool idea to swap blog posts. By that I mean you write a post for my blog and me for yours. Obviously we would make it explicit who was writing. Anyway, the reason I bring it up now is that I think something like this (if not this very post) would be perfect for my blog and hopefully gain you a couple of new readers. If you didn’t want to break up the ‘flow’ of your memoir then perhaps I could write for you after November?

    Let me know either way, you can tell me honestly if you’re not up for it. I already posted a link to your blog on a page I have about NaNoWriMo by the way because I think you’re a great writer and today’s post only confirms that. Well done!

    Love Katie x

    • ameliaclaire92 November 1, 2012 at 1:13 pm #

      Katie, I’d love to swap blog posts with you. I think it would be best after November though since I want to focus fully on NaNowriMo this month. 🙂 Also, I’m glad you liked this. 🙂

  2. lsotera November 1, 2012 at 2:27 pm #

    Good writing. Even people who don’t suffer from Cerebral Palsy can relate to this.

  3. jnine0712 November 1, 2012 at 3:44 pm #

    Awesome rough draft and I have to get cracking. I did start it on the weekend not sure if I would have power today, but we did get power last night. However my in-laws didn’t and have been hosting showers for them all day and now having them over for a hot meal. My writing will most likely when my girls are sleeping tonight!!

    • ameliaclaire92 November 1, 2012 at 4:23 pm #

      Thanks for reading. Good luck with your writing.

  4. photosfromtheloonybin November 1, 2012 at 4:18 pm #

    Amelia, the thing I love most about your writing is how you write straight from your heart. I can literally feel the love, pain, happiness, frustration, etc. in your words. Your writing always makes me reflect back on my own childhood and similar feelings and situations I dealt with. You know, not CP, but struggling with self confidence, conflicts with parents, and other aspects of growing up. This was a great post – keep it up!

    • ameliaclaire92 November 1, 2012 at 4:24 pm #

      Thank you, as always. It’s so awesome to hear that even when I’m writing about my own situations, I’m able to still relate to others through my words.

  5. anewdayrising79 November 2, 2012 at 3:13 am #

    Good stuff. I’m glad I found my way here, looking forward to see where your writing goes.

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