The care my adolescent self needed

On April 4, 2013 by pampi

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In preparation for my Divine Masculine art installation, I asked my crew to answer these four Survey Questions Loreto and I came up with.

I answer them myself just below.

1. If you could convey anything to your adolescent self, what would it be?
2. Looking back, what are some people, advice, events you are grateful you had during adolescence and why.
3. Looking back, what did you wish you had in adolescence to help you transition to adulthood and why.
4. What are you learning now that you think some guidance in adolescence would have helped figure out earlier? What do you think would have helped?

1. If you could convey anything to your adolescent self, what would it be?

Not everyone who loves you are right within themselves. If anyone pulls you down, they are troubled in some way, even if momentarily. They can be people who you think should have your back. They may be people you love. But they can still hurt you. Healthy people do not pull people down. They lift you up. Be the one who lifts others up. And when you pull someone down, own up, forgive yourself and build yourself up again so you don’t do it again (or atleast with diminished frequency).

Most people will abuse you when you are down. It is unfortunate, but it is simply because not enough kindness is taught in this world. It is therefore up to you to be as strong as possible outside and build a community of people who you can be vulnerable in front of inside.

Ask. Don’t be shy. It is okay not to know. You are young. You are cute. If you ask, people will want to help you. They know you are young. They know you are learning.

Natural beauty is the best beauty. Let your hair grow out and see how it curls! Mum always said a woman’s skin is her best attribute. Nothing like glowing skin. It needs no decoration.

2. Looking back, what are some people, advice, events you are grateful you had during adolescence and why.

The People
My courageous mother.
Despite our differences, I have always known she has my back and that she loves me fiercely. Even though I couldn’t put into immediate action her fighting words to stand up for myself (doing this now for the first time), I would pause in moments when I was being disrespected and wish I had the courage to do what she would advise me to do. But taking this time in those moments then allowed me to really understand hatred – an absolute lack of faith and love. My mother gave me the kind of advice that made me feel tall when I was being squashed.

My adorable father.
Kind gentle sensitive funny warm. He is my song bird. I feel he is cut out of the same cloth as me. I think I would not know what to do with my ready emotions had I not grown up seeing how sensitive he is- I cry in moments of spiritual transformation and intense love. I am no longer ashamed of it. From him, I also learned the virtues of patience and letting go. Sometimes you just must let go, and if it is meant to be, with enough time, things heal and get brought back into your life when you can accept them again.

My family in Boston.
My adolescence was an extended one because I was so sheltered growing up. My best friend Loreto, who I met as an undergrad, and her mum, Myriam, helped me grow into a happy adult. I am very grateful to Myriam just for being who she is. At a crucial time, when I was really depressed, she offered a version of parenting quite different from the one I was raised under. Her happy, take-charge and optimistic outlook brings a lot of light and possibility into my world. Loreto provided a structure I desperately needed. Her dedication generosity and loyalty fills my cup.

The Events
The Forest
When I was 12 my class took a weekend trip to Glen Helen Forest in Ohio. Up to this point, going to school in this state was very alienating. As I lay on that soft dried rust-colored bed of pine needles I found salvation in the thought that this country has its beauties and that one day I might be welcome into it. I sensed natural beauty was the way to go. All weekend, I hugged the trees, feeling the waters coursing up and down.

My darling Didu.
My grandmother’s rare visits were events. When I was fifteen, my grandmother visited for a second and last time. She drew a picture of a woman in a sari with a bellychain. My eyes grew big seeing the chain. She said isn’t it sexy? That small moment allowed me to battle all sorts of imagery projected onto my body since. I welcomed my womanhood and was excited about exploring my sensual self. That was the sexiest feeling in the whole world.

3. Looking back, what did you wish you had in adolescence to help you transition to adulthood and why.

Hugs.
I wish I was hugged more. As I was a self-identified Touch-me-not, I’d prolly have to be pinned down. But I would have welcomed it after the fact. You know when you just don’t know what you are missing out on? Chloe G gave me my first real hug. And helped me understand and feel how powerful hugging can be.

More community.
One day while I was in college, my mum told me on the phone, “I hope we survive.” I thought she was being dramatic but I see now what she meant. I was so isolated growing up, I didn’t get to test my natural friend-making muscles. Even then I would reach out to people I found interesting and resilient for their stories, so I could have stories different from my ones my parents told me, but I was not encouraged to do so. Family business was always private business. I think a lot of family decisions were made that could have been better informed with a wider net of friends. And we wouldn’t have had to shoulder so much emotional weight.

Also, I wish I did not have to feel so responsible. With community, I probably would not have had to take on so much for my family. Not that they asked. But when I saw a need, I would take it upon myself to fill it. I was a little woman. It was only within the last few years that I learned to play as I did when I was 5. With mad abandon and joy. And to enjoy playing without fear of opportunities drying up. Without fear of abandonment.

Also, with community, I would have probably not been bullied so much. Or had more people to go to for strategies to handle bullying.

It takes a village.

Chores.
I did not have to do chores growing up. Therefore I struggled with personal responsibility as a young adult. It was primarily two men and a whole lotta roommates in my life who actually helped me understand (1) how to do chores (2) how doing chores is not that bad – that it can even be fun. I’m still struggling with the fun aspect, even doing them consistently, but I’m doing them and I feel like a verified adult for this. Bite that frog first thing in the mornin’

4. What are you learning now that you think some guidance in adolescence would have helped figure out earlier? What do you think would have helped?

People who have been abused see kindness as weakness. So be kind to yourself first before being kind to others.

In my growing up, I developed a high tolerance for drama. Today, I often befriend people who need emotional support. Eventually, a co-dependence develops and an abuse of my friendship unfolds. Now I’m realizing while compassion certainly has its place I need to be strong first and not enable others’ bad behavior no matter where they are coming from. Laying down those lines; being consistent in keeping lines clear; calling people out anytime lines are crossed, saves a lot of heartache and builds healthy love.

11 Responses to “The care my adolescent self needed”

  • 1. If you could convey anything to your adolescent self, what would it be? In short, it would be that everything works itself out & I should go with the flow without too much expectations from others, myself & life at large.

    2. Looking back, what are some people, advice, events you are grateful you had during adolescence and why. I’m most grateful to my parents, sister & my sense of self-awareness. Advice: God is everywhere, in everything & everyone – regardless.

    3. Looking back, what did you wish you had in adolescence to help you transition to adulthood and why. Short answer – > family support – both in affection & financial means while much younger.

    4. What are you learning now that you think some guidance in adolescence would have helped figure out earlier? What do you think would have helped? That there is no such thing as “the perfect family”. Every family has there flaws no matter how things appear or seem..

    • Forgive yourself, be kind to yourself, and laugh at yourself. Your imperfections are wonderful, evolve with a patient heart.

      • I recall the summer of 86′ when us neighborhood boys really got into stick ball (broom stick and tennis ball). One day, the little league coach Mr. Seymour was rounding the corner towards our pint-sized field on a twilight stroll with his wife. I happened to be up to bat, and grabbed his attention by shouting, “hey watch this!” They stopped to watch – in came the pitch, and I smacked the ball high above a cottonwood directly ahead, where it disappeared into the heart of the setting sun. I rounded the bases feeling so proud of myself, and noticed as I touched second base on my way to third that that poor little tennis ball didn’t really go that far at all, but in my mind then, and today, it’s still flying into the heavens…

      • I could have used much more love, compassion, and understanding.

      • To be love, present, and aware. More human touch as I grew to understand the world would have helped me touch lives in a more sacred way throughout my adult life.

  • 1. If you could convey anything to your adolescent self, what would it be?
    Go for it. Seek the adventure, know that you will fail… but you will survive stronger and braver.
    2. Looking back, what are some people, advice, events you are grateful you had during adolescence and why.
    I had no advice, other than from my friends – we know how good that was. I did struggle with things I didn’t know I had such as Asperger’s Syndrome and dyslexia. I’m glad I didn’t know I had them. I had no excuse to at least try.
    3. Looking back, what did you wish you had in adolescence to help you transition to adulthood and why.
    Mentors. Older men who embodied the wisdom that comes from living life. I didn’t need and would have rejected intellectual guidance. Old men who made risked, made mistakes and lived could have shortened my learning curve.
    4. What are you learning now that you think some guidance in adolescence would have helped figure out earlier? What do you think would have helped?
    It’s never too early to learn to live. We are often too concern about doing it right, which often means doing for someone else.

  • 1. Don’t smoke. Smoking is stupid.
    2. I was at the beach with some friends and one of them got hit with a jellyfish. A nearby family rushed over with a bag of ice. I tried to thank them but they didn’t speak English. I saw firsthand that kindness was a universal form of communication.
    3. I wish that I had a little stronger faith and a little more courage. I regret being afraid of disappointment. Realizing you missed out on something good because you were afraid is the biggest disappointment ever.
    4. I don’t think I would have been very receptive to guidance in my adolescence – I’m still learning that the best ideas aren’t always mine and to keep an open mind. At my present rate of growth, I should see an improvement in one to two hundred years..

  • As i went through your four survey questions i could not come up with a specific answers as you have come up with certain vital life issues In the silence of my room for last few days i realizedt that by thinking vertically i cannot answer satisfy you so instead i did some lateral thinking and came up with some ideas which you may differ with me To me your questions are very deep rooted and though vertical thinking is immensely important right now i have to think differently to add my view point and tamper the rigidity Through lateral thinking i relate to insight of some ideas that in past i gathered and established through my life experience and my education Love care emotion support from our loved ones during our adolescent years will help us to grow up and help us to build up our personality to a certain extent but that is not enough We all come to this world with certain skill A diamond is hidden inside every one of us and with certain amount of support and advice in our adolescent years from our family the diamond shines as we start the journey of our life Jealousy gossip betrayal over expectation from our parent useless criticism comparison all these negative factors exist in the society all around us we cannot deny these facts can we but to over come all these huddles we have to carry on with our life In course of time i have to be mature enough to decide what works for me and what not Family can guide me till certain extent but they are not always right with their advice Of course the parents have a role to play as you have mentioed about your parents but they are not always rational They think in a conventional way My child will be a phd holder or a management graduate or a software engineer but they cannot be an actress or a singer or even atlhletic May be they are right as they want a secure respectable future for us and these career have too much risk involve Over expectation and over protection from our parents and family at times could destroy a person We have to sacrifice our dream just to please our parents and ultimately land up nowhere One lifetime i feel is not enough to reach our goal and with such a lot of hard work and so limited time in hand if we waste our time pampering our patents and rest of our family then i think we are wasting our time fulfilling our ambition That doesnt mean i am asking you to ran away from your family responsibility I do have certain obligation towards my parents but at the same time i have to take care of myself my life my surroundings and various adjustment i have to cope with In todays highly competitive world to achive something is a huge struggle We have to spread our wings settle in an unfamiliar surrounding different sort people with no help at all itself is a big struggle In such difficult time how can parents or family help me out from such a situation?tHEREIN LIES THE TRICK OF OPENING MY WORLD Embrace the community around learn different culture adopt myself and pick up friends Make a huge network of friends in other word make a random stimulus which will make a big exposure With an open mind and taking it an adventure it will simply open a new world to me There is such a lot to learn such a lot to observe such a lot to experience probably that happened to you when you came out of your sheltered life and walked in your life in Boston May be despite all our struggle and suffering we are not able to achieve our dream and shattered but that is part and parcel of life that always happens but remember when one door is closed another opens and i have to open that door not my family This covers the role played by family in adolescent yrs Now lets talk about events in adolescent yrs what i feel is some incident pleasant or not that happened in past can have some impact for some time but not a lasting one I feel life is too big to get carried away by certain event though i do remember certain events like a picnic or a dancing performance of which i got a standing ovation from the public There are many interesting events that are happening around us but we are so occupied with self promotion that we overlook them So i dont get stuck up to one event Now coming to your 3rd point hug kiss pat these are physical gesture They bring momentary relief and comfort Though a hug or a kiss at the time of distress can help sometime Looking back i do wished at time of certain crisis my mother or daddy come and hug me instead of shouting at me and blaming me for the misfortune Perhaps i am to be blame for this Years bitter experience and lack of sufficient emotion taught me how to be rough and tough .As far as your Didu is concerned I think from your poem which you wrote many months back and what you just mentioned here she means a lot to you otherwise how many didus you will come across who dare to create sexual urge in the mind of her granddaughter through a drawing Hats off to her creativity My pronam to her Not many are lucky to have such person asyour didu Perhaps you might have inherited your skill of sketching. and drawing from her Your view on community in adolescence time is something i totally agree with During that time we should encourage our self to explore the world I just read a book written by a Indian management guru Subrroto Bagchi nameGo and kiss the world when you are 16 Those who grew up in a very sheltered environment must reach as much people as possible some point of time otherwise how will we survive? We must learn to share pick up that which attract or impress us must make an attempt to educate our self through communication and information from others We must broaden our horizon and get as much exposure as possible visit as much places as possible and thus become wise instead of only confined ourself within the domain of our family;Unfortunately many people does not share my view They think we should move around with like minded people Finally i come to your last point Emotion is good but do not let it conquer you I encourage friendship because it is interesting and bring colour in my life i value relationship but i dont let them conquer me I prefer to stand straight with head held high on my shoulder till my end The ideas i expressed here is totally personal I tried to answer your 4 questions from my point of view By the by who is this cute little girl in the photo Is it you How old were you then Anamita

  • 1. If you could convey anything to your adolescent self, what would it be?

    Be the subject of desire, rather than the object. Travel. Relish the moments. Take a year off before university. Slow down time.

    2. Looking back, what are some people, advice, events you are grateful you had during adolescence and why.

    My grandma, my parents, my brother and teachers. They guided me and gave me the foundation I needed to break free after college.

    3. Looking back, what did you wish you had in adolescence to help you transition to adulthood and why.

    I wish I had a stronger sense of myself so that I would have taken my time — not rushed into college, taken some time off to travel and find myself. I also wish I had a stronger sense of myself so that I could take rejection as well as I do now.

    4. What are you learning now that you think some guidance in adolescence would have helped figure out earlier? What do you think would have helped?

    That no one is perfect, no family is perfect, no path is perfect and it’s okay. I think I grew up in an environment where although I was independent, I also was also very dependent and saw myself through other people’s eyes. I think taking some time off and traveling and volunteering would have helped free me from that and gain a stronger sense of who I was, what I wanted and that it was okay to be different.

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