When I was a child, I spent a great deal of time alone. My parents were both workaholics, and to compound my issues, my father was a dry drunk and my mother took Librium for 10 years to quell her anxiety. I can think back now and realize that perhaps they just really didn't know how to raise children. Afterall, my father's parents were drunks as well, and my mother was an only child raised in an abusive household. When they met during their graduate studies, my father was a non-drinker and my mother was vivacious and attractive. Trouble came quickly though when my father started drinking with his clients and then eventually drinking to live. I realize they didn't have the skills to be parents and perhaps they lacked insight capabilities. Maybe their own abuse and neglect ran so deep; they that they couldn't stand to examine it. Maybe their needs for control and material things were too great to be able to realize my vulnerability and preciousness.
My mother says she only worked part time when I was very young, but I have no recollections of her being around until about age 4. She was a nurse and I loved to play with her white cap. Perhaps that lack of recognition of my emotional needs was because the Librium caused some kind of vacancy in heart, soul, and being that prevented her presence with me. Perhaps that's just normal to remember so little when we are so young. One of my first recollections is standing by myself on the street corner, waiting for someone to come home. I am dressed in pajamas, the light blue ones with kitties and rhinestones and on them. We have just recently moved to this big house in the Silicon Valley suburbs, though this was before there even was a Silicon Valley.
I am not afraid or scared, just empty and lonely, wanting somebody to connect with me. I am somehow like Godot, though with nobody there to converse with me about what it is I am waiting for. I am looking at other houses and wondering about the kids there, wondering why nobody comes out to see me or even seems to care. I used to spin around the pole that held up the street signs, and sing and dance to pass the time. Surely neighbors must have thought me odd or worried about me, especially as I got older and forgot to wear underwear, going outside in my tiny slip-like pajamas or babydolls.
I did have an old neighbor that I briefly reconnected with me in the 20's say to me once that they were worried about me for some years because I was tiny, so thin and frail. I remember my parents taking me to doctors, trying to get me to eat, trying to force down protein supplements. I do remember being hungry but refusing to eat, I am sure as means of control. I suppose this was perhaps some sort of childhood anorexia or perhaps even a failure to thrive situation. What can a child control when there is no reliability in their environment?
I have many memories of laying in bed at night frightened of the dark and waiting quietly in room for my mom to come home. Time seemed to never end and I would wallow in the spiritual abyss of loneliness, either not knowing how to occupy myself, or already having worn out all of my coping capabilities, which consisted mostly of TV watching or listening to music when I got older. The feelings of abandonment were quite strong and I could not imagine why my parents didn't want to come home sooner, how they seemed not to care about being with me.
Even at night when they were home and I was supposed to be sleeping, I would lie in my bed and listen to the TV on in another part of the house. I was lonely for them and frightened of the dark and what might lurk there. Sometimes I would sneak out of my room and sit on the stairs where I could see what they were watching on the TV in the sunken living room. This was usually the 10 or 11 news, but I somehow felt closer to them. I had to be on alert though because I didn't want them to catch me out of bed, so I would tensely watch the TV news with them from a distance, ready to bolt to my room at any second. I suppose it was better then being so alone in the darkness of my room and the strange shadows, though I would be so tired in the morning, they would have a hard time waking me up. So began my difficulties with sleep patterns and my desire to not have to sleep alone.
At one point I had a cat who would prowl the nieghborhood at night, and then come back to my balcony bedroom door, scratching at my door and meowing to be let in. I would be incredibly tired, not wanting to get up to let in my little friend and also fighting the guilt of the kitty being out in the cold. Usually I would eventually get up, stumble to the door, and let the cat in, though sometimes my parents would deadbolt the door with a key, so my sleep would remain disturbed.
The memories of loneliness sort of cascade from there: left with the babysitter, the babysitter quitting (likely due to my dad's drunkenness), parents not coming home on time, parents leaving me with a housekeeper who did not speak English, parents not caring what I did between school and activities. They always tried to arrange for other parents to drive me to gymnastics and they would pick up afterwards. When I was around 10, I started riding the bus to track practice. IT was about a mile walk just to the bus stop. At the time it seemed perfectly normal, but today I can see where the risks were likely greater then my parents wanted to acknowledge.
And of course there were the mile long walks home from school each afternoon. None of the kids in my neighborhood that I knew went to my school, and my brother was off on his own, taking short cuts through folk's yards to get back home. But I would walk the long way, slowly, hating that I had nobody to pick me up, and knowing that nobody would be there when I arrived home. This walk home from school started at age 8 and I was always envious of my friends who either rode the school bus or had their parents pick them up. Even riding a bike would have been better, but at this point my dad had given up on teaching me to ride, so I had no choice but to ramble on.