Out of the shadows

by tamarjacobson

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This has been the summer of reconnection. It sounds strange to write that when in fact I have spent most of it quite alone. Reading, walking, writing, and working in the garden. And yet as I have spent many long hours alone I feel as if I have been accompanied by drifting shadows. For I have allowed my past to rise up in my memory as never before. Mainly feelings from the past. Atmospheres. Sounds, smells, colors. I have tried to conjure up how it felt to be me as a little girl – a small child – growing up in Southern Rhodesia, with the various members of my large, complex family. 

What a necessary indulgence – reconnecting to that little girl from long ago – getting to know her again after she was pushed down deep into the recesses of my brain. She has been coaxed out – gently – with the help of my very skilled therapist. He has invited her out of the shadows and into the open, and this summer I obliged. At a cognitive level it has been fascinating because, after all, my work has to do with child development and the importance of positive, loving teacher and parent relationships with the young children in their care. At an emotional level, it has been painful. Deeply painful. For, in order to reconnect with that child from yesteryear, I mean really reconnect, I have had to allow myself to re-feel what she felt, or re-experience what she experienced back then.