Never Heard I Love You
Outside Looking In
Whats worse than growing up as a child into adulthood and never hearing the words "I Love You." I cannot ever remember one person in my life using these words in reference to me and it made for a very sad and lonely existence, because of this I always felt like I was an outsider looking in, I was never really connected to anything or anyone.
I was born and raised in the Island of the West Indies, Jamaica to be exact, my maternal grandmother and grandfather raised me and my first cousin from infancy, back in my grandparents days in that culture there were a lack of displayed affection towards family members at least I had never heard or seen any such display of emotions in my family or those I remember being around. I guess love was something that were understood through actions but not through words, the action of showing love through embrace or words were absent, they showed love for each other by being supportive and providing financially for the family and there was a strong family bond or unity as far as being protective of their own, there were laughter and fun such as it went, there were a very strong and enforced disciplinary regimen that was very present in my household and I can truly say that I was very familiar with that display of affection, so to speak.
I was an only child for my mother, she lived and worked in the USA and I saw her every so often when she made her periodic trip back home, I never really knew my father, I knew of him and I think I saw him twice as a child. Bonding as mother and daughter didn't happen for us until I came to the states to live with her and even then it took years of gradual baby steps to develop a form of relationship, I was never able to call my mother mom, mommy or any of those endearing terms, I don't really know why but I think its because I never made the emotional connection or relationship with her from a child, I notice that I am that way with the majority of my family members. No one really shared my world but I kept trying to share other people world because I was looking for affection and acceptance, a place to feel like I belong but I never did, the only time I felt connected, loved, satisfied and complete was with the Lord although I didn't really understood it at the time. Religion is big in my country and my grandmother was a strong woman of God and she brought up in the faith and adoration of God and that is the only place I felt grounded and centered, never like I was an outsider but apart of the family of God.
It was when I came to the USA that I was introduced to emotional contact by watching people freely display there emotions especially with their children as well as others and I remember that a craving erupted within me for love and I wanted so very badly to be a recipient of that type of affection. Later in life saying I love you were words to choke on for me because I was never used to it, my first experience of me trying to say the words I love you was with my first boyfriend, I was in my late teens and that experience was a disaster. I could write the words, show him in different ways but could not utter the words and he could not understand what was up with me, I could not even display affection in public such as holding hands and I was very uncomfortable with any one knowing that I liked him much less that I loved him. When he and I broke up and I watched him with his new girlfriend and their display of love and affection there I was again looking in from the outside wanting what I never had and was not getting it.
I choked on those words for many years until I had my first child, I was now a mom and I loved my child very much. As a mom I found myself going down the same path as my mother and grandmother and I did not like it, don't get me wrong I loved on my baby but it was very hard for me to let my mother see me being affectionate with my child especially when he reached the age where he was talking and walking, it was there I had to make a conscious choice to change things. My son helped me with this immensely because he was a very loving child, he was the first one to say I love you to me, for me hugs was difficult to give and it broke my heart that I was depriving him of that contact so I began to force myself to start to hug him and not care who was watching me, it was very uncomfortable for me and it took a while to develop the habit but it got easier and easier as time went on, it was my son that taught my mother to display emotions also and I am so glad I was able to break that cycle. My mother loved her grandchildren very much, I have three boys and she would love on them a lot and it was nice to see and hear but it was still not that way with us unfortunately,
My real grown up encounter with love was with my husband and that also took some time before I could express those words verbally to him but I did although I was yet still uncomfortable but that soon faded, thank God. I loved him very much and I gave him all I had emotionally but yet I never felt 100% connected to him either, I was never secured in his love for me so there again I found myself on the outside looking in, I would look at other couple and see how they interact and how happy they were to be around each other and how proud they were of each other and I was envious and longing for that type of relationship with my husband and never achieved it, we end up divorced.
As far as family goes it's just my sons and I, other family members are of my father side, I have 3 sisters and 2 brothers, paternal grandmother, aunts, uncles and cousins; here again its the same story I never heard the words I love you from my grandmother as long as I have known her and it is not that she is not a custom to displaying affection because she is, I hear her telling all the others she love them and give hugs and kisses freely to them but I am the exception to that. She dotes on all her other grands and great grands except me and mines, I am always an after taught with my fathers family and I am most definitely on the out side looking in where they are concern, as for sibling affection it is only recently one of my sister and I have develop a closer relationship and we do share those words although they are few and far in between but I am happy that those words now exit for me, I do love my sister very much.
I can't end this article without acknowledging the love of God, His love for me is tremendous and that is what helped me to overcome my emotional adversity to where I am strong and whole and I do not need any one to validate me as a person, through the love of Jesus I give hugs generously and freely and I do not choke on the words "I love you" any more, God is good.