Sunday, December 6, 2009

cold feet

do you remember your first kiss?
i know i do.
in fact, i could probably tell you what day of the week it was and what i was wearing

(that's a lie, i CAN tell you because i DO know)

now i ask,
do you remember your first heartbreak?

i know i do.

in fact, i could tell you what time of the day it was, what i ate for lunch that day, and how many hours i didn't sleep for the next two weeks. i could even tell you what homework i had for that night that i chose not to do.

(that's a lie as well, what i should have said, was what i could not bring myself to do)

some people say breaking up as a teenager has a deeper impact on your confidence later in life than a divorce that may take place in your 30's. some people also say, that being a child as a victim of divorce is even worse. and i would have to say, the latter of the two is correct.

here's why

as an adult, in all cases, a divorce may only take place after two people (yes, i say people, not man and woman, bring it) have already been married (or equivalent. bite me). usually and in most cases, marriage or union-ship occurs after both people have already established their respective places not only in the relationship but within themselves as well.

when one's marriage (i will continue to use the word 'marriage' as a means of embodying all recognized forms of a consummate relationship) falls apart, they almost always have something to fall back on, whether it be their home, job, credit score, and even the parents who will always love you no matter what happens. life may go on as it once did before the marriage ever took place. in a sense, one may remain self-actualized after a separation or divorce occurs.

as a teenager however, one's mind is so on edge at all times and so fragile, that the slightest thing could set one off in a fit of rage. and if that isn't enough, just about everyone between the ages of 12-25 these days is going through a serious identity crisis influenced by their home life, own beliefs and needs, as well as that of their peers, society, and culture. and, unlike some relationships spawned post-youth, teenage love is not the result of a post-bar hookup. instead, it is the result of genuine attraction between two people who have found some that they are able to relate to in a time and place when fitting in is everything.

when a breakup occurs, there is always one person who sees themselves as the reason for the failure, and that can easily lead one to question their own actions in the past, present, and especially that of the future. the weight of the heartbreak experienced in one's hormone-infested social web can very well influence one's abilities in establishing a relationship in later years. one's sense of esteem and love&belonging may suffer as a result.

for a child, however, the negative impact is magnified.

as a child, we are born knowing very few things. one of them is the need for nourishment. the other is fear. rather quickly, we are then taught to regard safety/shelter and compassion by our parents or parent figures. for almost everyone on the planet, these qualities come naturally.

as we climb further down maslow's hierarchy of needs, as a young child, the three bottom parts of the pyramid are usually all that matters. so what happens when suddenly the two people who raised you to address your own survival and compassion towards your family, suddenly fire a cannonball through the ladder and began tearing at each other's throats? the sense of family immediately vanishes, and now that the duo that used to provide that sense of shelter and safety disappears, where is that going to come from?

now all that the child knows is fear. and if that isn't enough, the child may be old enough that his or her parents were just fine until they came along, therefore prompting them to ask the infamous question "is this all my fault?". how else is the child going to see the answer to the question.

now the child needs to go on in life with the sense of guilt that they destroyed their own family, and they need to watch day after day as their parents suffer emotionally, physically and even economically. and once again, who's fault do they think it is?

so when the child finally reaches his or her teenage years, how are they supposed to find their own sense of identity and confidence when it comes to establishing a relationship. and who are they supposed to go to for help, their parents? im sure you are already aware that the statistics relating to financial success later in life, the potential for illness, use of narcotics, criminal activity and rate of suicide increase exponentially with children of divorce (all of which multiply with children without siblings). so if you thought divorce for the parents was bad, how do you think their child or children are going to deal with their first heartbreak?

i know one thing is for sure;

they are definitely going to remember it.

however, overcoming that fear and successfully finding love with another, is probably the most wonderful feeling of all. getting there, however, might seem so impossible for so many, that the dream is never achieved.

*** I have recently sent out a request for people to voice their own opinions and stories on the subject, coming from all and any perspective or experience. Here they are listed below

From an anonymous sender -

My parents are not divorced. They don't really get along though. They fight constantly and it's usually about me. My brother is the favourite and I always mess things up. But sometimes my mom tries to stand up for me and the shit hits the fan. My dad frequently sleeps in the basement rather than in the same bed with my mother. I kind of wish they would divorce and I know it's probably weird to wish them apart but the fighting gets so tiring after a while.

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