Thursday, May 13, 2010



What was your childhood?

What did you want people
to understand about you then?

Who was on your bus?

Maybe because I feel like I've just come full circle, and maybe because I've been in a clinical training group that looks at such things, but I-the-adult has in some way re-established a connection with I-the-child. It is an interesting and compassionate connection.

In words and pictures, here are my answers to these questions:

I grew up in a two parent middle class household. My father was a self employed mason and housebuilder and my Mother was first a supermarket cashier and later the head seamtress at a state school. There was always money for food, for a new Easter outfit, for Christmas presents and a new bike.

My parents loved me. And although I'm sure she didn't think twice about it, and certainly never meant to hurt me, my Mother gave high regard and high priority to the opinions of others. The teachers. The neighbors. The relatives. The priests. In my Mother's eyes, these opinions carried weight that mine did not.

Even early on, I handled this by being charming, funny, smart, entertaining, seemingly self-confident. I worked at being liked. It was, I think, my way of being heard.

So when I did this exercise with a group of colleagues, I realized that it might be time, finally, for me to put my thoughts and opinions front and center, ahead of and before they were filtered or adjusted through somebody else's perceptions. It is time for me to stand proud and firm behind myself, and I am so glad.

Who was on my bus? I was a little girl in a small world. I think it's kind of charming that I counted RinTinTin, Sally Fields, and my parakeet among my companions and supporters.


And you?

What was your childhood?

What did you want people

to understand about you?

Who was on your bus?

Of course I love your comments. I adore reading every word of them. But if you'd like to draw out your answers, maybe share them on your own blog, well....I hope you do. You might find yourself saying hello to a special child you've always known.




  1. This is a hard one for me. Very painful. The first 6 years were wonderful, but after age 9 it was a nightmare, one that did not end until I was 17 and left home. I will tell you that my dog, a poodle named Duke was my best friend though the worst part :-).
    I love that you are taking care of yourself KJ, bravo for you! xoxo

  2. My childhood was a roller coaster ride and one that I wouldn't choose to ride again ;)

    love to you kj and thank you for the beautiful surprise in the mail.
    It was a treat to receive your card.

    xxx your friend Robyn

  3. it's good to be connected to the child within isn't it kj? i think the person that says they are every age they have ever been, are lucky indeed.

    my childhood is running through my mind everyday lately. my mom would be happy to know she is making that happen.
    up late and too tired to make much sense, again!

  4. I had a fairly normal childhood, grew up in a city which I thought was the greatest place in the world. good parents, good family - usual trauma (you like her better than me!!!). but always worth looking into again.

    Don't remember the bus, but I do remember drawing abstract form and hoping I could be an artist when I grew up. That got squashed when I couldn't draw realistically - which was of paramount importance in those days...

    ...and here I am...Hmmmmmm

  5. this is interesting, KJ. My dad was a doctor and mom a nurse. I was born when dad was doing his residency and then he went away for a year re:TB. I was highly creative and active and drove mom nuts. I always felt an outsider, almost all through school and was so glad to graduate HS and move on. My parents were good parents to the best of their ability. Material things I had, food and shelter. Mom was a bit difficult re: unemotional and didn't like to see other's emotions being acted out. Like mine.

    Funny you mention Sally Field as she is a presence in my mental vision too.

    I too wanted to be heard. to have a chance to speak up and proclaim my vision of the world, my perspective about life. yet, who wanted to hear this except my diary.??

    Bus riding was always difficult. Finding a seat, enduring all the noise etc etc. For awhile I was on the wrong bus with people I knew then they switched me to the right bus with people I didnt know. Once I, accidentally I am sure, got stabbed in the back of my head from someone's pencil.

  6. I enjoyed your words and pictures, and wrote down your questions to contemplate at a later time; maybe blog about it. A good exercise. Thanks. You are so your own person, I can see. You have brought yourself along just fine, I'd say. :)

  7. There's not enough beta in blogger to handle my long, sad answers!
    You kind of have some idea of what it was like for me. Still, I think I'll answer these questions on a piece of paper for myself. Who knows, maybe a piece of powerful art will emerge! (The kind you suggested I should do.)

    I love your list of companions. You know my dog Curly saved my life which is probably why I've dedicated my whole life to saving animals.
    I hope none of my dogs have to ever hide in closets with me again.


  8. A powerful post dear KJ. I will post my personal answers over on my blog.

    I can see you wanting to "please" and be "charming" as a child ... I am sure you did. But,your parents lived during a time where the people who's opinions carried more weight than a child's - i.e. "the Priest", "the Nuns"..even "the Grocer" were listened to. And perhaps not much thought was reserved for who YOU were and what YOU needed.

    It's time for KJ to be concerned about KJ! How wonderful you are taking this is an excercise in finding YOU... and this is a worthwhile quest.
    I know it's already bringing you success.. because you ARE stronger (as well as continuing to be pleasing and charming), your voice IS heard....and well, you blogging family are all on board the bus with you!

    Here's to an exciting ride!


    ♥ Robin ♥

  9. This is an interesting post, kj. I'm thinking that the reason I make the art that I do, and the reason I write the stories that I do is because I have a strong connection to the kid in me. :) I will, however, save the discussion of my childhood for another time. LOL!! xox
    PS And exactly WHAT is wrong with wanting an extra cookie?? ;)

  10. Sorry, I was here a bit earlier but had to leave before commenting due to receiving a phone call from my TRUE BLUE EIB bearing son! HOOAH! Oh, my childhood...I floated through mine, feet never touched the ground, abstract/random from the very start. My Barbie was alternately married to Ricky Nelson and Richard Chamberlain. Analyze that! teehee Happy Friday!
    **kisses** Deb ♫♪♫

  11. annie, i am so glad you are safe and loved today. you deserve everything good, that's for sure. and thank god for duke. dogs are so damn special.

    robyn, that we are friends is a special joy for me. thank you always. as with annie (and my beloved lo) i am glad you are off the roller coaster. you are an amazing woman, robyn.

    lori, tsup! mwah! you know, i look at my childhood pictures and i was so much cuter than i thought. once we love ourselves, the world is our owen, ah, i mean oyster!! ♥

    mim, you ARE an artist and a damn good one. so now it seems you will march into the world as an artist. and your friends will be cheering you on. over and over again! xo

    suki, i too always felt different from the rest of my family. i wonder what my own daughter would say about her experience. it seems we start dreaming, are told not to, and end up dreaming again, at our happiest. you made me laugh about the bus! xo

    barbara, i AM my own person; that is definitely true! thank you for such kind words and encouragement. when we let go of the shore, we find that we're all in the river together. :)

    oh curly! thank god you took care of lo. you have given her a love for all living things that can heal the world, curly. lo, it pains me to read this. how far you've come, how brave you are. i am so proud you are my friend. ♥

    robin, hahaha! my mother would not say i tried to please!! she would tell you i was stubborn as hell. i was in there just wanting to express myself!! and yes, my blogging family is on the bus with me. i totally love that. hey, wanna sit beside me and share my cookies? oh no, i only have two and i promised one to pam. i have an apple. and one hersey's kiss. i could give you that.... :)

    pam, I LOVE THE KID IN YOU! i am giving you my extra cookie. ♥

  12. Oh, I want to sit next to you as we continue the ride! Thank you for the apple! (Emily expects to get that Hershey's Kiss... and none of us will have a very pleasant ride with an unhappy wabbit on board! So she must have it...)

    Thank you for yet another inspiring you seek, so do we all....

    Love you, love you.....

    ♥ Robin ♥

    p.s. You were (and still are) an ADORABLE child..I saw that photo!
    Let's hope none of us lose that part of us that remains childlike, full of wonder and trust.

  13. deborah, congratulations to a proud Mother who has every reason!
    your childhood was 'abstract/random" ? now i wonder what THAT means?! see, you are a writer. you leave the reader wanting more. :)

    robin, if we've lost that part of us, let's hope we find it and then we hold on to it and relish it!! thank you for saying i was adorable. :) as for the bus, come right here! oh, i have an EXTRA hersey's kiss. who knew!! one for you, one for emily. and look at pam and her cookie. isn't she cute? she tries not to be but she has such devotion to that cookie you can't help but smile. so, okay, let's smile...

  14. That's a good exercise kj, do you use it with your clients? I had an amazing childhood. I was loved, cared for, privileged. Couldn't have asked for more . . it was adulthood that went pear shaped. Dogs and horses of course have always been the main travellers on my bus! I like them so much more than people.

  15. I don't actually like to re-visit my childhood!