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This is a story of my journey back–trying understand how my first awareness grew into a mysterious life of emptiness. In February, 2016, I discovered a crack in the wall separating my inner self from the rest of the world. With a glimmer of hope and all the strength I could muster, I began clawing, digging, powering my way through. Nothing could have prepared me for what I discovered. My idyllic childhood was different from others, I knew. I had, however, never recognized the enormity of the difference.
Parents have an incredible responsibility. They have approximately 2,091 days– windows of opportunity–to equip their children for their lives ahead. This number includes the 266 days from concept through birth as well as about the first five years of a child’s life.
We, in this year of 2016, have never had more knowledge and tools to get this right. Ironically, we have been looking for what we could see, not what has remained unseen.
Excuse me…your underwear is showing…
(Can someone tell me how to find my Inner-Ware, please?)
Hello world? Can anybody see me? Can anybody hear me?
My Empty Shell. My Outer Rules.
My personal history in a nutshell is that I was simply a chew-toy for my mother. I remember her telling me that she was so glad that she hadn’t had more than one child, because I had made her too nervous. I remember long hours in a crib, even until the time I went to kindergarten at age 5. There was no preschool. No siblings. No neighbors. No going outside. Very few toys. Nothing to do. Stay out of mom’s way. Mom and me. My dad was somewhere–working in the fields or caring for all of the farm animals. I remember trying to be near my mother, but she would tell me that I was in her way.
For nine years, she drove 16 miles round trip from our farm to a parochial school in town. I remember her wearing that story of martyrdom like a badge of honor. I had a clean slate–no love, just strict religious rules of fire and brimstone.. My dad? He eventually lost his mind to dementia. Sometimes I wondered if he’d been sucked out of himself, and my mom had moved in. I remember in high school–multiple times–becoming angry and shouting at my mother for the way she treated my dad.
Both of my parents passed when I was in my early forties. Other family members occasionally sent cards, but I had no lasting relationships with any of them. I became an orphan without a history. It wasn’t until this year that I was able to get a handle on what others had seen throughout my childhood: I was unwanted and an annoyance–just a tiny trophy brought out for display when it was convenient. All that time I had tried so hard to be loved: the good student, the good daughter, the one who worked tirelessly. The hardest thing about losing my mom was never getting a chance to feel her love.
Recipe for Creating Bullies and Victims
But that wasn’t the worst. The nightmares had only started, because my mother had created the perfect chew-toy for anyone who feeds their egos on the weakness of others. There, in a nutshell, is the narcissist-and-victim (bully-and-bullied) cycle of doom.
My Starfish Mission
I realize, now, that I am by no means alone. Many of us have reached adulthood with empty shells. You can read more about my journey, recovery, and quest by going back to the top menu (the three lines at the top right if you are on a mobile device), or by tapping here on the link to my Starfish Mission.