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Friday, 28 August 2015

My early experience with empathy in my life Part 1

My early experience with empathy in my life Part 1

This blog entry will be about my experiences with empathy and its effects on me. I have discussed this topic many times over the years, but only in small doses. I have discovered, to my disappointment, that trying to share too much at one time overwhelmed some readers. And there were others who didn’t understand what I was relating to them, so I bored them. No one seemed very interested, so I shared only what needed to be shared on any particular occasion. In this blog entry I am speaking of as many of my major experiences with empathy as I can recall.
The feelings woven within empathy run deep within the emotions. Have you ever had an experience as a child and you had broken a favorite toy, and that hurt you just as much as losing a beloved pet? When I was a little girl just starting elementary school, grade one, kindergarten had not been introduced where I grew up. We lived about a mile from the school, and we walked there and back. A school bus was unheard of in the small county where I lived. Its largest source of income was a logging camp and lumber mill in the northern part of Ontario, Canada. It was some in of the most beautiful and close to pristine country on Earth but frozen during the winter months. 
Walking to school was not the best experience during the winter cold, so to make it more fun, when the road was covered with ice, we would skate to school. It wasn’t unusual for me to show up at home with a stray animal with me, a stray cat or dog and even sometimes a skunk, squirrel, raccoon, or even a weasel. It didn’t matter much to me what animal it was. If it had fur and looked like it was having problems it came home with me. Sometimes I also brought injured animals from off the side of the road with me. My mom was good at doctoring sick animals, and if she could not help them, they disappeared, much to my chagrin. 

The effects of empathy manifested themselves more frequently and in a more forceful manner after we moved from the lumber camp to a small town in central Ontario that had more moderate winters. It was in their public school that empathy and I had some bigger problems. 
The lake not far from the house where we lived

The school was five miles from home, and there was a school bus to take us there, although during the nicer weather I would walk back from school through the woods. I preferred that over the packed, noisy bus. In reality, the bus was just an extension of the schoolyard, and I did not get on well in either place.

I was a quiet child and did my best to avoid contact with the others. I did not like what I felt when I was around them. I have no doubt that was a good part of the reason for why they found me strange and weird. I moved around the school yard like a shadow trying not to be noticed. Lucky for me that worked most of the time unless I happened to be right in front of them.
I did not fare very well in classes, either. The teachers weren’t mean to me but they, too, didn’t understand me and just left me to myself in my seat, usually near the back of the room. That was fine with me. I had three classes that I liked and with those I did fairly well. I liked English grammar and writing because I could use my imagination in writing. Art was enjoyable because I loved drawing; and science, because I have always had a keen desire to learn about the unknown, especially in outer space, even to this day.

Once we had a science project. We were asked to draw our perception of the universe on the blackboard and share it with the class. I took a good portion of the board to draw concentric circles, one inside the other, outwards to the outer edge of the blackboard. I then drew dots of different sizes around each circle with different colored chalk. After this, I drew radiating lines going outwards from the centre, each line connecting with the dots. The appearance was like a giant spider’s web. At the center, I drew a large yellow dot. About a third of the way out from the center, I drew a large blue dot then put a title at the top of the blackboard, The Living Universe. 

The teacher came up and asked the obvious question: "How do you see the universe as a living entity?" "Because, sir, the entire universe is connected together from its center just like a giant spider's web." He was silent for a moment then 
Actual image taken by hubble

asked, "What are the big blue dots?" I could feel he already knew the answer. I responded, "They are us, sir. We are only but one little living dot out of many." Again he was silent, holding his chin in his hand as he studied the blackboard. He then turned to me and said, "This such good, thoughtful work I have decided to leave it up on display for the rest of the week."

All hell broke loose when we were let out for recess. It didn’t set right with some of the other students that the one whom they had thought to be the school dummy came up with something a teacher found brilliant. They chased me around chanting "Dummy! Dummy! Don’t you know that the universe is only made of rocks? They threw small stones at me to make their point. The stones were not big enough to cause me bodily harm, but the entire incident hurt me deeply.
That was my worst experience at school. After that, I kept a very low profile, verging on invisibility. I kept mostly to myself, and I didn’t mind; I preferred it that way. I was Little Miss Invisible. I had built a fort in the woods where I hid during recess; that was until someone discovered it and destroyed it.
My home was my haven. I loved my mom, and we were more like sisters than mother and daughter. She had a bad day now and then, but they were so few that I barely recall any of them. If I needed to be out of the house, I still had 100 acres of land, mostly woods, in which to play and live out my fantasies. There was also the lake that was five miles long and ready for exploration with one of my dad’s rowboats. 

I did not have many close friends, but I did have a few. The closest of them was a girl by the name Helen. For five years, we were inseparable, as close as two friends could be, almost like sisters. 

The other kids didn't think too much of us because we did not fit their mold. We were rogues, the kind of kids that caused moms to pull their sons in the house by the ear whenever we walked past. We ran around loose, roughshod some would call it, dumping garbage cans over and such, generally doing mischief after dark. Once we tied a garbage can to the back bumper of someone's car with the clothesline that we had taken down earlier in their yard! That was the extent of it, nothing serious enough to get in wrong with the police. And when the cops did get involved it was just a lecture, complete with finger wagging by the town policeman, Sergeant Cirroc. Oh, what bad punishment we got! Then afterward he would take us to the ice cream parlor and give us a ride home!
End of Part One

Thank you very much again, dear friends, for visiting my blog. Please share your thoughts with us, if you will. Have a great day.

ڰۣIn Loving Light from the Fairy Ladyڰۣ

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