At nine, my parents got a divorce. I remember the occasional argument, but it never seemed to escalate much. I would discover that my mom doesn't believe in bringing the kids into an adult conversation. She was protecting us from the emotional pain she was experiencing - or repressing. I found this out later.
I was safe - but also afraid. I didn't understand why he was getting his own home - kind of a dumpy fixer-upper that we didn't have the money to fix up. My sister and I thought it'd be fun to paint this new canvas - which would be a second home - where we could spend two-on-one time; just us and dad. We were safe - but there was a cognitive gap - a dissonance. Everything seemed fine. But, it wasn't. For any of us.
The thinking part of my mind tried to figure things out. I didn't know what was going on and somehow didn't get the emotional satisfaction in the feelings. I didn't want to just sit around crying while watching my fish swim. I did that, but it wasn't satisfying.
What was satisfying?
I liked getting attention. I liked to joke, do magic, and in other ways get people to lighten up and smile. I used my quick wit and easy laughter to move past any slow feelings of fear, regret or disappointment.
I still enjoy getting people to smile - but I realize now ( really only just now ) how I disrespect the emotional side of life; the fear side.
The controller in me wants to move things along - like a gate agent quickly loading a plane for Southwest Airlines. "Folks, we've got places to be - so grab a seat, strap in, and shut up. Oh... and smile!"
I'm learning. I'm still learning. Today I learned that I am not the lone thinker responsible for the success in business and family and life. I've got a team of voices within me that can take up the baton and continue the race. In fact, it's only if I'm willing to hand off the baton that I'll be and feel successful. There's a new race to be run, and it's not an individual sprint - it's a team relay. I used to think I could make it on my own. I now realize - I was never alone.