Have you ever had someone enter your life that really made a difference when you were a child, validated your feelings or listened with concern when you spoke?
Perhaps it was a mentor, coach, Girl Guide leader; you get the idea. Reflect for a minute who that person was. For me, it was my high school home economics teacher, Mrs. Fox.
Each day I was greeted with a brilliant smile from her, and the only teacher throughout my entire schooling that I connected with.
I was emotionally abused by my narcissistic mother, forever feeling depressed, apathetic, sullen, despondent and isolated. Her home economics course, for grades eleven and twelve, included both cooking and sewing/crafts (this was back in the early 70’s when it was assumed girls who graduated would ultimately become secretaries or housewives!).
I loathed the Home. Ec. subject at first, along with every other subject excluding English, and dragged my butt to school daily. The cooking segment of these classes became boring, and I despised cooking. The sewing segment appealed more to me, as my grandmother taught me how to sew over the years. My only motivation for showing up at school was due to Mrs. Fox.
It was complex for even me to rationalize the feelings of depression and suicidal thoughts. Who at fifteen or sixteen wishes themselves dead and has nobody to support or empathize? Mrs. Fox had no inkling about my sexual or emotional abuse, or my narcissistic mother causing moods of depression and anger, and I felt unsafe trusting her or sharing my past.
Talking about sexual abuse in those days wasn’t as open as it is today, and it was uncommon that anyone took their children or teens to therapy.
Mrs. Fox took me under her wing, though, as I believe she sensed my struggle with loneliness, lack of self-confidence and perhaps recognized my depression. After school chats became frequent, and my greatest thrill, one I’ll never forget, is an invite to her house after school for a cooking lesson.
(I have a picture of her holding up her hands, with a bright smile, wearing red oven gloves.)
I felt special and cared about, unlike the way my mother treated me. Over time I noticed the depression lessening, began caring about myself, struggled hard to ignore my mother’s cruel words and thinking only positive thoughts. Having to say goodbye to Mrs. Fox after graduating was agonizing. Years later I got in touch with her and overjoyed when she and her husband attended my wedding.
Such a special woman whom I will never ever forget.
Did you ever have someone in your life that made you feel special, changing your life in some respect?
I’d love to hear your experiences!!!
Written and copyrighted by Deb McCarthy/2017