As a toddler, I was left alone during my afternoon naps. Usually I slept long enough for mom to finish her errands.
But on those occasions that I awoke to an empty house, an already-peeled banana awaited me. To hear description of me feeding myself a banana with tears running down my face—that image just tears me apart, and leaves me feeling traumatized.
The first time I heard this narrative, I was amused. As I began to replay the scenes in my head, I was able to go deeper into how that child might have felt. Imagine the loneliness and sense of abandonment that consumed me as I was swallowing tears with banana mush to comfort myself. My hunger may have been satiated, but my heart was empty. I don’t know how I filled myself as I grew up, but outwardly I expressed love whenever I had the chance.
At an age when I couldn’t have known about the Pavlovian effect of waking up alone and eating bananas to keep myself company—I wonder if I have blocked out all those lonely afternoons. Having knowledge of this makes me somewhat unsettled. Likely, I have been 'disturbed' for quite a while. It’s now coming out through my breath work. I have piled blocked memories on top of childhood memories, and packed densely the ugly and painful feelings that I couldn’t have understood as a child.
It is fateful that this child grew up to care for her aging parent, the single mom who struggled through caring for an illegitimate child without child support. Why didn’t she put me up for adoption? I must have been observant and empathetic as a toddler. Before I could walk, I felt mom’s pains. Banana is my least favorite fruit, and I would endure hunger before eating one.