Sensitivity or Anxiety!

Sentimental and bittersweet memories from my childhood!

As a small child I spent a lot of time at my grandparents, fortunately they lived down the street. I had a very strong bond with my grandfather, I would wait patiently at their house, with my grandmother, until he arrived home from either work, or from the pub. It was usually the latter!

I would excitedly run to the curtain, pulling back net, press my face against the window glass, my eyes would stare out searching patiently to see if he was walking down the street. I would get so excited when I saw him, ‘he’s here, he’s coming home,’ I would blurt joyfully. I adored him so much, he had jet black hair and cool blue eyes, he was a very handsome man. My grandmother was obviously smitten with him, she came from a very affluent background, her family owned hotels in Ireland, she was a catholic and held onto the values of the church in whatever way she could. My grandfather was the total opposite, he was raised in a more impoverished existance, from Scotland and he was strict protestant, a clash of their respective religions and a meeting of two hearts overruled the values and principles of the my grandmothers church. Well in honesty, it was my grandmother that renounced her religiously values! She would tell me she was high church of England, even though she kept her rosary beads close by in her bag, gifting them to me, on her passing from this world to the next. She didn’t attend mass or anything like that. Even after my beloved grandfather died, she kept her vows and didn’t revert back to her catholic rules.

Well, she had to renouce her religious values, to be with my grandfather! She fell madly in love and abandoned everything, to be his wife. Her affluence, money, her religion. I think it was those blue eyes too!

Sometimes love is so powerful, that even two opposing religions with such strong opposing political values, can come together under the spell of love! My grandparents certainly showed love can and does, conquer all boundaries!

Fond memories, of such innocence and tender times I had as a little girl, my innocent admiration to this great man. I would often get impatient when I waited for him, asking my grandmother, ‘Is he coming home soon grandma?’ she would reassure me by showing me his dinner, keeping warm on the stove, under a pot of boiling water.

If his dinner was on the stove, I knew it wouldn’t be long till he was home.

I remember helping my grandmother lay his place at the table I always wanted to see what he was having for dinner, so that when he walked through the door, I would annouce what he was being served. I fussed over him, taking off his shoes and putting on his slippers, then I would climb up on the chair beside him, eyes wide in awe of him, with my small side plate, he would share his dinner with me. Sometimes I would sit on his knee and talk about my day!

I’ll never forget the smell of woodbine cigarettes that enamated off him, or the beer on his breathe. I was so mesmerised with him, and he would devote his attention to me. Sometimes I would sing to him a song, as he smiled. Oh, those blue eyes, looking into mine. Such sweet memories.

We didn’t have long, before he was taken by the dreaded disease of cancer. Then shortly after his death. It was my little sister who spent a year away in hospital. For about a year. So it was difficult for my parents, juggling my sister in hospital and taking care of us.

We had lots of different hobbies, leisure interests and classes where we would be entertained during the week, and moreover, at visiting hours.  Because as small children, we didnt want to spend hours sitting at our sisters bedside, we were too young to understand, and, we got bored. As small children do. I was six and my sister was eight.

My parents found a dance class at the local catholic church, where we went to learn dance. I remember my first time there like it was yesterday. And, the anxiety I experienced stayed with me, until I learnt what it really was!

The hall was big, with a wooden paroquet floor and windows that were high up. The place gave me the creeps as soon as we arrived. I felt an unerving anxiety inisde, a sickly feeling that I couldn’t quite understand, I was uncomfortable the minute I walked in the room. An eerie, spooky energy lurked, one that wasnt’ calm, or soothing like many of the other church houses, are or visible to the eye, but a darkness, that as a child, I couldn’t understand. I felt on edge, scared and frightened without reason why? It was a different feeling to my Sunday school church, that one felt more serene.

I remember my mother assisting me with taking off my coat, I felt scared, because it reminded me of the big hall, where I went to see the doctor with the round mirror over his eye! Only then, I wasn’t scared, just curious! Then my mother kissed my head and went to leave the room. In an instinctive reaction I chased after her, wrapping my arms, clinging onto her leg. ‘please mummy, please don’t go. Not again,’ I wailed! she told me to stop being silly and my big sister, tuttted rolling her eyes, putting her hands on her hips, glaring at me.

My mother unhooked my arms where I was holding her for dear life, my sister came over and took me firmly by the hand to the middle of the floor. I was so upset and scared, but then I realised my big sister was with me, so I wasn’t all that alone. We sat on the floor as the dance teacher talked to us. Then the doors closed, and in that moment I stood up and ran to the doors, yelling ‘No. No, open the door, open the door!’ The dance teacher was displeased, I was scolded again for my reaction. My sister looked at me and rolled her eyes! I couldnt hear her very well, my eyes were wide and alert as I watched her mouth move, It felt like the hairs on my body were standing up. An inner swirl of anxiety started to spin as the chills of the room enamated inside this big brown hall! And, inside of me.

I felt so trapped, this eerie feeling remained in the room. In fact, once the doors closed, the room felt ever more chilling. I thought I could hear, screaming a piercing cry, that drifted further away the more I tried to concentrate on the sound! I must have two left feet, because I couldn’t follow the rythym, or mimic the teacher, I was too distracted by this chilling feeling, it was a chill that I had never experienced before. One that wouldn’t go away either?

Before long my parents returned, relief engulfed me. I was so happy to see them, I ran out of the building as fast as I could. Hurrying for them to follow. I was out the door and by the car, waiting for them.

A couple of days later, my father parked the car in the car park again. My heart sank in despair! I had to go back in to the dance class? I was not pleased, I began protesting, saying how much I didn’t like the dance, my pleas were ignored. Naturally, as parents, its hard to understand a childs fears, especially anxiety. Parents often have to wrestle with the internal emotions of guilt when leaving their child in another adults responsibility, trying to be firm and consistant in these type of situations, I know back then I didn’t understand why I hated this building, and my anxiety wasnt really one of fear, but more of one that provided a warning, and taught me how sensitive I was, as a child. It was years later when I was to finally learn why!

We only went for a few sessions and it was my stubborness and cries of despair to my parents that stopped our weekly dancing. During the lesson, I would deliberately step out of line to mess up the sequence. I really felt so on edge in that building and if I had to attend, I was not going to be a complant team player. Everytime I protested, got upset or angry, I was told I was being silly, dramatic even!

I remember saying to my grandmother how much I didn’t like dance at the church. She would soothe me, with her gentle touch as she always did.

This left my parents in a dilemma, they had they’re youngest daughter in hospital and there was us two, so my grandmother was nearby, she became a solid foundation in our lives and a blessing for our parents, so that they could see my little sister every day, without having to juggle entertaining my sister and me.

Years later, there was an investigation at the church where the priests were abusing the choir boys, and grooming families. It was all over the local papers, And the priests were exiled from the city, but it left a lingering distaste with the community! When I realised this, and the church that they came from, my childhood anxiety around the dance hall, was rectified! I now could understand the sensations, the crying, the energy that emanated from the hall. It was my sensitivity, picking up the vibes of what had been happening at the church!

The sentimental value of my grandmother’s rosary beads holds bitter and sweet memories!

The moral of the story; not all children who are acting up behaviourally, are being deliberately difficult, sometimes, their behaviour can and as in my case, does relate to a different anxiety, a different voice, one that feels the environment, as opposed to seeing it!

The cause of my behavioural outbursts and the anxiety was my sensitivity, some would call it clairsentience, others would say its an internal antanea, that could read places and situations! I called it sensitivity!

Anxiety, it isn’t only a fear of something of the future, its also a voice! It could be your sensitivity to your environment too!


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