Sunday, August 7, 2011

Instinct - GBE2 August 6

Very non-productive week for me. Just haven’t felt motivated to do much of anything. I didn’t get Friday’s book blurb done and I’m only now beginning this, due on Saturday. What can I say? It’s just like that sometimes – no real reason other than no real “oomph” in me right now.

What does that have to do with instinct? I’m not sure. My instinct for years has been to write as a form of escape or self-therapy (even before I knew such things existed). I think it’s directly related to my desire to read, which often allowed me to escape. Psychologists might call it the instinct for survival, not so much to keep me alive physically, but to keep me alive emotionally.

Yet, when this all vanishes, when expression evades me, when even being online no longer draws me in, I have to wonder if there is instinct involved as well.

I’ve watched more television lately, so could my ADD just be leading me to another method of escapism? Another way to be elsewhere without leaving?

Which leads me to another aspect of instinct, for me at least. I seem to instinctively analyze everything, to try to understand the whys and wherefores of what’s happening. I actually do fairly well since a couple of friends come to me periodically seeking my take on a situation in their lives. They feel comfortable with my interpretation of what I see – yet, I don’t seem to have that same ability when it comes to me. I am also prone to over-analyzing situations. Why do I seem to “get” what’s going on with someone else and feel so lost at times when it comes to me?

Yet, getting back to instinct, I think I’ve instinctively known what to do to survive different situations in my life, even if I didn’t know what to do to get away. That doesn’t mean I escaped unscathed, but it does mean those situations didn’t destroy me because I found a way to deal or to heal. There was damage. There are scars. There is residual pain.

Another point of instinct – I don’t believe motherhood is necessarily instinctive. Sure, we will instinctively protect our children, defend them against predators, etc. But, what about those of us who didn’t feel that natural bond that so many say occurs? For me, being a mother was a struggle. It just didn’t come natural for me like it seemed to for others. I had never been around kids, didn’t know a thing about taking care of kids (believe me – book learning DOESN’T compensate!), didn’t even like being around kids all that much. Where was MY instinct to be a mother? How do you even explain it to others without their looking at you like you’re some kind of monster? Oh, I got better when I had my second child. I bonded with her in a way that didn’t happen the first time. I don’t love her any less than my first or any more, but there was a connection I felt when she was born that I hadn’t felt when my son was born. Is that wrong? Or is it just wrong to admit it? That was an instinct I would have appreciated having. I’m pretty sure my kids would have appreciated it as well.

There are other instincts I’d have liked to have had – like cooking. My mother just knew what something needed to taste good. She loved cooking and lived to cook. She could re-create a dish she’d tried and come reasonably close to the original. Not me. That gene bypassed me completely. I get it right more often now than I used to, but there was many a time that even following a recipe didn’t help. I just didn’t have “the touch”. Same with plants – Mom had a green thumb….a MAJOR green thumb. Mine? Dark Brown! You want your plant to die? Give it to me. Guaranteed death. No instinct whatsoever for keeping non-animals alive. My kids are very lucky they weren’t plants.

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Blogger Jo said...

Such an honest and open and refreshing post! Knowing who we are and our own limitations is a huge life lesson. One you have learned. Good job, girl.
Your instincts have been honed over the years and let me just add, I believe our instincts are influenced and honed with the experiences of our living. Therefore, your ability to bond with child #2 is NOT unusual.
Enjoyed this one, a lot! C-:

August 7, 2011 at 9:21 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can't keep plants alive, either!

As far as mothering, I'm sure that there are as many different experiences as their are mothers and children. People tend to beat themselves about feeling anything but what they believe is ideal, but we feel what we feel.

August 7, 2011 at 12:09 PM  
Blogger Kathy29156 said...

Brilliant blog about instincts. I analyze everything into the ground as well. I believe instincts are learned somewhat, because I sure didn't know what to do with my babies when they were born beyond try everything and anything to get this cute little bundle to stop screaming. Eventually you learn, and then instinct kicks in. Still wish I had an owner's manual for each of my kids though. Whatever I learned with my daughter didn't really work with my son because they were polar opposites. Drove me looney. LOL


August 7, 2011 at 1:05 PM  
Blogger Joyce Lansky said...

Although my mother instincts were strong, I've heard about many who struggled with this too. What's important is how it all worked out in the end.


August 7, 2011 at 1:21 PM  
Blogger Laura Rogers said...

I really enjoyed so many perspectives on instinct. Great job.

August 7, 2011 at 10:37 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

I LOVE your post!! I totally understand your "instinct" to write, I had that since I was a little girl, my parents even recognized it before I did. I really enjoyed your post so much, it was very REAL and open. My husband and I haven't had kids, we've questioned it some the last few years, but now we're in our early forties. I never felt a strong instinct to be a mother, so your words rang true to me about how it doesn't necessarily come "naturally". I understand that cooking doesn't come naturally to you...I really like to cook and took to it, but that is me...we all have different interests and gifts. And I TOTALLY know what you mean about the green thumb. I'm trying REAL HARD to be a gardener (my 2nd year), but I'm not doing tremedously well! It is hard to imagine why something that I really WANT to be able to do could be so hard to pull off or get right. But I'll keep trying. Anyhow, I absolutely LOVED your post, I feel like I really identified with you as a person, even though we might not have the same exact circumstances. Great job! :)

August 9, 2011 at 10:10 PM  

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