Philanthro-me: Part 1 (Ages 1-9)

“Giving as a Survival Tactic”

I was born with the capacity to provide safe harbor for humanity, though being so young I didn’t realize it at the time. It would take decades of wandering down dark, merciless roads before I would clearly see this inspired gift of compassion in the seeming face of all-out war.

I was the very last of five children, six years younger than my next closest-aged sibling. Amidst the chaos and ugliness of a family ravaged by dysfunction, abuse, and alcohol, my siblings found some refuge with each other while I was left to fend for myself. Instinctive survival skills were my true guardian, and were it not for that I feel I would not be here to share this tale of abiding liberation born of absolute oppression.

Before I even had words, my sense of self was garnered from the innate process of observing other’s attitudes towards me. This set the unseen bar which shaped the attitude and opinion I held of myself, and directed the undetectable ideals of what I felt I was deserving of in life: ideals which effectively reduced the understanding of my intrinsic capacity from one of providing a source of peace and refuge for those bruised, battered, and war-torn by life, to one of simply hoping against hope to find just one person in this world for whom I could provide safe harbor.

Throughout these formative years, I would give space to my mother, in hopes of somehow making her troubled life just the slightest bit easier. I would give even more space to my father, in hopes he would forget I even existed. I would give careful attention to my siblings, in hopes they might invite me into their circle. I would share my imagination with my schoolmates, in hopes of making a much needed friend. I would give shy smiles to strangers, in hopes they would think well of me.

(to be continued . . . )

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