1 : a natural or inherent aptitude, impulse, or capacity <had an instinct for the right word> 2a : a largely inheritable and unalterable tendency of an organism to make a complex and specific response to environmental stimuli without involving reason b : behavior that is mediated by reactions below the conscious level.
One of my first college classes was Psychology 101. I needed the course as a core requirement. In hindsight, I probably should have continued on and maybe … just maybe I wouldn’t be the basket case that I am today. Pftt! Bull sH!t. I’d still be a hot mess. Notice I said “hot” maybe that is part of my grandiose disorder whereby I think I’m all that and a bag of chips. But the lady doth protest too much, me thinks. I think the opposite … I believe I am a lost cause and I FEAR I have passed that trait along. Funny side bar rabbit hole … in Shakespeare’s time, protest meant to make a solemn affirmation (not denial). Here the use is the modern classic denial. Hello, I am J-dub and I have oh so many problems.
Back to instinct, in particular that of the motherly persuasion … my professor in PSYCH 101, the affable AD Mackensie, put forth the notion that motherly instinct does NOT exist! What the what ?!?!? That is blasphemy! The class believed motherly instinct was the CORE of civilization. Our classroom debate became animated! As students tossed out examples, to each one he countered. No he shut us down!
His point was simple. If motherly instinct was in fact true, there’d be no child abuse. All mothers would be instinctively perfect. “You see” he told the class “the conscious level and more complex thinking actually makes what we call motherly instincts are really learned behaviors. Running from a predator is an instinct. Raising a child has too many conscious actions to be called instinctive.”
Hmmmm??? Pause for effect …
To me, forever obsessively thinking, I could see his point and I was momentarily silenced. His power position over me, had de nada to do with my quick acceptance of his suggestion though this change of all that I held true would become a theme with me and the various professors that I liked. Easily persuaded much? Why yes, yes J-Dub was easily persuaded. Mind you, I had not yet become a mother which allowed me to be open to the idea. I thought “could it be?” To me, no motherly instinct seemed quite logical.
Which brings me to today. My motherly instinct is kicking into overdrive. I am physically sick with worry. I dreamt about Lulu last night after a day back and forth with fraught texts messages. One quick phone call but mainly, “I’d rather not talk but can you stay with me by text”. This even as she was in the company of other people. At least I do not think she was alone. Always hard to tell. Last night I even texted her the Beach Boys Kokomo and Bing Crosby’s Swinging on a Star by which I used to sing her to sleep.
I woke up with Cyndi Lauper’s time after time playing on a loop in my brain. I realize the song is about lovers but could the song also be about relationships in general? This part in particular:
If you’re lost you can look and you will find me
Time after time
If you fall I will catch you, I will be waiting
Time after time
Sadly, I can’t catch her EVERY time. “I fall behind. The second-hand unwinds.” I can’t control circumstances. My choices are only my own. She has her OWN choices to make while I helplessly watch. I am prepared for the worst! Hoping beyond hope that the worst never comes to fruition. And then, in a flash of brilliance (there goes my self-diagnosed grandiose disorder again!) I have come to the formidable conclusion that there is no worst case scenario. There is but scenario. And thankfully we have the POWER to choose how we deal.
If you have read this far, I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topic. Feedback is the gift I most crave. I miss the spirited dialog of being a student. For all those teachers out there, know you are worth more than gold. A precious, precious commodity with the privilege to mold and shape those of us willing to learn. And for that I give my most sincere thanks!!!!
As always, more to come.