Last week I shared a photo (see below image on left) of myself at five years old in my new upstairs bedroom. You can see how confident and in charge I was feeling! Today I want to share a different photo, one where the seven year old me looks decidedly less smug and in charge (See image above and on the right).

On the back of today’s picture is my mother’s handwriting indicating this photo was taken at Senator Howard Buck’s home. In addition to Nicky (me), the photo features my 1 year old sister Nina and my 5 month old brother Nolan. Also identified are Linda (4 years) and Michael (5 months) Campbell. I have no memory of them so if either of them is reading this, email me!

When I look at my face in this picture, I imagine thinking: “Why can’t things be way they used to be when Howard (the important government official) and I celebrated our joint birthday without all these other people around?” Mom made it appear significant that he and I were both born on 10/10 and that this was a reason to celebrate.

The way I chose to manage what I felt were massive changes as a girl was to deny and ignore feelings. You can see how I’m doing this if you look closely at my face in the second picture. Little did I know that these unexpressed feelings would not go away. I did not learn how to express them so they were buried.

I did not learn how to have a positive attitude about change when my entire life was upended at age six. The other solution I chose to manage this dilemma was to be a good girl. This method also included stuffing my feelings. Keeping everyone happy. Maybe then things would be like they used to be.

Exacerbated change, like all of us are experiencing now, raises our concerns about health and safety, climate change, and fosters heightened sensitivity as those of us who are white people hear from others that we are not as objective or unique as we thought.

The only thing constant is change so I’m learning in psychoanalysis to notice how I respond to change, then determine whether my response hurts me or helps me.

Does your response to change help you or hurt you?

Please let me know how you are coping! It helps us all to feel not so alone. Thanks for reading and commenting.


6 Responses

  1. I wonder if there’s research on a sibling’s reaction to arrival of new siblings according to the age difference between them. I don’t ever remember being jealous of Nolan, Nan or Nyla but of course, you were already there. I know Payton was very outspoken about how she did not like her triplet siblings. There’s about 3 yrs difference between them.

    When I first saw the photo of the five, I immediately assumed it was Kendra and Kevin. I don’t remember any Campbells. I didn’t know you and Howard shared a birthday. I just remember we were friends with them because they were Grandpa Hiatt’s friends. Plus Marla and Marilyn were friends.

    I have struggled with change also as I think most people do. But studying Buddism has helped and accepting the fact that EVERYTHING is TEMPORARY. And that’s not a bad thing. As Mom said, something good comes out of everything. I’ve lived long enough to know that’s true. Science of Mind has also helped me with acceptance.

    I never realized (until recent years) that you had a hard time with my arrival because I had always heard it was you and Dad that talked Mom into having another child. That was rather naive of me as every situation is complex and creates a mixture of feelings.

    • Hi Nina!
      I’m sure there is research out there but I’m doing research “in here”!

      Thanks for the connection of Buck’s and Grandpa Hiatt – and then Marla & Marilyn. I’ll send this to Marla and see if she knows Campbells!

      The idea that everything is temporary is such a difficult one to keep in mind but thanks for reminding me!

      You have the story right – at least that’s what I’ve always heard – that Dad & I convinced Mom to have another baby. I guess I didn’t
      realize the total impact of my request. I am SO glad that you are in my life – I have learned from having siblings and it has made me
      a much better person. The “heaven” that I had with Mom wasn’t sustainable nor would it have been good for me. I am so thankful that you
      and the rest of siblings exist! Yes, situations are so complex!

      Thanks for reading and commenting. I love you!

  2. I’ve been exchanging humor with an old friend while sharing status updates. It does help to realize everyone is going through the same thing.

    • Hi Nolan,
      That is such a good idea to exchange humor! We really do need to laugh.
      It is weird isn’t it that it helps to know we aren’t alone in whatever
      it is we are going through.

      Did you find you in the picture?
      I love you my only brother!

  3. Hi Nicky, I often think of Faith Ferre’s adage these days: “If you can’t get out of it, get into it!” I few years a back I had a friend in ministry whose title (among many as an interim pastor) was “Change Agent”. I loved that, and I wanted that title, too. I got certified to be an interim pastor and later learned that once you actually serve as an interim in several places, you are considered a change agent. Since my training, I have only served a settled position as a pastor, but I found that the tools I learned to help congregations in transition, also helped my new congregation as we got to know one another; and as they took stock of who they were now. I came to believe from my life changes and societies’ quickly changing landscape (like all the time) that the new ‘mission field’ is change. The water we swim in ‘change’. And the better I/we can navigate change and understand some of the phases (give words for what we are experiencing), the my comforted and perhaps confident I/we can feel in the midst of it. …I hate change, don’t get me wrong, but “if you can’t get out of it, get into it!” Thanks for your stimulating questions!

    • Hi again Jackie! Thanks for this – I don’t remember Faith saying that but I will now: if you can’t get out of it, get into it!
      Interesting that interim pastors are change agents – makes lots of sense. For a couple years when I was a therapist, I proudly
      said that I was a change agent. That I wanted to help people change Fast! But that was not what eventually made sense to me. Just
      thinking now that you didn’t say anything about fast – that was my mistaken notion about change agents.

      I love how you named that all is change – down to change is the water we swim in. Thanks so much for your response – I love asking questions!

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