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IN THE COMPANY OF ORPHANS
I know that it must be very difficult for anyone who is married to someone who did not have a family and was raised in an orphanage to understand exactly what makes their marriage partner act, think or feel in the strange manner that they do. Especially since there appears to be so little "feeling" going on with their spouse anyway.
Can you imagine having to live in a large prison-style building with all those innocent little children? All together in one large bunch, all together in the same place, year after year after year. It would be one of the most horrible and saddest things that you could ever possibly witness in your entire lifetime. Especially seeing that much childhood heartache and all taking place here in the wonderful United States of America. An entire "herd" of blank, stoned-faced little boys and girls, all with large, dark, deep-set eyes, always staring straight ahead and never looking to the side. Never once seeing an innocent smile on any of their little faces, because their facial muscles never learned how to perform such an unusual and strange task, like showing emotion, on a daily basis.
For more than 10 years that was my life, all the way from age 5, that was all I saw everyday and that is all I can remember. Every single day, 24 hours a day, all day long, I saw absolutely nothing but stone-faced sadness, loneliness and that never-ending feeling of nothingness. Those terrible sights, along with those never-ending hollow echoing sounds bouncing off the orphanage walls. Sounds that still ring in my adult ears, even today. The kinds of sounds that most people would only hear if they were to walk into a large institution, a prison, a large courthouse, a big high school hallway or a large cafeteria-style restaurant.
Not one time, as a little boy did I ever have my own space. Not one single time, did I ever hear the normal sounds that a "real house" has to offer a child. I never knew what it was like to walk into a real house and sit down in a real honest to goodness living room or curl up in a warm recliner. I never knew what it was like to eat dinner with just one, two or three other people at the table with me. I never knew what it was like to be able to sit down on the toilet (in private) without everyone else being able to see me. I never knew what it was like to be able to get a drink of water, without first having to ask. Not one time during my entire childhood did I ever get to walk into a ‘real house’ and yell out the words "MOM" or "DAD" or "I'M HOME." Not one single time in my life has anyone ever read me a bedtime story. Never once did I ever get to spend the night with a friend or have them spend the night with me. As a child, no one ever helped me do my homework or answer any questions. No one ever hugged me after I fell down and hurt myself. No one ever told me that I was smart or handsome or cute or good or kind. Even ‘nice’ was a word that I never heard even one time as a child.
It would be like having you eat your breakfast, lunch and dinner every single day of your childhood in the school cafeteria and using only the school bathroom in front of everyone else for 10 long years. If you were raised in that manner, those would be the only sights and sounds that would be recorded inside your head. There would be nothing else inside your little brain except those memories and those memories alone.
To be very honest, I guess at the time, it was really not so hard on us orphan children because we did not realize what was actually happening out there in the real world. It was not so bad on us because we did not realize that children, who had mothers and fathers, were learning and being taught something totally different from those of us who were locked away in institutions. Or that those children were being prepared for their adult lives, in a completely different manner than we were.
We didn't know that ‘big people’ were supposed to love children and that ‘older people’ were supposed to make kids feel good about themselves. We had absolutely no idea there were kids in the world who could get a drink of water without having to ask or that they could go into the bathroom all by themselves and use the toilet in private with the door closed behind them.
But those were not the real problems at all. They were only the start of the problem - major problem that was going to rear its ugly head many years later. It’s a situation that now affects the lives of those orphan children, their children, their grandchildren and maybe even their great grandchildren.
So many people think that it was all the beatings and the mistreatment of these children that caused them to become so detached from ‘real life,’ as well as so withdrawn from their friends and families. But this is not true at all. The beatings were only a very small part of the picture as a whole. It was all those ungodly never-ending institutional regulations, rules and sounds. Sounds that are still bouncing off the institutional walls inside these children’s (now adults) minds. All those years of lonely memories, remembering each and every one of those cold-hearted, stern-faced looks given to us everyday by our caretakers. Along with all the never-ending military orders always reminding us that we were nothing more than a piece of crap. Just one of many old pieces of useless furniture waiting to be disposed of as quickly as legally possible.
Oh, how easy it is for others who were not there at the time to judge these children, only because they are now adults and are expected to know better because they are grown. How can they know any better when the only sounds they hear within their heads when they get out of bed every morning are the same sounds that they heard every morning, year after year when they were children being raised in a prison? Even though they know what is best for their children and they certainly know the difference between right and wrong, it is still very difficult for them to sit down on the edge of a child's bed at night and read them a bedtime story. Even though they know it is the right thing to do, they almost feel that it is unnecessary to help their children with their homework.
Adult life is so much different and it is so much more difficult for those of us who have to constantly ‘guess’ (with our brain) in order to figure out how things are really supposed to feel, compared to our friends and neighbors, who without having to think automatically know what to feel inside themselves, before having to think with their brains. That was determined for almost everyone when they were little children many years ago, by the sights and sounds that they heard, as well as how they were treated when they were small.
Yes, we are now adults and we have moved on with our lives. We know without being told that it would be good, kind and beneficial to walk into our child's bedroom every single night and read them a little bedtime story. But because of our own childhood, we have to push ourselves to do that one kind act. I guess because in our brain's ‘feeling department’ it is not even thought about, as it serves absolutely no purpose whatsoever. It has become ‘just another chore’ in our lives, just like emptying the garbage or raking leaves out in the yard. There is absolutely not one single positive memory in our hearts or brain attached to reading a child a bedtime story or helping them with their homework.
Therefore, (feeling-wise) reading a story has absolutely no benefit, other than making more work for us. That is the reason why most orphans, as well as most non-orphan abused children will forever live the remainder of their adult lives making ‘adult decisions’ about their own children and grandchildren based not on true feelings, but strictly reasoning, logic or guilt.
Anyone who has never seen an apple is sure as hell going to find it very difficult to explain to his or her children or grandchildren what the heck an apple tastes like feels like or smells like. So they will just have to do the best job they can and make due with a 'good guess” - talking on and on and on in a never-ending circle. Continuously thinking and continuously guessing as your little child looks on with wide-open eyes waiting for the correct answer, in order to learn how to feel something new and wonderful, which someday they will pass on to their children, your grandchildren. All the while, the adult orphan hopes that he or she can somehow explain that unknown something to their child(ren). Something that they themselves cannot even feel inside.
Then and only then, would you be like the rest of us. The ones who can now only guess at how much it means to a child to have a bedtime story read to them. To know what it feels like inside a real house or to be able to use the bathroom in private, or get a drink without having to ask, or to be able to talk, laugh or smile at the dinner table, or to have hollered the words "Mom or "Dad," just one time. All this sorrow and pain, because no one ever took the time to teach little kids about that damn apple.