If you have read my first book A Bird and the Dragon: Their Love Story: A Memoir you have stumbled across the fact that I was afraid of a lot of things through the story. First I was afraid that Sy, my second husband might be as difficult as my first husband, Harvard Lesser. Then I was afraid that I wouldn’t be able to raise these five girls that were to become our blended family. I was afraid that I wouldn’t be accepted for my first counseling job at the counseling center in Medfield, CT., and so it goes.
I took a little quiz that came across my computer a few days ago and at the end I was told that I had been “imprinted with fear” when I was a child, and if I took this woman’s workshop I would be able to rid myself of that imprint. Unfortunately her workshop runs at the same time I have to be writing this blog to get it to you on time this week. So instead of being upset that I couldn’t attend I began to think about where could this fear imprint have come from? I am also a therapist, as is the teacher of the workshop, so I started rummaging around in my bag of goodies. Out popped my grandmother, Mary Emma Moody. Okay, so how is
she involved in this imprinting? Back when Grandmother was carrying my mother Jordan Elizabeth Moody she was living on a dirt farm in Colorado with a husband that was just recovering from tuberculosis. They had five children and Mary Emma was pregnant with the sixth child, Jordan. My grandfather Charles Moody died of pneumonia five months before my mother was born, leaving Mary Emma to raise five children and a new baby on a scratch-dirt farm, alone. Can you imagine the grief and then the fear this woman must have suffered as she carried my mother: how to feed six children on a dirt-farm, how to survive without a husband, where would any money for food and seed come from, who would provide the labor for the farm? The list is endless. And I know from my counseling training that whatever the mother is feeling and thinking most of the time as she carries a child is absorbed by the fetus.
If you have read my uncle Ralph Moody’s books, Little Britches, Man of the Family, Fields of Home, and Mary Emma and Company you know that Mary Emma gathered
up her children after a year or so and brought them East where she could live with a brother until she could find housing. My grandmother took in laundry for a living and set up a laundry in the basement of the home she rented. This woman had to have been exhausted most of the time when my mother was growing up. So if my mother had any fears she wasn’t free to share them because her mother was too tired to be a support. My mother has told me that my grandmother held all the children very close to her because of fears that the boys would stray in a city environment and get into trouble. So now you are seeing a history of hard work and fear.
Now, my own birth came about after my mother had birthed two children and then lost two children. So when I arrived, with my mother fearing she might lose another
child, she coddled and spoiled me a bit. Then to make matters worse at five-years-old I contracted Rheumatic Fever, which killed children back in those days, and so my mother had another whole level of fear to deal with and transfer to me.
As things evolved I turned out okay but with my own issues to conquer. You can see clearly that there is indeed an imprint of fear in my life. So my job moving forward is finding ways to understand this imprint and to challenge myself to move beyond those fears. I can tell you about one activity to take me out of my comfort zone and that is the public speaking I must do to promote my book. So if you want to help me with this ‘fear imprint’ please find organizations who would like to hear me speak on some of the things I know about relationships, loving, accepting other people’s children, and building a blended family. Maybe together, we’ll help me get rid of this imprint!
P.S. My grandfather Charlie Moody called my grandmother May instead of the Mary so this is where I got half of my name. If you look at the picture of my grandmother and then of me you can see I was meant to carry her name.