I find myself burdened by the weight of my own humanity.

Despite taking melatonin pretty consistently (by that I mean at nearly the same time each evening with few missed nights), I am again waking in the wee hours of the morning.

Two nights (days?) ago, I was up at 1:30. I mean, wide awake. I got up to not disturb my beloved and went back out to the family room to finish watching a movie I’d started. I discovered that HBO Max has the entire Studio Ghibli collection and I’ve been methodically watching every one of the offerings. I had an hour to go on the film in question and finished it, crying occasionally along the way.

If you haven’t watched any Studio Ghibli, you should.

It’s more than animation, anime, cartoon, or whatever moniker you think it should have. I mean sure, Ponyo or My Neighbor Totoro fits, but the story line for The Wind Rises (which was the one that was making me cry the other night/day) is feature film.

Anyway, through it all, I question my me-ness. As I do more self-appraisal, I notice more of the shortcomings.

Self-appraisal will do that. I find it easy to identify the things that should be in the ‘Not So Much’ column versus the ‘Hey, You Done Real Good’ column.

One thing I wrote in my journal this morning was about recognition versus being recognized. I see the former as those times when we receive praise or accolade for something we’ve done or said, while the latter is a matter of being ‘seen’. To be seen means to have one’s human-ness acknowledged.

I have moments where I want recognition and where I want to be recognized. It hurts to not feel either, but are they necessary to life? Assuredly not, since life comes from the intake of sustenance and air …

But in reflection, I recognize something now that I never have before — that I missed some elemental nurturing, or at least I think I did, in my early years.

There was a scientific experiment where a two baby monkeys were put with different types of ‘mothers’ to assess the importance of nurturing. Both babies were with fake ‘moms’ who provided food. However, one ‘mom’ was soft, covered in plush cloth and the other was basically a metal frame. Results showed that the baby who had been fed by the \’soft’ mom thrived and the other did not.

I’d be curious if there had ever been a psychological addition made to that experiment. However, it would only work with human subjects: provide appropriate nurturing for both babies, but tell one that they didn’t get it.

Sounds cruel, doesn’t it?

But I lived that experiment in a way. I was told by someone I trust that one of my caregivers seemed not to want me when I was little, but that I was cared for by another.

Now, looking back at the awkward and painful paths my life has taken, I wonder if my nurture bone atrophied. It’s a conundrum for sure.

As I work this year on increasing my humility, I pray to be able to advance my humanity as well. I need that peace of mind.

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