Today, I am happy to host Jeffrey Von Glahn on his 4WillsPublishingsponsored Blog Tour. Jeffrey Von Glahn is the author of JESSICA: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN INFANT.
Jeffrey Von Glahn, Ph.D., an experienced therapist with an unshakable belief in the healing powers of the human spirit, and Jessica, blaze a trail into this unexplored territory. As if she has, in fact, become an infant again, Jessica remembers in extraordinary detail events from the earliest days of her life––events that threatened to twist her embryonic humanness from its natural course of development. Her recollections are like listening to an infant who could talk describe every psychologically dramatic moment of its life as it was happening.
When Dr. Von Glahn met Jessica, she was 23. Everyone regarded her as a responsible, caring person – except that she never drove and she stayed at her mother’s when her husband worked nights.
For many months, Jessica’s therapy was stuck in an impasse. Dr. Von Glahn had absolutely no idea that she was so terrified over simply talking about herself. In hopes of breakthrough, she boldly asked for four hours of therapy a day, for three days a week, for six weeks. The mystery that was Jessica cracked open in dramatic fashion, and in a way that Dr. Von Glahn could never have imagined. Then she asked for four days a week – and for however long it took. In the following months, her electrifying journey into her mystifying past brought her ever closer to a final confrontation with the events that had threatened to forever strip her of her basic humanness.
This excerpt appears in Ch. 1 in the book, although it occurred in the fourth year of her therapy.
I was floating in water and hearing it flutter in my ear. I heard a steady heartbeat. I was stretching and yawning, calm and peaceful. My only concern was growing. All that was happening seemed to be in preparation for a different dimension in my life.
I remember ‘thinking’ before I was born all that was going to happen. I was going to be born so somebody could love me and touch me, so I could be enough, so I could be a part of a big, working thing and I could have an effect on the world.
All of it was going to be so neat. I was going to be a part of a whole big world. The world was a good place, and I was going to be a part of it! Me! The world was going to be better because I was here, because there was nothing like me. Nowhere could the world get what it was going to get from me. I was important, as important as anything. Even the tiniest speck!
During labor, I felt squeezed. I wasn’t frightened. I was going along with the process of being born. I was starting to get out when somebody pushed me back in. Gosh darn it! I was not in charge of my birth anymore. They were pushing my head in, and I couldn’t breathe. I was very frightened and confused. I thought I was going to die before I could get out.
Somebody was jerking me and scaring me. Everything was just jerking and pulling and turning. It hurt everywhere on my body. I didn’t know what to do. I was dizzy. I wanted to go back to where it was quiet. Make them stop! Leave me alone! Everyone leave me alone, and I’ll be just fine. Let me do it!
The doctor simply plucked me out of my mother and said, ‘Here’s the little troublemaker. I can tell she’s going to be a stubborn one.’ My mom hurt, and she hurt physically because of me. There was a lot of confusion. The lights were bright, and the room was noisy. The medical team was in a panic, and everyone was yelling.
It seemed like the whole world was a mess. Things weren’t going right, and it was all because of me—because I was ready to be born and I wasn’t doing it right! Everyone was frightened and scared, and they didn’t understand.
Two nurses took me and washed me roughly. They were talking and laughing with each other and were unaware of how they were treating me or how I felt. I remember one of them saying, ‘Who do you think you are? You’re just another person to take care of.’
I was hungry and screaming and scared. It didn’t matter. Nobody wanted to touch me and hold me and smile at me. There was a whole room full of people. I just had to wait! I wasn’t any more important than anybody else! Everyone was doing what had to be done, and I had to just behave and stop crying.
And I’d learn…I’d learn I was a nobody, that I was just like everybody else. It didn’t matter what I wanted or expected. I was in the real world, and I’d just have to wait. I was nobody special, and I didn’t deserve anything any more than anybody else did. It didn’t make any difference who I was. I was just one more person to take care of. It all made me feel like I wasn’t what they were looking for, like I was a nobody. Who the hell was I?
They weren’t concerned about me. They were just concerned with what I had done and how hard I had made it for everybody. Like I had any control over it! All I had done was be born. And it was no big deal! I came out ‘thinking,’ ‘Ta, ta, I’m here!’ And everybody goes, ‘Big deal!’
“Everybody felt like I had to prove myself. It was like everybody thought it was a tough, mean, crummy world. Welcome to it, kid! You’re no different than the rest of us. It’s all crummy and rotten and look what you’re a part of. They must have had a lot of bad attitudes.
“I felt like going and hiding. What did I do good? I was just born! It didn’t matter what I had to offer. Nobody saw any good in me. I was waiting for someone to be so delighted and happy I was here, that I was out and now the world was a better place because there was one more good thing. Nobody felt I had contributed something only I could. I thought something unique had just happened and never in the space of time would anything like that happen again, because I was different. I was one of a kind, and I could contribute things nobody else could.
I do feel like I’ve committed a grave transgression because I was born. Because of me, I added more hurt to this world. I didn’t add good things. I wasn’t good, and special, and one of a kind. I felt so awful, like I didn’t have a right to live.
Everybody thought the world was crummy and a mess and that I added to the awfulness and the crumminess. I felt so disappointed. Yuck. This was what I had waited for?
After being cleaned up, I went to sleep. When I woke up, I decided to give the world another chance. It was tough being born. It was.
Then she looked at me directly and asked, “Do you remember all this stuff? Do you think I’m cuckoo? I know all this happened.
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“JESSICA: THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF AN INFANT“ by Jeffrey Von Glahn
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