"There's a bit of magic in everything, and some loss to even things out." -Lou Reed

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

How we are who we are

I have had a bad day...ok the king of bad days today, and sometimes when that happens, I get a little lost in thought, so be warned: long, rambling blog posting ahead. But, please also refer to my About Me description--"aspiring writer"--ahem, yeah, that's me. And this comes with the territory.
My parents don't know about my blog, my mother would absolutely die and worry herself to death that every ax murder in the tri-state area could somehow track me down via this blog. But mostly they don't know about it so I can post about anything without worry or censorship.
I am constantly perplexed by how I have become who I am...how I managed to hold it together through some things in my life--and not in others--and form the belief systems I have, the career, the hopes I have for myself and my future.
Some of it starts with where you start--where we start-- our families. I look at some of my friends, these amazing people, and some have these amazing families that mirror their success. I can see this person or that person and say-yup, that is the result of that strong, loving, caring family-- they share the same tight-knit bond--all of them--in this large circle.
Others come from cobbled, maybe dysfunctional backgrounds where only part of the family is the strength, or none at all. And yet, a fantastic person sprouted from that.
So, most of you know my background, some of it is still a mystery to me at times. But the real mystery to me is that we are who we are--so singular--so independent-- so apart from some things that should be ingrained in us.
I remember when I was little, I played at a friend of my parent's mother's house. She lived in this big, beautiful old white house and sometimes I spent the night there--sleeping in a bedroom at the top of the stairs. There was a wall hanging in the room--the title read "Children Learn What They Live". To this day, I can remember that wall hanging, the colors, everything. For some reason, I used to be captivated by those words and the ones that followed the title. I guess because there was a lot going on with me when I was little, and I don't know, I guess I saw something there--and I remember thinking of the things I did and didn't want to learn by living them.
And while I do think that is true-- that children learn what they live--for the most part--sometimes they have the power to not learn those things and to persevere and then teach something far greater.
I think of things that my parents learned growing up in a much different time and a much different place, that are well, wrong. And somehow, even with their belief systems so firmly in place and more than pushed on me, I grew up with a totally opposite set of beliefs about things--and it was always that way for me. I never saw these issues the way they did. I saw them with my own eyes--and to me that is fascinating.
Now, I still have my issues--trusting people too much--and too easily (uggh-today, people), this whole perfectionist thing, the worrying thing, being a bit of a sap....well the list goes on. But out of the lot I could have ended up with, this list is pretty decent.
I am also made more aware of this as I begin to volunteer again with the Guardian ad Litem program here in NC. (I first did this back in college--WAY back in the day) This organization is near and dear to my heart--being a child's voice in court. But watching these kids hopefully NOT learn what they lived through, but learn what they have survived and conquered instead, now that's worth watching.

There are varying versions of Children Learn What they Live on the internet, and the one I remember was pretty long. Most show the shortened version. Here is, I think, a close version with the important ones highlighted:

by Dorothy Law Nolte

If a child lives with criticism,
She learns to condemn.
If a child lives with hostility,
He learns to fight.
If a child lives with ridicule,
She learns to be shy.
If a child lives with shame,
He learns to feel guilty.
If a child lives with tolerance,
She learns to be patient.
If a child lives with encouragement,
He learns confidence.
If a child lives with praise,
She learns to appreciate.
If a child lives with fairness,
He learns justice.
If a child lives with security,
She learns to have faith.
If a child lives with approval,
He learns to like himself.
If a child lives with acceptance and friendship,
He learns to find love in the world.


Cassandra August 20, 2008 at 12:14 AM  

Some people see those sappy pillows in Hallmark that say "I have become my mother" and think "oh no!"-- I see them and think "Yeah--and I kick ass!" Perspective is a gift sometimes.

I am really proud of you for the Guardian ad Litem work-- that is a huge responsibility that not many people could handle!

Here's to tomorrow being better! And if it makes you feel any better, call me and I will make asinine jokes about everybody that pissed you off today. Deal?

lydia eve August 20, 2008 at 9:00 AM  

I often wonder how some people can see horrible things in their childhood and grow up to live lives that are totally opposite that, and others see the same things and grow up to repeat them. I believe part of it is having SOMEONE to demonstrate a better way to live, and being able to have that perspective as a child--to know that a better life is possible and achievable. Your work with the Guardian ad Litem program is giving that to children that need it desperately. You should be proud of the lives you are saving.

Paula... September 1, 2008 at 6:48 AM  

I am constantly in awe at the strength and courage of so many people. To endure so much throughout their childhoods and to go on to better themselves and not become carbon copies of their parents. These people possess such inner strength and determiantion that most people could only dream of.


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