Last night I dreamed an old housemate of mine had returned. Everything was arranged in such a lovely way, but underneath it all was filth*. Not exactly like this photo, but I’ve had a few like that, too.
Isn’t that so often how we find ourselves living? Displaying shiny, happy, false fronts. Covering up our guilt and shame. Especially when we’re young.
Like most of growing up in the 1970’s, I had a Mother and a Father in the home. Even though they didn’t do a great job at protecting me from certain aspects of the “real world” they did give me lots of real-world skills for getting by in life. They taught me what’s important to keep clean, and how.
Several of my young housemates/boarders have been “latch-key” kids and it shows. It can be sad, but with the right individual, it can be inspiring too. Watching someone come into their own, without the benefit of a “proper upbringing” is pretty amazing.It takes a lot of perseverance and a willingness to fuck up.
My parents were smart, funny and beautiful. They were also well educated, well read and well mannered. They took great pride in that, I think. Maybe too much, but that’s the American way – compare your selves to others. The “best” one wins, in the form of money and prestige, right?
I always wanted to please those in authority, so it could be tough to admit mistakes. But, it got easier. Becoming a Mother does that. You’re so afraid you’ll make mistakes, you’re looking for ways you might have screwed things up! You ask for help. You seek advice. And, all of that and who surrounds you forms who you are are.
I like to attempt to quantify things. Even people, feelings, etc. So, I’m starting to wonder if the ratio of nature to nurture is not 50/50 and it’s more like 60/40 or 90/10. After all, I feel like the same person as a 51 year old grandmother, as I did at age 14 when my parents “wanted to put me in a cage” (their refrain for decades afterward).
What percentage of your upbringing do you think formed who you are? Do you value family tradition or individualism? And, do you think any of it really matters (i.e. where do you believe you are going after death?).
Just a few questions for my readers on a Wednesday morning.Thanks for diving in.
* (Note: I am not speaking of a lovely young woman with the initials BK).