Most of the things I have done in this lifetime I would not have achieved if I had believed half of the things people said to me. Positive reinforcement wasn’t exactly a strong family trait, and as they say, the nut doesn’t fall far from the tree. I based my aspirations on what I did not want my life to be. For instance, I had no desire to change thousands of dirty diapers or polish furniture. Housework in general, especially doing the dishes, held no interest for me. Was I well trained to do those tasks? Absolutely. Was I going to make it my life’s ambition to perfect those skills? Hell no!
If that’s your thing, if it brings you great joy, if your heart bursts with domestic pride, I think it is wonderful that your identity is solid. The world needs more people who have a strong grasp on who they are. If you feel pigeon holed, stereotyped or unappreciated, get a grip! No one has control over you, really, but you. I cannot abide with people who bitch and moan and whine about what they cannot do. If you can’t do something, do something else. Figure it out! The world does not revolve around you and the world certainly will not give you a prize for merely existing in it.
Oh, wait, maybe it will. Here, have a ribbon.
When I was a kid, my father was not home a lot. He hauled heavy equipment, steel, chemicals, whatever he could to make a living. Yeah, I am not going to break into a chorus of I’m proud to be a truck driver’s daughter, but as our family grew, I found myself in a support role that made me proud. I became the glue, so to speak, that held things together on the home front. When my dad was on the road, I was a “grown up,” and when he was home, I became just one of the kids again. For this reason, and others which I have blocked out, I struggled with my identity. I was capable, dependable and very much “take charge.” Confidence has never been an issue for me, but I craved acknowledgement or something that resembled appreciation. Like I said, my family wasn’t equipped with those abilities. I picked up scraps of praise from teachers, neighbors, random strangers, but if I wanted encouragement to get me through the day, yeah, that wasn’t going to happen. Once, my dad traced the outline of his hand on a piece of notebook paper, taped it to the wall and told me if I ever needed a pat on the back to lean against it. Message received.
Funny? It is now.
It absolutely makes me want to scream when I hear mothers in public saying things to their bratty, whiney, misbehaving children like, “Now Hashtag, are you making the most of your abilities to control yourself? Let Mommy hear you say today’s mantra that we established after you threw the cereal bowl on the floor this morning and she’ll take you to Build-A-Bear.”
Don’t speak in the third person to your kid! Take control of that “situation” for goddsakes!
Okay, it had to be said, I feel better now. So, where am I going with this whole smart ass, get over yourself attitude? I’ll tell you where I’m going. Anywhere I damn well please. Back to school. 2013 is about doing, about fulfilling my aspirations. Not because of what I don’t want my life to be, but because of what I do want it to be. I can’t just hope for something great to jump in front of me. It’s time for me to tackle something great. It’s time to evaluate all of my work, training, practice, service, lame attempts, dreams, good intentions and apply the super glue that brings it all together. Will I succeed?
Also, on a point of great pride and joy, our son-in-law arrived home safely from Afghanistan this morning. This year is already looking pretty awesome!