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!
27 thoughts on “That’s Affirmative”
That tracing of a hand print hit home – I was a kid being parented by kids and they just didn’t know better. I think that that early independence may not have given me the encouragement I craved, but it did push me into making decisions and handling things at an early age. I love the idea of moving forward and tackling new challenges – Here’s to a great start in 2013!
We did survive, didn’t we? Two tough broads, who can handle whatever comes our way! Yeah!
Amen , sister!
It’s affirmative that I love this post, Honie. You and I have so much in common, you have no idea. I too am thinking of going back to school. There’s lots of stuff to overcome and the task seems a bit overwhelming right now, but you just got to take it “bird by bird” (Anne Lamott). Good luck to you and I feel certain you will achieve whatever you set out to do. So glad your son-in-law is home. 2013 — watch out!!! xxoo
Well, Brigitte you are my sunshine! Back to school. It sounds so exciting, doesn’t it? The drive to and from the campus is going to be bird by bird for sure! 🙂 HA! I have two big projects so far and I can hardly wait to see which one makes it to the finish line first!
Here’s to owning it in 2013.
So glad your son-in-law is home! I am waiting with baited breath for other sons and daughters to come home safely.
Families certainly do help to sometimes define what we don’t want to be. Mine did that also, like you I am thinking this year will be the year I return to school, one more time. Loved reading this!
It’s on our minds everyday, isn’t it? Not only when will they all come home, but also what will they do when they get here? We need an alternative to the economy of war. Maybe if congress got a raise they could come up with something. Oh, wait, that’s just crazy talk.
What will you study?
I am hoping for a blended Ph.D in Social Anthropology at Texas Womens but since this is a non-standard I will have to convince them first.
That was crazy talk, but not too crazy. It will take a few of us to begin standing up and demanding real focus and real change.
So, are you in Texas?
I know! Elected representatives get a raise while donations are being solicited to help wounded veterans? Have we lost our minds?
Outside of Dallas, third generation Texan
Woe is me
Well, I hope you’re successful convincing TW. I’m going to UNT. Excited about the program, but not looking forward to the drive.
I have no idea why, but part of me is morbidly curious to see the further adventures of maladjusted Baby Hashtag.
I wonder if they will teach her to spell it out or if she’ll just go by #.
She may want to stay away from music classes, where her friends will mispronounce it as “Sharp”.
Funny how families can be such a drag to the self-esteem. But you have kicked that horse in the ass and gotten back on! So excited to hear you are going back to school.
And what a great 2013 with the family (with son-in-law) all back together again!
All good things.
In this moment, it is all good. You know, it’s just like me to kick a horse and then try to get back on it. What am I thinking? The challenge is exciting and a little daunting, but it will be oh so much fun!
It will be so much fun, and so much blog fodder. I’m looking forward to reading all about it.
I get the whole “basing aspirations on what you don’t want in your life”. Oh well, aspirations all have to start somewhere. Good luck at school this year!
True. It’s the starting somewhere and getting nowhere that screws us up, isn’t it? Thanks for the good luck wish. I’ll carry it with me in my trapper keeper. HA!
Once again, you rock, Honie! I look forward to posts about your adventures going back to school!
Yep, it’s Honie’s Rockin’ New Year – sure to be high adventure! Thanks 🙂
I have always had a host of people to stand there and tell me I could not do anything, those that said go for it, I could count on the fingers of one hand.
You are absolutely right.
Well, whatever you want to do that’s good for you in 2013, Go For It!
“the world certainly will not give you a prize for merely existing in it.”—Loved that line. I always cringe when people call other people’s accomplishments ‘luck.’ Behind most ‘luck’ is a huge amount of work.
So glad to hear your son-in-law is home safely. Your daughter must be thrilled and relieved.
Happy New Year!
It takes blood, sweat and tears plus a little spit to make our own luck. Yes, she is thrilled. We all are. The happiest of years are ahead!
You go! That is all I’ve got, my family wasn’t too good on the affirmation thing either.
I’ll take it. Thanks.