“Learn to light a candle in the darkest moments of someone’s life. Be the light that helps others see; it is what gives life its deepest significance.” – Roy T. Bennet

Archive for the ‘Wondering’ Category

Rewards

What parent doesn’t want to tell their child, “you’re the best,” or “you can do anything”?

Giving out trophies en mass teaches children that they don’t need to strive for anything to be rewarded.

And when we tell our kids that they deserve the world and the world doesn’t give them anything – they shout in frustration and wallow in loneliness and lash out.

We tell them to ignore the “haters” because they are better than them. We put one above and one below and lose equal standing.

Here we create their superiority complexes.

So then a child believes themselves to be a god and can control who stays and who goes and doesn’t understand the consequences.

(In hindsight – they understand. They always do. And then they end themselves to keep from facing reality.)

But we have created this. Us, the domineering parents. The ones whose children can do no wrong, can be the best, can ignore all else.

We cannot ignore the warning signs. We cannot give our children the world because it is not ours to give. We can teach them to treat others as equals, and to love the bullies and the loners and the popular kids. There doesn’t need to be a hierarchy in our schools or in their minds.

(There can be winners and losers in games because that is healthy competition and they can strive to be the best of their own selves.)

But if our children are handed ribbons for participation, when they are dropped into the real world they will have nothing.

And their minds cannot coincide with reality because they still believe they are the best. And so it continues…and they suffer…and others suffer.

Because we didn’t get a trophy when we were their age.

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Quirks

There are so many things that our parents have taught us. Many of these things are subconscious. Here are a few quirks and mannerisms that my husband has learned from his parents:

Instead of orange juice, they have “ornch” juice. Despite my efforts, he has and always will say it that way.

His dad has never been one for rushing. even though his mother hustles and bustles about like a bee. One of them is generally ten minutes late while the other is sometimes close to twenty minutes early.  My husband has taken on the former habit, having rejected the need to be early to every event. To make up for that, he stays until the end of every get-together. That is actually how we came to start dating. He would come over to the college group that met at my parents’ house and stay until nearly midnight in order to talk to me.

There is no such thing as height. It is “heighth”. Although it is technically not in the dictionary, it is simply a colloquialism from Old English. It also makes sense to say “heighth'” when we have “width” and “length” and “depth”. I have noticed that even his grandparents say it this way. I do not.

A glass of water always accompanies your meal. It has helped me to drink more water, although I’ve had to remind his family multiple times that I don’t drink it with ice (as I am clumsy and tend to spill when big ice cubes get in the way).

He cannot stand being woken up in the mornings. I guess that back when he went to school his mother would have to wake him every morning. Now, it seems to give him a sort of traumatic reminder of his childhood (because getting woken up in the morning is incredibly traumatic).

As he so often reminds me, money should be spent on good shoes. A good pair of shoes is worth every dollar to him and his dad. If the fit is even slightly off, the shoes will be returned and anyone that thinks of buying them should think twice. Both of these men have extremely picky feet, so there are many shoes that do not pass their tests.

Now, let me set you straight. I’m not making fun of my husband’s (or in-laws’) ways. I like to observe and make note of my observations. Next up, things that I do and say that I get from my parents.

 

 

First Impression

I have always been curious as to how people view me, especially upon first impression. Depending on what sort of social situation I am in, I will put out a certain front. If I know most of the group I try to act as I normally am. I will crack jokes, maybe have a few conversations, and then I recluse after I’ve had enough. 

As an introvert, I realize I am most at ease when I am alone. After a while, however, I start to crave human company. I need a conversation, an exchange, something to remind myself that I am not a complete recluse. I sit in coffee shops or browse bookstores for the sake of interaction. I don’t need to have a full-blown conversation, normally. I simply need other humans in my vicinity to acknowledge.

So how do people see me, then? Am I a wallflower? A flash of colour passing by? Am I mysterious or intriguing or do I even stand out in any way? Would I be considered awkward or strange? I can be open and talkative one second and then closed up the next. Does that make me confusing or sullen? Seemingly mature or the exact opposite? Do I look world-weary or naive?

What do people see when they see me?

Language

I can’t help but be drawn to languages. Communication and the fine use of words are beautiful things. It bothers me when people do not care about the language they are speaking. A lot of people only speak half a language; they speak a watered-down version of English, full of crass and mispronounced verbalizations. I understand that upbringing plays a large part in this, but then there is also the world of the Internet in which many people get lazy. From laziness comes a lack of care which becomes a bounty of grammatical errors. I am not perfect in this as I also grow lazy with my words.

My mom read to me and my five brothers when we were younger. She has always had a compelling storyteller voice, and even as we grew older, we would still listen in as she read to the younger kids. This brought a love of books to our family. We would collect series and try to read books before anyone else got to them. Our favourite series was the Redwall series, written by a man named Brian Jacques. We would take his fantastical stories to the backyard and pretend to be talking mice and otters and foxes. Even as an adult I am sure I would still play those games if it were societally acceptable.

I was lucky to have the childhood I did. I can speak and write and I hold a desire to learn inside of me. There are those, however, that never were given the chance. Kids drop out of school, dread homework, can’t even add sums or multiply simple numbers. It’s a hard world for learning, but I must reiterate: the language you speak is important. It is the difference between a high-paying career and minimum wage. It is the difference between forgiveness for a ticket and an instant fine. This is a prejudice but oftentimes a truth. We can use language to our advantage. After all, it is what convinces a nation to vote for a president, to believe what they read, and to take a single comment as complete truth. The moment someone types your instead of you’re, their opinion is instantly disregarded. It matters.

While I intend to complete my knowledge of the Spanish language, I am still learning the English language. There are words that I have never heard or have never dared to utter for fear of mispronunciation. English is complex and brimming with rules and exceptions to these rules. I occasionally bend these rules for the sake of rebellion and/or poeticism. All in all, maybe I simply wish for everyone to have the same draw toward their own language. Perhaps then our communication wouldn’t be so lacking.

 

Scoliosis


This isn’t normally something I like to show other people. I’ve tried to train myself into accepting every part of me, but when it comes to my back I like to ignore it. I don’t like seeing my awkward bend and I hate the feeling of tight shirts on my protruding rib cage. When I sit in the company of others I sit as tall as possible. When my husband captures pictures of my back, I normally delete them. 

The above photo makes me cringe, makes me sit up straight. I don’t like seeing my flaws so front and center. Once when I was stretching, my brother went, “Uggh! Your back!” That hurt more than it should have, because it is part of me, and not something I can ever change without surgery.

A few facts about scoliosis:

-Scoliosis is about 10 times more likely to occur in women than it is in men. 

-Usain Bolt – you know, fastest sprinter on the planet – has scoliosis. I’m curious what sort of stretches he does for the pain.

-Hitler viewed scoliosis as a disability and ran his freaky experiments on people with scoliosis, which absolutely terrible and terrifying.

Back to what I was saying. I hope that someday I’ll see this as just something that makes me stronger. It’s painful, especially when carrying a baby around and trying to sleep comfortably, but as long as I exercise and don’t sit too long, I can function just fine with it.

If you have any sort of insecurity about your body, I encourage you to talk about it and try to accept it as part of you. We’re all flawed humans and sometimes our flaws really do make us stronger or more interesting or simply just…us. We are as different as leaves on trees or blades of grass. We are tall, short, round, straight, curved, uneven, and everything else in between, and there is no problem with any of that.

Some of the Best Things in Life

Have you ever been out on an arid day, working hard or walking too far and then, suddenly, it hits you. The thirst. So unquenchable you are near gasping for breath; the rattle in your chest reaching audibility. It sends dense. thick heaviness through your muscles and bones and you feel incredibly weak to the point of falling until…

…you drink a glass of cold, refreshing water.

Some of the best things in life are so trivial, and yet so important. And, yes, it is stifling out today.

 

To Think

Being young and having a baby puts me in an awkward place with my peers. Most women my age are only just getting engaged, or otherwise they are in school and working five days a week. This places me at the edge of circles, not yet old enough to be considered in the mom groups and in such a different place in life that I feel strangely mature in my usual group of friends.
I know I’m not the only mom to feel this way. My life doesn’t revolve fully around my child and husband. I don’t have dinner on the table every night. I just want to go on long runs in the forest and come home to a smiling baby, but that’s an impossible daydream.
I do like to work. I enjoy the feeling of earning my money and paying bills. I enjoy helping others.
Maybe what I’m trying to say is that I feel too young, too old, too busy, too lazy, and nowhere near where I wish I were in life.
I’ve always dreamt of traveling the world and learning new languages, of meeting new people and living in both poverty and riches in order to fully understand the world. I wanted to be a police officer, unbiased toward even the most distinctly different person. I wanted to be a writer, able to carry emotions in my words and change people though them. I wanted to be a wanderer, untethered by family or feelings and able to explore the entire expanse of the earth by wit alone.
But I found myself married at twenty years old and it’s possible that none of those dreams will ever come into fruition. And perhaps that is all they ever were: dreams. They were ideas that I latched onto and ruminated over so often that I found no fault in them.
Now I do find fault in them. They are missing my husband and my son and my family and friends and perhaps I feel for them more than I let on. I can be stoic and tired and hard and untouchable but I don’t think I can live without the people that surround me.
I sympathize for moody teenagers because I was one, but I also understand the need for stability and nine to fives and those days that drag on because they mean you love and are loved. I love and am loved, and I could continue to pine away for my unfulfilled dreams but sometimes things come into your life that you never expect and you never knew you needed.
I never meant for this to become what it is, but I guess I needed to write some things out for them to make sense in my head. Thank you for listening.

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