Cardiogirl 19 percent body fat 100 percent fun


does the past always shape the future?


I was over at Lollygrass' pad and she was talking about childhood and what kind of effect it has on people as adults. As she basically said, you never know what you're gonna get when that kid grows up. I suppose there's no hard and fast rule on that, but I definitely think it has a huge influence on the child.

I think patterns are set and depending on the "tools" you acquired as a child you are either stuck in those patterns or you have the ability to work like hell to chisel your way out of the pattern. Lolly also said "I wonder a lot of the time about the ways I would be different if my parents had been nicer people."

It's funny she said that, because my sister and I have had that conversation many times. As in, what if my father had encouraged me, rather than point out all of the flaws? When I was around 15 he did tell me he always thought my stuff was well done, he was just pointing out ways to improve it. What?

He never once said, "Cardiogirl, this is a spankin' essay. It's well-written and kept my interest. I would try to tighten up the last paragraph, though."

Instead he would say, "You need to apply yourself. The last paragraph is sloppy."

Perhaps, if he had tried option one (encouragement and then the improvement) I wouldn't feel like I could always do a better job (on anything and everything I do) if only I applied myself. Nowadays when that little voice tells me I could do better, I try to tell myself that is just my dad talking and I know I did a good job. But it's not easy.

Like Lollygrass, my sister and I wonder what kind of people we could have been had we been given a stable environment with liberal doses of encouragement. We both feel like we would have gotten to the mental place we are now (at ages 39 and 49) a lot earlier. Imagine the possibilities. . .

But, no time to cry over spilled milk, right? I'm trying to turn this ship around for my own kids. I do wonder if my oldest daughter will remember the drastic turnaround I had soon after I gave birth to my third daughter. At the time I was having a severe bout of post-partum depression. My oldest (at the time 5 years old) asked me one day, "Mom, why do you cry all the time?"

Wow, that was a major shock. I didn't realize she paid that much attention.

I'm not sure if I'll ever tell my kids about my childhood. If I did, it would be when they have children of their own. I suppose as a cautionary tale.


2007-05-28 at 7:20 a.m.

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