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Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Rewriting my story

There are two stories in particular I've liked to tell over the years (over and over again) about my poor, deprived, painful childhood. I can easily re-frame those stories.

Why have I told them so often? Telling them repeatedly never once eased the pain of them - indeed, I suspect it added to the hurt. I suppose I did it for any number of reasons - attention, sympathy - a good reason why "I am the way I am (poor sod!)." I can choose to stop.

Story number one: One day my mother was very upset with my father. Rather than shouting and yelling and upsetting her children, she chose to walk it off. I watched her through the window, fearing she was abandoning us. Of course, she wasn't - had no intention of doing that. She loved us more than life itself. She would have found it easier to abandon her heart than her children. End of story.

Story number two: One day my father decided to punish all three of his children equally. Over and over, it was the oldest of us who was naughty and got punished. What made it worse, from my father's point of view, was that my older brother was his child from a former marriage and my father was afraid that my brother was taking it badly and personally - as thought he mattered less. Since we had all denied wrongdoing, two of us truthfully, he spanked all of us. He was doing his best to be fair. End of story.

And here's another story: once I sassed my mother - really, really sassed. My father reached across the dinner table and slapped me. I deserved it - even then I recognized it.

I was not hard done by as a child. I was loved. I still am. It's all about the story I choose to tell myself - and yes, I do have choice.

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