Sunday, September 17, 2006

Good/Bad

In answer to Esereth's questions:

Some good things my mother taught me:

  • Respect your surroundings (don't litter or spray paint your name on rocks or trees). We had no money growing up as my dad was in the military, so we always went camping for vacations. I loved it.
  • Good table manners that i can call upon when needed. The mister once told me that when we first met, he thought i was elegant because of my nice table manners.
  • How to sew. Although i don't like sewing, i do own and know how to operate a sewing machine.
Some bad things my mother taught me:
  • You can use the power you have over another human to humiliate them. As kids we were encouraged to tease each other mercilessly when we discovered a tender spot. I still feel badly about some of the things we said and did to one another. Tim, i'm sorry.
  • The best defense is a loud, noisy, scary offense. I try hard not to do this, but it's still my first reaction to criticism.
  • Children are an unpleasant experience. For years i was fairly certain that i would never have children because everyone knows they are noisy, selfish and will bother you endlessly. All of which is true, but then there are the other things, which i never knew.
Some good things my father taught me:
  • It's okay to tell someone you love them. Although he didn't start doing this until i was well over 20, but better late than never.
  • It's okay to sit quietly and not talk. Communication is still occuring.
  • How to sail a boat.
Some bad things my father taught me:
  • Sarcasm. Whew, he used to be the king of that, but for the last 25 years, he rarely does it. But i still learned well from those first 25 years.
  • Passivity in the face of abuse. My mom treats this man like crap sometimes and i just wish that he would tell her to fuck off, just once.


It's so much easier to come up with the bad than the good.

7 comments:

caro said...

this is very hard. Brings back a flood of memories. Thanks to the both of you.

good mommy things:

You can never be lonely when you have a good book .

All of the beautiful songs from the american songbook. I was into Porter and Gershwin and Arlen way before it ever became trendy.

If your house is tidy, people naturally assume it is clean.

all men and women are created equal,so never judge a person by the color of their skin.

Bad mommy stuff:

Food is something bad. It makes you fat.

Neighbors should be avoided like the plague.

Talking to your kid is not a good idea. They have enough friends.

Good daddy things:

If you are going to do something, do it well.

Biking. I love biking partly because it reminds me of the long rides I used to take with him.

Food is something wonderful. Especially bacon.

Bad daddy stuff:

Girls are very cute and pretty and all but you can't really have an intelligent conversation with them.

Only people with university diplomas merit any kind of respect.

All people are not created equal.

The only way to achieve any success is to be very rich.

I am very sad right now. But in a good way. If that's possible. This is where I come from. I come from what I was given and from what I have given myself. I'm a survivor and damn proud of it!

antonia said...

I didn't meet my dad until my late teens. He taught me how to forge signatures (copy them upside down, so you're copying shapes rather than letters, as you can't help but replicate the letters in your own handwriting). He would have liked to teach me to sail, but the day he tried, the weather report was disastrously wrong and the boat pitched and rolled in horizonatal rain all the way from Nantucket to Chatham. There's so much I could learn from him, but he lives an Atlantic Ocean away.

Mother stuff: I owe my musical ability, such as it is these days, to my mum's teaching. She's shown me for nearly 35 years how I don't want to live my life, and that's helped shape me into quite a calm, organised, non-neurotic adult who doesn't fall out with family, friends or neighbours. And I'm glad of that.

bobealia said...

This seems like a good exercise. Maybe I'll do it too. One of these days...

Maggie said...

This looks like an eye-opening thing to do. And yeah, why is it the bad stuff always sticks in our brains so much stronger than the good?

Josephine said...

To be honest, I spend at least a part of every single day trying not to react to life the way that my mother always did.

And I don't drink because that's why my father did.

It gives me a sense of accomplishment to know that I'm learning from their mistakes.

meno said...

caro, that's quite the list, thank you for it. Hopefully the sadness will pass and peace will follow. (Dear god, i sound like a fucking Hallmark card.) Good for you for surviving. I'm glad you're here.

antonia, i want to know when the story of your life is coming out. I will wait in line to buy it. It's sad when we use our parents as a negative object lesson. The Mister's parents are like a handbook on how not to be, even more so than mine.

bo, come on, i know you are busy, but you can do it, and i'll bet it will be interesting.

maggie, guess it makes a deeper impression, Something to think about around our kids huh?

josephine, The only time i really tend to act like my mother is when she's around. Reversion back 40 years at the speed of light.

Esereth said...

Great post, Meno. Was it cathartic? I'm all about catharsis, you know.