Good evening, my lovely readers! I’m sure (if you follow our blog diligently) that there has been a high proliferation of posts published by me recently. Arlyn and I are trying something slightly new, namely posting when we write instead of following a posting schedule, since inspiration is apt to strike at the the most random and oftentimes, the most inconvenient times. This is mostly a meaningless ramble, but I’ve been working on a personal essay for a competition, so this is me trying to get back into the swing of writing things that aren’t 100% fiction. This is just …. somewhere in between …anyway! Onward and upward!
We are motivation driven machines. We teach our children to get through the school system, squandering their childhood amidst the stresses and pressure of letters that arrange themselves in a such a way that could influence the entirety of their futures. We teach them to get up early in the morning, attend their classes, and spend their evenings buried in books all in the name of giving them a good education. We shame the ones who can’t keep their eyes open in class because they were up too late studying the night before for the exam they had that day. We look down upon those who can’t seem to reach those high marks despite putting in the extra hours. We teach our children that they cannot be good enough, that they cannot succeed if they can not be successful in memorizing and comprehending the words on a textbook page that swims and blurs at one o’clock in the morning as your son or daughter struggles to make sense of the knowledge vomited onto the page. We teach our children that their future is dependent on filling in the correct bubbles in a #2 pencil, the yellow wood and pink eraser a dreaded utensil as they fight back tears, watching the clock tick, tick, tick away their precious time as they fight to mark every answer even as their heads begin to swim and their hands shake from the stress and not eating the day before because they were too busy studying.
Not only do we teach our children that their lives depend on their schoolwork, but we teach them to fear opening their mouths to state their opinion as they grow use to the snappy comments and the sarcastic responses we give them as they say something that goes against our mode of thinking. We teach them to be afraid of themselves and what their mind might be capable of. We teach them to fear the raised voices and the sudden, stinging motion of a hand, so that terror might light up their eyes when someone moves too quickly. We teach them that they cannot trust themselves nor can they trust anyone else, so they will live in a constant state of suspicion, trying to find their place in life and beat everyone else to it. We teach them to ignore their pain, that it doesn’t matter, that it is inconsequential, that we have also hurt and our pain was greater than theirs so they can suck it up and deal with it.
We teach them all those things. We talk about making a difference and we swear that we will never raise our children the way our parents raised us. I swear that my daughter will not be afraid to show me the marks of her pain, I swear that my son will not be ashamed of his gender identification, I swear, you swear, we all swear that things will be different. But they won’t. Because we all end up wrapped up in our own pain, our own lives, as the quiet hurt of past betrayals will eat away at our tender souls and scorch those tiny promises, those unheard “I swear …” until they are nothing but the blackened and bruised hearts that thrived in the bodies of our parents.
We will be the very people that we despised as children, who taught, follow your dreams, unless your dreams won’t make you money – in that case, find a new career. We will become the people we hated, the people we swear right now, that we will never be.
But the incredible thing that I’m learning about humans is our immense capacity to change. I find this to be one of the most underutilized aspects of being human, but it’s there, waiting for it’s moment to shine. Our nature may be what it is, but it doesn’t dictate our actions. We can be that person, that person we adored when we were children. That person that encouraged the five year old to go looking for a herd of unicorns, or told a young boy that he could be a ballerina if he wanted to be. We would be that person that taught the suicidal, depressed teenager that life was beautiful and school isn’t everything. We can be the people we want to be.
We just have to take a chance.
Take a dive.
Jump off that bridge and spiral into the unknown with all the glee of a toddler exploring the backyard for the 500th time.