Thursday, December 16, 2010

We are who we are

My parents visited for Thanksgiving. It was good to see them, though somewhat fraught with old baggage and expectations. You know how it is, those patterns are established when you're young and you spend the rest of your life struggling to break free from them.

While here, my mother reminded me of how when I was a child, if I ate something I particularly loved, I would  dance and make yummy noises, humming while I chewed. She said this right after I took a particularly delectable bite of turkey and had closed my eyes and was, yes, making yummy noises while wiggling a little. She was delighted. I was mortified. I am 43, not four.

She's right. I am still who I was when I was a child. Even if I changed my name, my appearance, my locale, some things about me would be constant. As I've been thinking about this, it gives me comfort.

I was thinking about it prior to my parent's visit when I was going through a box of old papers they had saved for years and now have given to me. It's the kind of stuff parents save - report cards, the drawings that lived on the fridge, that kind of stuff. Most of it is honestly of little value to me, but I did find my first and second grade notebooks.

In looking through them I learned this about myself:
  • I have always asked questions and gone in directions teachers found distracting
  • I have always had terrible handwriting (the notebooks are full of teacher's comments, asking me to write more clearly)
  • and I have always had a far-too active imagination.
No matter how hard we try, we cannot escape ourselves and this is sometimes a good thing. Our childhood selves can give us gifts of imagination, of unrepentant pleasure and of hope. When we remember what was best about ourselves in our innocence we find it still lives within us, even if it is sometimes a little embarrassing, in these adult bodies. I would still like to be a raddit rabbit some days. I certainly love imagining what it might be like.

I am who I am. We are who we are.  Popeye was onto something.

(c)2010 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License

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True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
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