What we experienced yesterday, affects who we are today.
Here are some of my own personal examples:
As a child, my parents were hyper-vigilant about quiet when I went to sleep. Not sure how, with two older sisters living in a 150 year old house. But they did. So today, I must sleep with earplugs. Mom thinks it's ridiculous and likely unhealthy, but if I don't and a dog barks five blocks away, I'll hear it and wake up.
Weekly Catholic Mass was a routine from my childhood, making it a big deal. A spoke in the wheel so-to-speak. We used to play mass at home and communion was clearly the most exciting part. We'd take turns being the Priest~ almost a sacrilege since we were girls ~offering one another the "Body of Christ". We even tried to make the Eucharist out of bread. So hard to find unleavened bread in those days. They were poofy white circular sacraments made with the rim of a shot glass. So much tastier than the real thing. We'd even try to smush them down with the palms of our hands. So ... to this day when I give a treat to any dog in my family, in my mind I say .... "Body of Christ".
In that same vein, the smell of a church with it's incense and stale air, makes me feel somewhat verklempt~ overcome with emotion~to this day. It feels familiar, so I feel comfort. It feels authoritative, so I feel anxious. The enormous paintings of the 'Stations of the Cross' make me sad. The humanitarian in me remembers feeling so confused as a child. The power and glory intermingled with brutality and death. But all for me and my sins ... so I can be forgiven. No wonder why I've had issues with guilt.
Today, I fear heights because of when I fell off of the wood pile. I can still find the scar at my hairline. I don't like amusement park rides, possibly because of the time my big sisters made that teeter-totter out of a ladder and a lawn-mower. I was all dressed up to go out with my folks ... with blood-droplets on my gown.
My folks never fought in front of me. So it's never felt right to scream. My Dad never hunted, so I forever saw the season through those other eyes. I cannot recall a time when we didn't have a pet. Sometimes several different kinds. So to this day, I feel absolutely desolate without one too.
I grew up in a small community, related to more than half. As children we were reminded and possibly molded to be kind and friendly children who make eye contact and respond when spoken to. Because of this, I have a very hard time with the chit-chat. It's possible I do it too much. Maybe that's why I love Facebook ... chit chats 24/7. If only I could get paid to chew the fat.
And then we mustn't forget the other ways that upbringing molds us. You have to pull out for a more macro view to see this. Rather than an imprint being directly related to a situation, we're imprinted by other more broad things like customs and belief systems, and by the words used and the ways in which arguments were ended, fights broken up. As my sister Kelly reminded me many months ago, I have always been about what's FAIR. I've always seen a sort of par system needed. Inequality in all it's shades of the rainbow has never seemed right to me.
So I can only surmise that mom and dad were very much about that too. In fact, I know this is true, because I see it in how they interact with my niece, their only grandchild. The only game we really play as a family is Crokinole. Do you remember that game? Many a fingernail was perpetually marked from too many Crokinole games. Well ... rules are rules. And there have been times when my niece has taken extra turns, or attempted to bend the rules in some way. My dad is all over that shit. In fact, he refused to continue to play once last year. It was kind of a big deal. Tears abound. And yes ... that may be one of those defining moments that really stands out for Maddie. That one action by my Dad ~her Papa could direct her passion in life. I think that's a great inspiration! Maybe she'll be a lawyer though I really hope not. Maybe a Politician. Maybe my niece will be Prime Minister of Canada and will finally bring back true socialism and the real united one love.
I see the future in her eyes. And though we all want to shield our children from their lives and all the shit that it includes, we can't. We shouldn't. For every single experience~ the good and the bad ~affects the outcome of our lives. Due to this fact, I am SO DIFFERENT now that I spent time off the rails, learning lessons, seeing truths. It changed me to be who I am today. And who I am NOW is the happiest I've ever been before. I am the most content now ... content with knowing that I live what I feel, I speak what I know, I live how I love. That may be more important to some of us than it is to others. For me it's the only way.
I am imprinted with memories, experiences. And so are you. They are the recipe ingredients, the ingredient list, the make up of the contents therein. They are you. And this effectively takes the pressure off of you. Live today. Give yourself a break. And don't forget to smell some roses along the way.