April 2010


Remember the story of Lot’s wife? She was being taken, along with her family, away from her town of Sodom, which was about to be destroyed. They were told not to look back, but Lot’s wife did look back at the burning city and was turned into a pillar of salt.

If I mention something about my childhood, particularly about my experiences at school, someone is likely to say, “That was a long time ago. Now you have a family, friends, life is good. Best to move on.”

But that’s precisely what I did for a long time. As soon as I left school, I put it all behind me and didn’t look back. The result of that was that I had nothing to say. When others talked about their childhoods, I kept quiet. If specifically asked, I’d mumble something short and feel left out.

Now, I think that was the wrong thing to do. Our past is a part of us. If we block it out, we lose part of our personalities, of ourselves. So now I try to talk about it. I try not to listen to the voice that says, “They don’t want to know. They think you’re dwelling on the past. They think you should move on.”

Guess what? I haven’t turned into a pillar of salt. I’ve become a bit more of a real person. Talking is hard, but it’s also rewarding. And there’s always the hope that by talking I can help others, because I believe that the things that happened to me didn’t need to happen and don’t need to happen to anyone.

What do you think? Is looking back good or bad?

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As a child at school, I’d get laughed at for things I said or did. At first, it was probably no more than any child would get from other children. But for some reason – maybe because I wasn’t used to the way children treat each other – I took it personally. And for some reason, because they all laughed at me – or so it seemed – I thought they must be right, that there must be something wrong with me. For some reason, I started saying or doing things I knew they’d laugh at, just because they expected it from me.

Now, an exceedingly large number of years later, I’m still doing it. No, I don’t get laughed at any more, but people think I’m incapable of doing things and I perpetuate that notion. This came to the foreground recently, when people – nice people – clearly felt that I couldn’t cook, or clear up, or ask a stranger a question, or drive. And instead of showing them that I could do these things, I let them carry on thinking what they thought and even said and did things to make them more sure of their view of me. (Except when it came to driving; I didn’t want to cause an accident!) Why? Because if that’s what they think, they must be right. That’s how my mind works. That’s how I’ve always reacted. Unintentionally.

It’s hard to change the habits of a lifetime, but I’m going to try, because I’ve had enough. Because they’re wrong and I need to show them that.

So how do you react when people think you’re incapable? Or doesn’t that happen to you?

Well, I tried to run a competition on my blog, but in the end there was only one entry. The good thing was that this made my job of judging very easy. But I expect Annette would have preferred to have won against some other entries.

Just as I was thinking that I made a mess of this and wondering whether the task I set was too hard, or I didn’t advertise the competition enough, or I’m simply not worthy of holding a competition, Gill wrote this:

“I liked Annette’s entry and I’ll be happy to give her the prize, but wish my fractals had inspired more entries.”

So, while I was blaming my blunders, Gill was blaming her fractals. I suppose that’s better than blaming each other, although this points to a certain lack of confidence.

Hopefully, by my blog’s next birthday I’ll be more confident about running a competition. Or else I’ll let the day come and go without mentioning it.

By the way, whether you like it or not, I’m back from my bit of life and I have some ideas for posts lined up, so do come back soon.

And congratulations to Annette!

It was silly of me to think that I would have time to handle the competition just now.

The new deadline for my competition is Wednesday, 14 April, 2010. You still have time to win three fractal images. The rules are here.

Happy writing!

Is anyone else old enough to remember this?

Please do not adjust your sets.
Normal service will be resumed as soon as possible.
We apologise for the break in service.

Sometimes real life intervenes. I should be back to normal in two weeks. Maybe less….
In the meantime, don’t forget my competition.