Tuesday, December 12, 2006

I blame them...

I am who i am because of them.. after years of searching for my identity, and smugly bragging about forming my own person, and shaping my own life, today i find that i am exactly a cross between my mother and father. I am severely mournful of all that time spent in delusion that i had any say in how i turned out at all.
My mother married at 18, she married for love, after she had dated a christian for four years before, and directly after he had converted for her, she met my dad and ditched her much forbidden love, for real love. She was only 18 when she married, imagine if she had a few more years to "date"! Can anyone blame me really for dating sailors and agnostics? Can anyone wonder at my inability to settle for anything but the real thing?
My mother is also a very fixed in her ways woman, she is a bizarre mix between liberal and open minded and change fearing control freak. She has never imposed her authority, she gently instills ethics, and never rules. But you cannot, simply cannot convince her of anything, she bought a CD player 4 years after they hit the market, for four years she claimed to know better, ditto for cell phones, ditto for cable, etc etc.... Is it really so weird that i double check after people's work and am stubborn to the point of being hectic?

My father, now he, i have never really met. He passed away when i was six, but i remember him fairly well. He is the man i never saw frowning, the man who pampered me endlessly, the man i hid the cigars from. It has happened on several occasions that people look at my ID and ask me if i am his daughter, i say yes to the stranger, and i am automatically served better, talked to nicer, smiled at in gratitude. I thought this bizarrely freakish. When i reported this to my mom, she smiled knowingly like it was the most natural thing in the world. Stories of him were scarce till i lost my childhood friend in a car crash at 19, i was having trouble dealing with death so my mother took me away for two weeks and started telling me about my father.
He was a volunteer doctor with the P.L.O at one time, he was offered the position of Minister of Health in Nigeria and turned it down, he was the reason my mother's brother had a roof on his head, everyone adored him, he was a very heavy drinker and smoker (borderline alcoholic), he gambled his inheritance away, he was very possessive of her and he died of his second heart attack at 49. After his first heart attack he was told to stop drinking and smoking, my mother reports him saying "if i can't live the way i enjoy my life then I'm not really living am i?" Meanwhile he never complained about his health. He was a very giving tolerant man.
I rest my case.
Is it any wonder at all that i am an extremist?
Between the two of them, i drink with severe enjoyment but never allow myself to lose control, i quit smoking with difficulty to avoid heart attacks that i am prone to, but i did quit. I am an idealist who believes everyone can make it out there, yet i am incapable of team working.
I could go on and on, but i am simply them split in half and sewed up to make a new human being. They passed on their contradicting strengths and weaknesses, i have his tolerance but not the firmness, i have her neurosis without the skepticism. Basically they gave me the good things without the counter acting strength to save me from abusing myself....
Yikes! Well at least i don't get his addiction to alcohol and gambling, my wilderness takes other directions, the mothers directions..
I don't know why i ever bothered to analyse myself so much or try to change character traits and such, i would've ended up here anyway, it's the way i was made.

I have only one hole in this theory; my sister...


Amnesiac said...

Is your sister younger or older than you?

N said...

8 years older.

Cairene said...

I have an 8 year old sister, from my father but from a different mother. My sister is my opposite in so many different ways. Maybe one thing that I had when I was 8 in common with her is being stubborn.
I lost it as I grew up.
The fact that we have one parent in common doesn't mean anything because my dad now is not my dad 20 years ago, at all.

Now my grandmother used to say that every single person you meet gives you a present, something that you can use...but they never tell you how or when to use it.
I think parents are like that. I got persistence from my mother and hard-work from my father. They never told me how to use these things and I am not even pretending that I know how to. But maybe the way to figure this out is by tracing different presents back to their origin; hoping that one will, then, figure out how to use them. (this is a long comment)

Amnesiac said...

Well I ask because as you of course know, rank in the sibling hierarchy + differing amount of parental influence = very different children.

Not only am I stating the bloody obvious, but I am also an only child, so in fact have zero empirical evidence to back up my Dr Phil level child psychology theories.

In any case I always used to become infuriated by my father's fastidious attention to detail in e.g. spelling, and now bore my own friends with my pedantry about grammar, so there does seem to be something in your theory.

N said...

Cairene: your grandmother is a very wise woman.

Amnesiac: what do they say about the first born?

Juka said...

Hmm. Would you like evidence that you are wrong? or that you are right?

Scenario 1: You are right and you did take after your parents and your sister is just the exception that proves the rule.

Scenario 2: You are wrong and you are an independent character formed by her own experiences and her own free will or else all siblings would be replicas of one another. You just get influenced by the surrounding environment, its normal.

N said...

i beg to differ, i have not been "surrounded" by my father in 20 years..

try again :)

Mumbo Jumbo said...

Be proud of who you are no matter how similar or different you are from anyone else.

I never really felt inner peace until I stopped trying to figure out what type of person/ group of people I was like/ unlike until I just decided to accept and like me the way I am.

You seem like an awesome strong, independent person in any case.

Again, like Amensiac- I'm turning into Dr. Phil over here. :)

A side question: Are you close to your sister? Did you feel that you cannot relate to her or are not close to her because of the age difference?

(Weird, I know, but I'm just curious, because I don't thnk I want another kid before like 5 years; that would be about an 8 year difference between my son and his brother/sister and everyone seems to think it is against humanity or something.)

N said...

Mumbo Jumbo:

"I never really felt inner peace until I stopped trying to figure out what type of person/ group of people I was like/ unlike until I just decided to accept and like me the way I am."

you're so right, i started realizing that a few months ago, its a process though, am on my way i hope!

"You seem like an awesome strong, independent person in any case."

you tend to say things i like to hear :D thank you.

as for your question, i don't get along with my sister at all. i am not saying age difference is the only reason, but the older sibling has trouble with the young one growing up and the younger one becomes very critical of the older one. it can go very smoothly mind you, but a character clash in my case makes it quite a malfunctional relationship. i would not have them that far apart if i had a choice. sorry :(

Amnesiac said...

N I've heard from numerous sources that the first born sibling is overly serious and responsible because of constantly having to stop the younger one from setting fire to the sofa.

Actually my father is a good example: he is the eldest boy of 5 siblings, and when his dad died (when my dad was 14) he automatically assumed the man of the house role, and is still very responsible and takes things far too seriously to this day. In contrast his youngest brother (who was 4 when the dad died) was always carefree and far more laid-back.

It is also interesting to note that the older 3 siblings exposed to my grandfather's quite stern influence for longer than the two youngest ones turned out quite differently, in my opinion.

Us only children are generally either sociopaths or constantly have to have 50,000 people around us in order to ward off the loneliness phobia. Or is that just me?

N said...

you really know your stuff :)
firstly with me and my sister it is quite the opposite, she is the one off setting fires to sofas, and tends to flee most responsibility or family obligation. maybe my family is just bonkers!

you are not the exception to only children in my opinion. and believe me, needing people around you is much much much better than being so spoilt that no people can stand getting anywhere near you (the other kind of only children).

Carmen said...

I tried and tried and tried, but no matter how much I struggled I still ended up being almost a carbon copy of my parents!!!!

palo-girl said...

u know, even though i love my parents, growing up to be like them has always been my biggest fear, and ive always fought it wih my whole being. i really hope ur theory is wrong! i just dont see myself in my parents.. or maybe its because im trying so hard not to see it :s

N said...

Carmen: tell me about it!

Palo-girl: i have a friend who spent her time in her room from 12-17, painting her walls, drawing graffiti all over, painting herself, founding anarchist groups, dating skateboard fellas and going for the most horrifying hair cuts in her mission to not turn into her uptight, strict conservative mother.
In the last two years she got married, had a baby, now has the perfect house out of a catalogue and a very decent man, and is as uptight and conservative as her mother. she even speaks like her.
i personally think those were 5 wasted years...