Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Lies my parents told me

Let me start by saying that my parents were awesome when I was growing up. They did an amazing job raising my sister and me. We were brought up in quite a liberal household with very few rules, although we were never exactly spoiled.

Looking back on my childhood, I mostly think of positive happy memories. A large part of that is due to my parents. Having said all that, there were a few things that I was taught that I found out later on were not completely true. What were some of the lies that my parents told me?

First of all, my mother liked to tell my sister and me that many things would kill us. This ranged from things like jumping out of windows, to opening up your belly button and even eating inedible berries. It was the latter that kept me up several nights, worrying that me swallowing one of those berries would actually kill me.

I guess she said those things in order for us to stay away from dangerous things, but looking back I wonder if it was necessary to go to such an extreme, as it scared me more when I did do something dangerous than that it prevented me from doing something in the first place.

Another thing my mother used to say that scared me was that spiders are never alone. Whenever there was a spider in my bedroom and I would be scared and scream for my dad to take it away, my mother would tell me “Spiders are never alone, they always travel in pairs”.

Why the hell she felt the need to tell me that I will never know. Not only is it blatantly untrue, it also kept me up plenty of nights worrying about the second spider and where it might be hiding.

One of the myths I was told as a child that I have had the hardest time trying to shake is “if you don’t finish your plate it is a waste”. A waste is really an understatement, as in my family of food loving folks who also liked to never waste anything, not eating all the food your were given was a mortal sin.

This lie stuck with me for most of my life, until a few years ago when I found myself very much overweight and I realized it is ok to not always finish your plate, especially if you are full. In the long run, it is much worse to keep stuffing yourself than to throw food out now and then.

The final lie that my parents told me was that everything happens for a reason. Even though they could never quite tell me why certain things happened, especially awful and negative events, they were always quick to say it was not random or pointless.

I spent quite some time trying to figure out these reasons for all the stuff that happened to me and my life, until I realized this was also a lie they told me. There isn’t always a reason or an explanation, sometimes bad things just happen to good people just because.

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