I admit I tend to see and analyze judge patterns of behavior in families. I see my own children do it too. Just over Halloween, my daughter came home from a Halloween function with a friend and her mother and very loudly declared that them “rude an unmannered” as they never said please or thank you for anything “the entire day”.
I think back to when my daughter was learning shapes and patterns in preschool and how we pass patterns down from generation to generation and how the role of the patterns play in our lives today. My daughter was embarrassed by her friends not saying please and thank you. These are just the “magic words” she learned as a young child when she was given something, to show manners, to be polite.
I’ve been thinking about my own thought patterns of the past (some of which still hold true today). Some of my strengths are very much the qualities that have pulled me through some very tough times, but there are times when these very same strengths have nearly been my downfall.
I have to admit I have a bit of a stubborn side. This has been a strong internal driving force inside of me that, I believe, has nothing to do with the fact that I was born under the sign of the Taurus (who clearly curse a lot!). I am very strong-willed and a bit of a control freak. I have strong opinions about the way things should be done and if you would like to state your opinion about how I should do things, I will be happy to do just the opposite. I obviously have a very bad case of denial, too, because when you feel like you have to control everything – typically, you don’t have control over anything.
This may be another reason why when someone tells me they “guarantee me” something, I call bullshit. Or I have trouble breathing when my son does not text me on time when he is out of the house with friends, when people do not do what they say they are going to do, when the past invades the present, with a cancer dx….because when you feel like you’re the glue holding everything together and shit starts crumbling, you spend the next day, week, year(s) trying to figure out what you did wrong and blaming yourself for things that were never really in your control in the first place.
Some days my daughter will say to me, “I want to be just like you.” And I will say, “No, you will be better.” And she will smile, and add, “Only I don’t want to get sick, or worry so much, and I want to be taller…” See, she can already see some of my flaws and she is already striving to break some of the patterns and grow to be better (and she is already taller, so she’s got that covered). But I still worry, well because that’s a pattern I haven’t been able to break, and because the last couple of weeks I find myself in a constant state of worry and Tuesday evening she said to me, “You don’t seem happy.”
I’m not…but I’m trying to change that, baby girl.
Because our history does not have to be our future. I know (even though I can’t see it right now most of the time) that I have now been given another chance, no matter how short that window is, to change the pattern. The pattern my mother had, the pattern she passed to me that I’ve already changed, I can continue to make changes. Just because I have been stuck this week does not mean I have to be stuck next week.
I have already taken the first steps making sure my children never see some of the patterns of their history. My mother hated me, but I started their patterns with love. I still carry her hate with me every day but they will never see it. I may never feel the pattern of safety but I built a house of brick so my children may carry the pattern of safety forward for themselves and for their own children.
We will forge ahead and make our own patterns. Perhaps the pattern of nearly 5 years ago has already been deviated from, if not broken. I feel I am still there, struggling, but I am not rolling in it, wrapping myself up in it, laying in their hate, and blame, and shame, and filth, and all the patterns they left me with. I still hear and feel the weaknesses they passed on to me, I still hear them taunt me to join them, but the only way they win is if I lose. And the strongest pattern I have, is my stubborn will…. Even my grandmother always told me that.
I’m a warrior, it just doesn’t always feel that way. So I have to keep reminding myself…I will always wear the wounds they left me, but I will make the patterns different for my own legacies. They are older now. They deserve better than I had.