Sunday, July 24, 2005

A Day Late & a Dollar Short

A few years ago, I read a piece of paper on a bulletin board, someones bunch of random thoughts. One of those thoughts stayed with me:

1. Our background and circumstances may be responsible for who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.

Anyone who has been reading this blog for a while knows that I come from very modest circumstances.
I was raised by a young, immigrant single mom.
By the time I moved out from under my mothers roof, we had moved 27 times since my Mary Janes hit Canadian soil.
My mother worked two and sometimes three jobs, so this being the case...I spent most of my time alone.
Back in the day, single moms didn't get subsidized daycare, and even if they mother was too proud, and too intimidated to apply for it.
I was a latch key kid, and because we moved around a lot..I never maintained friends when I was a kid. My friends came and went. I became quite adaptable, which has stood me in great stead as an adult. This along with learning to do without, which has made me relatively uncomplicated and low maintenance.
Because I spent so much time alone, I realize now as an adult that I had behaviours and habits that were inappropriate.
I think that every report card had the line "blah, blah, a dreamer" written somewhere on it.
I lived in my own little world.
On occasion, I fabricated my family life.
I told lies about my family.
I invented a sister that didn't exist, family members that didn't exist, a mother that didn't work.
I created in someone elses eyes what I wished for myself.
Who could it hurt?
We would be moving momentarily anyway (and we always did).
On occasion I stole, for which I was rightfully beaten, and punished.
My mother did her best with the cards that she was dealt.
But it was a shitty childhood with episodic occurrences of kindness from people that passed through our lives, and the pretty constant influence of Uja, if Mama wasn't mad at him.
They went through periods of not speaking...we are Slavs after all...
I hated myself when I was a child.
I spent most of my teens and early twenties convinced that I was completely unlovable, allowing myself to be taken advantage of and blaming myself for other peoples fucked up behaviours.
It took a long, long time, and a serious illness to force me to get my act together.
Funny that.
I spent time in my late teens and early twenties contemplating suicide, only to fight for my life from my mid twenties into my early thirties.

Nothing like a life threatening illness to force you to get your shit together.
The news flash is that the second half of my life is better.
Turns out that you really are responsible for who you become.

Who knew?
It would have been so much easier to blame my mother.