A cautionary tale

So, I've been thinking about my blog and one of the things I think I want to do is tell a story on Wednesday. Some old story from way back...making it Way Back Wednesday!

I've been going through old photographs around here. If you want to know why, you'll have to check out my blog tomorrow for Vintage Thingies Thursday. Anyway, we were all sitting in the sewing room floor the other night as I flipped through all these pictures. We started at the newest pictures. Pictures of me and Rob and the places we've gone and the things we've done. Remodeling adventures and vacations, you know, the stuff of a good relationship. And, just below those pictures were my baby pictures that my Mom gave me a few years ago. Certainly lots of good laughs there as I was the first child and apparently my parents had a camera glued to their arm until I was two. But, then, we came to the old stuff from my adulthood and the mood took a decided down turn. I even asked Rob and Sydney to leave because I needed a little alone time to go through these pictures. These are the pictures from the sad part of my life.

When I became an adult and moved out on my own, I had no self worth. What I had was the rock solid, good old southern values to save and make a good and responsible life for myself. Now, if you ask me, that's a terrible combination to give a child. The responsibility means I always had money saved up and a house and a car. The lack of self worth meant I was always so desperate for someone to love me that I'd gladly give all I had to keep them around. And, the people that make a lifestyle out of using others (the users) could smell me. And they found me.

Now, if you've lived a totally sheltered life, then I'm here to tell you that there are people out there that are able to string others along. They gave just enough to make me think they loved me. They spent just enough time with me to keep me from finding someone that really would love me. And, they were many. In my life, I was caught by three.

It's hard to imagine where I'd be if I had all the money I spent on other people's rent and car repairs, groceries and nights on the town. And, the money I've spent on therapists would have given me a beach house.

Then came that moment about 13 years ago when I found myself. I found my self worth. Yes, I went a little crazy and had a lot of fun, but then the responsible side of me kicked in and I settled down into a new life. And, in that new life, I could smell the users, which allowed me to protect myself from them. I was no longer afraid to be alone, which meant I could wait until I found the right one.

And, when I was finally open to that, I did find the right one. But, that's another story for another Wednesday.

If you're raising a child, then learn from me. Give them self worth. Tell them they're pretty and smart. Build their self-confidence. Don't protect them from the ugly things in life. Prepare them for the users that are out there. I'll promise you that all the education and responsibility in the world won't protect them or give them any peace if they don't have the self worth to go along with it.

And, yes, now that I'm a parent, I know that building a good self image is the hardest thing to do. Math is just memorization. Self confidence is learned from observation and from what you say when you aren't talking about anything in particular at all.

Okay, enough of that. Time to get out there and live this Wednesday instead of thinking about the ones in the past. Lane


Becky said...

Awesome. Love ya, Lane!

Leah Day said...

Amen Lane.

I find myself asking the same question while I raise my son. The last thing I want is for him to reach his 20s and feel and act as needy and starved for love as I did.

I know exactly what you're talking about, but how is self worth, esteem, and confidence TAUGHT?

Everyone has their own road so my best guess is just simply to be kind, respectful, and loving every single day as though every day will be remembered forever.

After all, you never know what day might be.

Thank you for sharing,

Leah Day

oldbatt said...

Imagine my surprise when a college roommate said about me (10 years after college) "she is not the doormat she used to be..." Wow - that was a shock at first and then I realized how right she was and also glad I was able to change. I don't have to be "nice" to everyone and have learned that I can respect people w/o having to be everyone's friend. I spent many years coming to terms with that and am teaching my kids to respect others but you don't have to be their friends and to be confident in themselves. I hope that is something I can change with my parenting style because we are our parents in one way or another. Have a great day Lane! Lisa

Tammy said...

Good Morning Lane and everyone else,
Unfortunately, like too many others, my childhood was a living nightmare. When I was pregnant with my firstborn I started counseling because I did not want to parent the way my folks raised me. I had the same lady counselor for over twenty years. She told me a few years ago that I should be grateful to my mother for providing me with the perfect example of what not to do as a parent.

I believe as a mom it is my most important job to be my children's biggest fan. There is a whole big world out there full of mean, evil and nasty people quite willing to belittle, demean and knock others down.

I wanted to post a chapter from "Don't Sweat the Small Stuff with Your Family" by Richard Carlson Ph.D. here, but this comment window won't allow pasting. So I posted it on my blog, feel free to check it out.

Have a super duper day all.

Coloradolady said...

Great post...you really are the best!! Love ya'......see you tomorrow!

lw said...

Ah, memories. I've got the same memories with different faces. I took a year off in 1998 from dating to figure out who I was when I was alone, and to identify what it was I should be looking for when I let myself look again. I bought a rocking chair and a cord of wood for my fireplace. I sat and rocked let my past catch up to me and I grieved. At the end of that year, I realised my friend Patrick would make a great husband. After 10 happy years, I'm glad to say I was right. I just wish I'd had the sense to take a year off decades earlier.

Shirleymac said...

Oh Lane, can I hear what you're saying. I think you are just the neatest man and I hope you can believe that too. I still let far too many people use me but it's more emotionly now that anything else. But I'm learning. I used to be very needy. Now I think I've gone too far in the other direction but I'm trying to find a happy medium.