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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Today's Top Ten List: Lies My Parents Told Me

Growing up, my mother and father told me all kinds of things. On balance, most of them were Very Good Things, and I listened to a great deal of them. But like most parents, they also told me a lot of things that were simply Not True. Sometimes they were Nice Things, sometimes they were Comforting Things, and sometimes they were Folksy Things that were passed down for eleventy generations or merely things that became part of their DNA once my eldest sister Patti was born and the Parent Gene was flipped to the On position.

Here then are the

Top Ten Lies My Parents Told Me

1. You're Prettier Than All Of Those Contestants
2. Just Ignore Him/Her And He/She Will Leave You Alone
3. If You Don't Bother The Bees, They Won't Bother You
4. You Don't Need Makeup/Only Whores And Streetwalkers Wear Makeup
5. Piercing Your Ears Is A Tragedy
6. It's School, Not A Fashion Show
7. The Best Thing For A Headache Is Putting Your Hands In Warm Dishwater
8. 8th Grade Is Too Early To Be Shaving Your Legs
9. You Think Too Much
10. We're Not Having Any Pets In This House

I know. Bless their hearts.

1. Both Mom and Dad said this every single time we watched any beauty pageant throughout our lives, and they said it to all three of us girls. We all rolled our eyes because it was Patently Absurd. Some of those women were gorgeous and had perfect bodies. We, ranging in age from Patti--seven years my senior, to Susan, five years my junior, could not possibly imagine how any of this could be remotely true.

2. Absolute bullshit, and almost every day in my family it was proven False by my brother, who terrorized me daily with taunts about my weight. I could never suitably retaliate because he was invincible physically and emotionally. We're very close now, but growing up was hell.

3. Someone needed to tell the bees. I suffered an unprovoked attack--twice--while minding my own business. I didn't even disturb a nest or flight pattern. Ouch.

4. I was in my sophomore year when my mother found my mascara and face powder. She immediately tattled to my father, who gave me a terrible lecture, including the above quotes. Ironically, in later years, every time I would show up at Mom and Dad's without any makeup, my Dad would ask, "Are you feeling alright? You look pale and a little wan." Sigh.

5. In the seventies, everyone was wearing cute earrings. Except me. I waited until I was eighteen and went to the jeweler to get mine done so that I could do it without parental permission. When Dad found out, he was devastated. Somehow, though, I managed to survive it. So did he.

6. As everyone in the universe knows, School IS a Fashion Show. It shouldn't be, but it is. Even as a teacher, it was still, for me, a Daily Walk On The Runway.

7. Oh, St. Patsy, you really thought you were the clever one with this. We all knew what you were up to.

8. No! No, it wasn't! Not when you are mostly Eastern European and your legs looked like gorilla legs and you had to dress for gym. I ended up surreptitiously shaving them while home alone after school one day and took off about a foot of skin on my shinbone because I pushed too hard on the razor. That's another story.

9. St. Patsy still tells me that I Think Too Much. I am not one to brood, but I do analyze. But not overmuch, usually. How is Thinking a Bad Thing?

10. Oh, this one was the biggest lie of all, perpetuated by my mother. For a complete list of the TEN pets "not allowed" in our house and the full explanation, click here and read the post over at Stuff On Our List.

Your turn. What Little White Lies did Mom and Dad tell You?

10 comments:

  1. Well, I'm an only child and so I got the "you are a unique special snowflake who can do anything" and the "if you believe it, you can achieve it!" mantras. They meant well. They really did. But this did not do me any favors as an adult, and I never tell students that they can do anything. The reason is because I can't, they can't. Some things just are not possible except in the broadest sense. But perhaps I am just in a bad mood because I've spent the summer trying to shop my YA novel around and have gotten nothing for it? :)

    Also, I didn't realize your older sister has the same name as me! What a fabulous way to spell it!

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    1. TeacherPatti--So true, and as Teachers, we certainly know it. Sorry about the rejections on your YA novel, but according to lots of online "Help"ers, just publish it as an ebook. It's way easy! Sigh. As if.

      Coincidentally, our next post is about how to help turn around a bad day, so perhaps one of the ten tips will assist you. Fingers crossed!

      And my sister Patti is short for Patrice. You?

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    2. I'm a Patricia, born on St. Patrick's Day :)
      I need to find a small press...it's about three kids in Detroit Public Schools (where I used to teach). Interestingly, all of these (white, rich) agents who want diversity aren't interested. Could it be because the kind of "diversity" they want is the story of Pocahontas or the white girl from England who had to live in the country during WWII?

      Delete
  2. My mom never told me she thought I was pretty. The thinking was (she told me much later) that if you tell a girl she is pretty, she will think she is valued only for her looks, and there are so many more important things. Fair enough, but every time I went to one of my girlfriends' houses, and their mom or dad said they were pretty, and I went home and did NOT hear it, I figured she thought I was ugly. Sigh. Parents can't win, even when they try their best. Neither can kids.

    I've been stung just walking on the trail. WTH? I mean, the poor bee died for it, so I assume she felt strongly about the matter. But still.

    I was not allowed to wear makeup or pierce my ears for ages. 16 for the ears, I don't remember for makeup. I let Maya get her ears pierced much younger than I was allowed, but still years after her friends. Makeup, I just put it on on the school bus, washed it before my mom got home.

    Fashion show? Yes, I remember that, and I see it with my daughter as well. Sigh. Easier now that she buys her own clothes.

    I wouldn't let my daughter pluck her eyebrows, and she took matters into her own hands and shaved them. Oh my. Not off, but between them, which doesn't fit at all. We should have had a second child so I could get it right the second time.

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    Replies
    1. J@jj--I think you mother was well-intentioned, but as you said, it had the wrong effect. Parents try their best in most cases, I agree. We work hard to do The Right Thing! It's a wonder any of us survives.

      My mother caved, finally, on the Makeup Issue, and as long as I could get it all off before Dad was home from or awake to go to work (he worked shifts at the steel mill), we had a conspiracy. It was sophomore year, late, when she relented.

      One of the reasons I had Sam, our second, was to prove to myself that I could finally get The Mom Thing right. Seriously. I was such a nervous and worried mother for poor Jared's first couple of years. I was determined to improve. I did, for the record.

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  3. #2, #3 & #6 were part of my life, too. I especially found the "just ignore ppl and they'll stop bothering you" concept to be useless advice. The only other totally wrong thing that my parents said that I can remember is: buying a hot lunch will ensure that you get a good one. BLECH! I couldn't stand the cafeteria food, didn't eat much of anything except the bread and milk, but my parents were convinced that packing a lunch was evil… so I starved every afternoon during grade school and most of middle school.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ally Bean--I was so lucky; I walked home every day of elementary school for my lunch. Then in junior high, I had to face the cafeteria, which was such a horrific nightmare. It wasn't "cool" to bring a lunch; it wasn't "cool" to eat vegetables or certain entrees. I was a very amenable kid and I liked everything, but I was desperate to fit in. Sigh. Let's not talk about it.

      Oh, the Ignoring Principle. Did that ever work for anybody? Useless, yes. So very useless.

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    2. I started packing my lunch in high school - not so much because I didn't like the food, but because of All The People in that giant cacophonous room. I just couldn't handle it, so I ate sandwiches in my classroom. I read books or talked to one friend who joined me occasionally - it felt much more sane!

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  4. I don't really remember any little lies my parents told me - I think I could tell that my Mom at least was just figuring it out as she went along :)

    I didn't wear makeup until college. By the time I was interested in wearing it in high school I was too self conscious - I thought people would notice & make fun of me. I don't remember when I got my ears pierced - middle school I think? I'm pretty sure it was my Mom's idea. And the holes were crooked, so I couldn't get the earrings in very well, so I just let them grow back closed & tried again a couple of years later.

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    1. The Bug--Really? Did your parents TALK to you? LOL. Of course, I'm kidding.

      As J@jj said in an earlier post comment, parents cannot win. They/we are trying hard to do their/our best, but mistakes are inevitable. You were a gentle and kind soul who knew it all along.

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