Help and Contradictions

 I am what my parents made me but if I stay that way it’s my own damn fault.

It has taken me many years to realize I am a walking contradiction.  Sometimes help is fine and sometimes it is not.

Much of it is influenced by my early years.  I can hear my mother saying “I suppose you will blame it on me.”  Yes, Mom where ever you are, it was your fault.  But what I didn’t change is my fault once I realized this wasn’t working for me.  I take full responsibility for parts of my life that are screwed up.  I either created them or let the old tapes roll so long those tapes created the situation.     That would be a great title for an autobiography,   Old Tapes.

I’ve done a lot in my life and I don’t mean the hats I wear.  I am talking about changes in me.  I’m not the person who started out on this trip.  I’m older, sadder and wiser but very grateful for those I did have along the way.   I’ve kept some.  I can carry a resentment to the grave when the actions against me are unjustified.  I’m my own worse critic.  I spent a long time crawling out of the “It’s all my fault” hole dug by my mother but wallowed around in by me.  I’ve changed.  I know when I’ve done wrong and I will admit it fast and furious but I will  let the other guy own his own blame.  I can only claim mine.

One of the things I was taught was not to accept help.

“What would people think?”  was my mother’s chant constantly.  The good thing is it burned me out.  I don’t care what people think.  I really do not give a rat’s toot.   Unless you are paying my bills, cleaning my house or sleeping with me?  I do not care.  Let’s get our priorities straight here.  I don’t expect you to care about what I think unless I am doing one of those three for you then you better damn well care.

I finally said to her one time “Mother, if you think people think, you are giving them too much credit.”   It had been a long time in coming.    But it has bitten deep into the soul.  I do not care but I behave as if I do.  It has taken work to straighten most of that out.

I have new teachers in this time of my life.  They are my neighbors.  They put up a mail box for me  which are not just wood shoved in the ground.  It is fancy with a milk can base.   I expected wood when they said they were putting up the box for me.  They won’t take payment because “It only cost 15 bucks at most. and I had all the stuff lying around anyway.”    They blow my snow in the winter so I can get out.   They mow my lawn.  All without payment. They don’t even expect thanks.  They are just helping a neighbor.  This is what help and love is.   Not what I grew up with.

My mother’s family was very self-centered.  If they wiped your nose, they expected to be paid because you should be doing it yourself.   Have I told you they are very unhappy people?   Very unhappy.  I’ve refused to go to family reunions for 20 years because they are no pleasure to be around.

I watch the neighbor’s reunions and they love being together.    The ones who moved away even bought cabins so they could come home and stay.

They are teaching me more about help.  They are teaching me about love.  I loved watching the matriarch of the tribe go between all the houses in the morning with her coffee cup to visit.  Since she is now too old, I miss seeing her.   They understand love and help and why you do things.

They understand what help really means.   I am learning a lot from them.  I am learning to understand help and love by positive example not by negative example.  It’s a bit of a culture shock.