Sometimes things just stick to you, you know? Snippets of conversations, scents, slights, whatever they may be. I have a tendency to remember and internalize negative things.
My grandma wouldn’t let me play with the boys, because it wasn’t proper for me, a little girl, to roughhouse outside. So I remained stuck indoors with dolls and a tea set.
In second grade, my ballet teacher used to threaten that she’d eat our tummies if we didn’t suck them in during practice. I believed her.
I remember being so mean to a girl in grade school that she refused to be my best friend anymore. I still remember her name, Irene. She just became fed up with my behavior and decided to end the friendship. That’s pretty big for a 1st or 2nd grader. I’ve been mindful about my behavior toward people ever since.
For my birthday one year, I begged for a Sanrio wallet, and my grandparents bought it for me. My grandma even placed cash inside! But I ended up losing it at school. I never told her but felt guilty for years.
My brother upset me and made me cry. I remember someone saying to him, “Don’t do that to your sister, she’s sensitive.” I took that as a pejorative comment and vowed to never let him, or anyone, make me cry again.
Once, when I was maybe 8 years old, my mother told me that I walked like my dad. I remember feeling ashamed, and then confused about why I felt ashamed. Perhaps it was the way it was said. I knew it wasn’t a compliment. That comment has stayed with me for years. And as I’ve grown older, I’ve been able to add more layers to it. It was said in disdain. It was a dig at my dad, and perhaps that I spent too much time with him. It wasn’t good for me, a biological girl, to walk like a boy.
I can pinpoint exact moments in my past that have affected my behavior, but instead of any positive reinforcement, it’s almost completely negative. I guess that says a lot about my outlook on life in general.