Thursday, March 31, 2005

Life Circumstances

Do you ever look back on life and think of a specific instance, something that may at the time have seemed so trivial, and realize how critical it is to who you are today?

My sister and I are very close, although we haven't always been. When we were kids we would play together. When we were about 8 and 11 (me 8, she 11) I became the little pest sister. The one my mom made her play with. When we were teenagers we pretty much co-existed in the house. We were just very different people by then. We moved to Texas from Pennyslvania when I was 10 and she was 13. I think the fact that she was just that much older when we moved really effected her. I was always the "A" student, the over acheiver, the into everything there was to be into in high school. She was not as good of a student, and lacked the self confidence to initiate herself into any activities. She was also very, very shy. I was shy, too, when we first moved, but was able to overcome it by the time high school rolled around. She got married at 17 and had her daughter at 18 and divorced at 22. I went to college and got married and started a career. We just had different things going. We couldn't relate (no pun intended!)

I look at our family and realize that the lack of self confidence is rampant. My mom is EXTREMELY insecure. My dad is, too, but in a less in-your-face sort of way. It isn't a wonder my sister is/was insecure. I am so proud of her, though. In the last year she has come a long way. She went for, and got, a great job with another company. She is going for a promotion, which is wonderful. And she is talking about going to college!! She is smart enough to go, she just never thought she was. She's no dumb cookie.

I look at the family and did I ever have the self confidence to do anything? I mean, I'm not the most secure person in the world. Believe me. If you read my blog on any regular basis you probably already have realized that. But I had enough confidence to go to college, to marry a wonderful man, to at least try the things I want to do. In both my parents and my sister I've seen them hindered by their lack of self confidence. But I haven't let it hinder me. So, I look back with wonder. Was it the fact that I tried things and was successful and, therefore, gained some confidence? Well, that fueled it, but what actually gave me the initiative to try them in the first place?

I think I have to go back to when I was about 4 years old. My sister was 7 and in second grade. She liked to play "school". She liked to be the teacher and have me be the pupil. She liked to teach me what she learned in school. And she was bossy, so I had to do what she said. :) SHE taught me at 4 to read and to do math on a 2nd grade level. SHE taught me in 1st grade how to multiply. After all, she was in 4th grade...teaching ME everything she knew. People were impressed that I could do these things so early, and pegged me as "smart". Was I smart? Probably not. Definitely not smarter than her. I was just taught. By my SISTER who liked to teach. (Yea, like I said, she's no dumb cookie. She taught a 1st grader her multiplication tables and how to read on a 4th grade level). And because people told me I was smart, I began thinking that I really WAS smart. And I, therefore, gained some self confidence. Amazing how child's play became something that defined me later.

So, thanks, Cyndi. If it weren't for you I think my life would have been very different. And I'm so blessed that we have reconnected in our adult life!

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