An Answer For Everything…

 

When I was a kid, my mom used to say I always had an answer for everything, which was code for ‘you’re such a smart aleck’ but I enjoyed nonetheless.

Well, this isn’t really a post about that though.

Debi of Ms Crankypants has posed three questions for me to answer -an off-shoot of the whole Alabaster Crippens meme – and I decided to answer them here.

So here goes:

1) What event from your childhood or teen years still has a lasting effect on you to this day?

This is a tough one because it is quite personal. But what the heck… When I was about 12, I was very excited because I had managed to save a good deal of money for Christmas gifts. I really wanted to buy something special for my mother. So, I really budgeted the money for the other gifts on my list so I’d have enough left over to buy her a real gold cross on a chain. She had mentioned many times how she had wanted one and I was thrilled that I was going to be able to give her one. I bought the cross, tiny though it was and on a very delicate chain, it was still 14k gold and I couldn’t wait for Christmas day to arrive.

After weeks of agonizing waiting Christmas day arrived and I gave her the gift. Beside myself with anticipation. When she opened it, she cried and I was elated that she was so touched. But then she said, ‘It’s so small. Is that all you think of me, to give me something so small?’ (or words to that effect). I was crushed of course and disappointed. And I think I tried to explain to her but honestly, it’s a bit of a blur what was said after that point.

At the time, I thought she was being mean. Or maybe that she just didn’t love me very much or less than my brothers and sister. And I vowed I would never buy her anything that would ever enter the area of ‘special’ again because I couldn’t bear that kind of reaction from her again.

But in retrospect, I don’t think she was being mean. I think that she had many insecurities and self doubts. And that for some reason that necklace reinforced those insecurities and doubts. That in her mind, it validated her fear that she didn’t matter. And to me, that is even sadder that my mother wouldn’t know how much I was trying to please her and make her happy.

It has always affected my relationship with her and I’ve always felt tenuous with her and worry whenever I have to buy her a gift or send her a card. I try to pretend that it doesn’t matter but it does. She has a birthday coming up and I spent days trying to find something to send her that I thought she would like. I settled on something but I have little hope she’ll like it. I know she’ll say she does but…

Anyway, that’s the answer to that one.

2) What is the purpose of imagination and where does it come from?

I believe the purpose of imagination is to bring about the future. Without imagination, we would not have any of our modern technology, music, art, literature – artists are the dreamers of our society and they through their art dream and bring into reality products of their imaginations.

3) What book would YOU want to have written, and why?

Without question I would have wanted to write Atlas Shrugged. There are several reasons why. I strongly identified with Dagny Taggert, a true individual who did not care what others thought of her and was guided by her own conscience and values, despite incredible influences to act otherwise. She would not compromise her beliefs or ideals. Also, I believe it is one of the most important books ever written because it makes the case that we are each responsible and accountable for our actions or inactions and that no one is owed a living, wherewithall, possessions, or status that is not earned. To me, a definitive text of the 20th century and modern society. And probably most importantly, because it was an elegant and flawlessly written story that continued until it was truly over. Rather than ending on a specified page count.

Well Debi, there you have it. That was interesting… 😉
WC

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11 thoughts on “An Answer For Everything…

  1. Question 1 makes me sad.
    Not much else to say.
    Your mother doesn’t know what{who} she’s missing, IMHO.
    #2- Exactly. What we dream up, create and write IS the future. Great answer.
    #3 . . . I’m going to the library on Wednesday and reading this friggin’ book. Lord knows you’ve talked about it enough. 😉
    Great meme
    ~m

    I was hesitant to answer question number one because I thought it might have that effect, which wasn’t really my intention – I had an alternate answer but it felt like a cop-out so I went with the answer that rung true to me. If that makes sense.

    I really believe art/imagination really is all about the future, fun to knw you agree.

    LOL – I have finally forced you to read that book. Yay! (doing the happy dance)

    A

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  2. Your answer to the first question brought tears to my eyes.

    I’m sorry about that. I was just trying to be honest, not illicit sympathy or make you feel bad about my mom – cuz I love her. And she loves me too. I think her life was much harder than I knew, that’s all.
    WC

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  3. I hate to be an echo, but the 1st answer made me boohoo just a little bit. I couldn’t even begin to imagine.

    Maybe it’s our week to spill our guts, Red.
    WC

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  4. You were the child with an answer for everything, and I was the child with a question about everything. My mom would regularly have to find an adult in her sphere of friends who’d know the answer to my latest questionings.

    Actually, I still haven’t grown out of that. People still sometimes comment on the fact I’m very inquisitive; I think it’s often their nice way of saying “You’re buggin’ me, kid.”

    It so sad that your mother viewed the gift as verification to her misplaced thoughts that she was worth very little, because the gift showed her immense value to you. I’m sorry that Christmas went so very poorly, WC. Thank you for sharing, though, it seems like it shows how important perspective is, because it can hurt more than just us when it’s off.

    I’ve never read “Atlas Shrugged.” It sounds interesting. I’ll have to look into it.

    ~Kelsey

    I’m sure that is why I can relate to you and your writing Kelsey – inquisitive (go away kid, you’re bothering me) pretty much sums it up for me too.

    Perspective is immensely valuable – unfortunately, we often come to it much later down the line.

    Do look into Atlas Shrugged – I think it may be something you could sink your teeth into.

    WC

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  5. Thank you for taking time with the questions, WC. I really appreciate your honesty.

    I think we all have moments like #1 when we’ve really put ourselves out on the line for someone and then come face-to-face with their personal insecurities and humanity.

    I know I used to have a copy of Atlas Shrugged … I’ll have to check my shelves to see if I have one for Kelsey to read.

    I can still remember the first time I read one of Ayn Rand’s books. I was spending the night at a friends’ house (I think I was in about 8th grade). Their family rented a house from a college professor who was on a two year teaching thingy in Europe and he’d left all his books in the basement. I happened to pull Anthem off the shelf … and ended up reading the entire book in one sitting. My poor friend. She probably wanted to stay up giggling and talking about her older brother’s cute friends … but instead she got her bookworm friend with her nose in an “old person” book all night. 😉

    But honestly, it was unlike any other book I’d ever read, and made me think about things I’d never thought about before.

    Definitely a defining literary moment in my life. 🙂

    ~Ms CP

    Debi,
    It was an interesting exercise – one that surprised me. Yes, the human frailties that we experience in one another can be startling, but also enlightening.

    I think Kelsey would like Atlas, so I hope you do find it for her.

    I remember Anthem also. It is unique as well – like all of her books. I won’t even get into the Fountainhead. Can’t wait to see what the feedback will be on Atlas…I’m excited.
    WC

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  6. At my elementary we would have a Christmas market. You could buy your entire family gifts for under$10, total. And this was the only place where I could ‘shop’ for my mom’s Christmas gift without her seeing. And every year I bought her the prettiest thing I could find, and spend the most money on her. And she never wore any of it. Not even once. Later, after I had moved out, she and I were going through some of her jewelry after someone had broken into her house, we found all the little boxes of earrings and necklaces I had bought her, still in their boxes, never opened. It made me a little sad.

    I’ve never read that book. I know, I know. Someone should take away my degree. But it’s on the list. The long list. I need to win the lottery so I can accomplish, do, and read all the things on my list.

    Clearly, you had a similar experience to mine. The confusion I think was the worst part for me. I simply didn’t understand the response.

    You will love Atlas when you get to it. Like you, there are so many books I want to read and the time seems hard to find sometimes – but this is a special book and maybe you should let it jump the line. I’m sure you won’t regret it if you do.
    WC

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  7. I have internet now!! Yippe!!

    Anyways, yeah i had a similar experience with mom & so did our other sister. Mom is a very complex individual and she told me some very personal things that had happened to her as a child and i really think that is why she is the way she is. There have been many things that i’ve had to forgive her for, because no matter how i tried to tell her, she always took it as an attack on her so i gave up trying and just accepted her. The thing that mom wants most is for us to acknowledge her and i gave up getting her gifts and just send her a pretty bouquet of flowers, call her ever so often and when i can: visit. She said something to me (i was just there) that kind of floored me, she said, I really enjoyed your visit honey, because you talk to me, you just sit and talk to me. That’s when i realized she just wants to be seen and acknowledged as a person and not ignored. So that is the only advice i have, hope it helps….

    l/y
    FC

    Thanks honey bunch, I’ll email you about this later.
    l/y
    A

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  8. Such a shame to have this powerful and troubling memory associated with what is meant to be a joyful and giving holiday. I can empathize. While I can recall no single incident as scarring as yours, there were many smaller cuts done during the Christmas season while I was growing up that have built thesame emotion you described.

    The answer is to forgive, knowing that we all say and do things without thinking. I know there have been times I’ve been callous and wish I could go back and change things.

    I think I have forgiven her because if I hadn’t I don’t think I could have published this answer. I see now that it really had nothing to do with me but with her. And sure, I’d like to go back and change some things I’ve done too.

    But it was the answer to the question so I gave it.

    Thanks for being so open yourself. I’m sure we all do have the scars – I suppose it’s what we do from there that matters, yes?

    WC

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  9. # 1 was a tough one, but I have to think from every tough moment we have to just learn what we can and move on. Have you ever thought of explaining to your mom that in your mind you would have bought her a big cross and that it was no reflection on her, just that your child’s pocketbook couldn’t afford it? Did you ever think of telling her how excited your were that you could give her a gold cross and the anticipation of “giving” to her and making her happy had brought you a lot of joy? If your mom could ever step out of her self-absorption long enough to look from your viewpoint it would do you both a lot of good. Not to mention that it would bring some closure to that moment which you are now stuck with. What a lousy piece of crap to have floating around in your head at Christmas! It might help your mom to get over some of her insecurity to know how much you loved her and that the gift was your expression of that.

    #2 Oh yes. Exactly! So well put. Imagination is definitely the moving force of the future.

    #3 Atlas Shrugged is right at the top for me too.
    What a wonderful viewpoint of how to live life, personally and for mankind. A very impacting message and an excellently written book.

    Thanks for baring your soul Annie and sharing your answers with us. You really make such a difference for all of us readers.
    ~ PG

    Yeah, you know #1 was tough but it was freeing. As though by saying it out loud it lost its power to hurt me anymore. Hard to explain but I think you get the point.

    Ah, another Atlas fan – far out!

    It’s sweet of you to say I make a difference – you all make a huge difference for me.

    Love
    WC

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  10. Oh love, that first one made me just wanna give you a big hug! Thanks so much for sharing such a personal memory.
    Loving the second one, and as for the third, will ask mum about what she finds out!
    Happy Easter!!
    Kelly

    Thanks for the hug, back atcha. Yeah do ask Mum about Atlas…is she a fan?
    WC

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  11. You know what’s great about getting older? The ability to see our parents as human beings, doing the best they could with what they had at the time. Just like you and I as we try our best to be adults and make adult decisions-make good, sound decisions, which we sometimes fall short of doing. It makes it so much easier to forgive these little quirky behaviors that annoy us as only a Mother can do. That is the sweetest and saddest story about the necklace. I’ve yet to read Atlas Shrugged, must get on it immediately. Anabel

    Exactly. Perspective makes a big difference.
    WC

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