My Story: Everyone has a Beginning

I decided that I needed to find a way to make this a little easier on myself, in case I should not be able to produce a blurb every week, how would I keep my readers engaged?  Then I remembered that I have been a writer since I was 10.  I have piles of short stories and poems, what better place to start unearthing them than here?  I also came to the realization that in a way, this is still sharing my past because I wrote them ages ago.  That being said, here is the first installment — easy because it is the beginning.

 Any names, unless given specific permission, have been changed to protect their anonymity.

Hi!  My name is Shauna and I am an Overcomer in Christ.  I am a survivor of childhood physical, emotional and verbal abuse.  I am a survivor of physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse in a previous marriage.  I am an overcomer of food addiction, love and relationship addiction, rage and anger mismanagement, kleptomania, co-dependency and people pleasing.

And this is MY story.

Every well written story deserves a look backward to where it all began.  Mine is no different.

My mother is second oldest of six children, born in the early 1950’s.  It is not her story that I tell, but if I were, it would be a dozy.  There is no fairy tale version of the life she lived, and she brought her brokenness with her when she married my father.

My father was the eldest of six children, born in 1950.  He does not talk of his childhood much.  I know that his father worked every hour he could to support his family and that his mother succumbed to cancer when he was just 18.  Any memories he speaks of are usually at his grandparents or a certain uncle and aunt that he grew very close to.  He also carried his brokenness, habits and hang-ups into his marriage to my mother.

I was adopted on April 14th, 1982 two days after being born in a San Jose, California hospital.

I suffered from chronic ear infections and at the age of 4/5 my mother discovered a hearing issue and took me to the doctor.  They learned that I had a nearly 45% hearing loss at the time and had more than likely experienced this level of hearing loss, if not more since my 1st ear infection.  I had tubes put in my ears every year for the next 4-5 years to correct the issue.  Unfortunately, as an infant I had learned to “hear” by reading lips.  Several years into my elementary education I was diagnosed with audio/visual perception disorder.  I believe this was created by learning to “hear” with my eyes.  It causes me to struggle to comprehend what is being said if I cannot see a person’s face to read their lips, or have the subtitles on the television.  Needless to say, talking on the phone is extremely challenging.

After a few years of apartments, my parents finally found a house on ½ an acre in a very rural part of Woodcrest just outside of Riverside, California.  We were completely surrounded by hundreds of acres of orange trees, which the neighborhood kids and I took full advantage of every summer.

Those are some of my best memories; playing in those orange groves. Climbing trees, eating warm oranges on a hot summer day.  Winding our way through the maze of trunks and leaves, the scent of citrus heavy in our nostrils, until we were so giddy and dirty we could barely stand it. The sun would start to drop below the tops of the trees and we would know it was time to turn for home.  The whole way would laugh and scream and make plans for tomorrow.

A neighbor down the street had a little girl about the same age as me and he had built her a huge playhouse.  It had a kitchen and a second story with a balcony.  Many nights were spent sleeping on that balcony under a huge pepper tree with the crickets chirping around us.  They didn’t live there for very long and she moved away before I entered 1st grade.

I didn’t know just how spoiled I was when it came to produce until I moved out as an adult.  Growing up we had so much food growing on our property, and I never knew that this wasn’t the way everyone else lived.  The whole back fence was covered in grapevines.  I remember many summers when my mother and I ate so many grapes we made ourselves sick.  We had one of each: peach, pear, apple, apricot, cherry, macadamia nut, pecan and Asian pear. Every year we planted a garden and my father and I would tend to it.  Tomatoes and banana peppers were a staple.

Tomato horn worms were a big problem and bug spray just didn’t seem to be very effective.  My father taught me how to hunt for them; how to find the holes in the leaves, follow the trail of scat and discover that fat green worm hidden under the leaves.  Once we found him, we’d clip him in half with the pruning shears and leave him for the ants.  Sounds horrid, I know.  But I didn’t think so then and my kids don’t now.  It was an awesome version of the good guys against the bad guys.  If only everything could have stayed this simple.

Embarking on a New Journey

It came to mind the other day, that I have yet to share my story with others.

A few years ago, I started Celebrate Recovery for my anger issues and learned a lot about myself in the process.  There is something called a ‘testimony’ in which others share their life stories to bring hope to others.  Testimonies bring hope to others in so many ways.  The story we share with each other lets us know that we are not alone, there are others who have experienced hardship and pain.  It lets us know that we are not alone in the destructive path we took in an effort to cope with our hurts, habits and hang ups.  It lets us know that there is hope because others, like us, have found freedom from a life of shame and brokenness, so there must be a way for us to get that too.

I have never had an opportunity to share that testimony and I have been looking for a reason to blog on a more regular basis. It dawned on me just a few days ago that this would be the perfect place to share my story.

I want to share my story not because I think it is anything amazing or so unique that no one else has been through what I have been through.  I want to share my story because I know that I am not the only one to experience the pain and hardships I did.  I want to share my story because there might be someone out there who needs to hear it and know that there can be hope and healing despite any choices they may have made.   I want to share my story because if I can bring hope to even one person, then my pain is turned into something beautiful.  I want to share my story because I know I can grow and learn more about myself through the process. Sharing my story breaks the chains of bondage that the enemy has tried to entangle me with.

It’ll probably be messy and might not make a whole lot of sense.  I am going to try and do one a week and go in chronological order because that seems the easiest way to organize my thoughts. 

I am going to place my disclaimer here to any family or friends that may be reading this.  While I must keep others hearts into account when I share my message, I can in no way falsify or minimize my own pain.  I will share honestly, openly, and transparently about how my life was perceived through my own eyes.  There will be times in which my adult self will add reflections and realizations I have had on my childhood experiences.  But for my story to ring true, for my chains to be broken, for the light of hope to pierce others, I must not hold back for fear of making others uncomfortable with my candidacy.  Please try to keep in mind as you read that I can in no way change my memories.  I have a certain perception of instances and my perception of those instances is what has shaped my hurts, habits and hang ups.  To deny them because someone else may not view them as true does not allow for healing to take place.

Share as you see fit.  If you read these pages and think that it would touch someone else, do not hesitate to send it to them. 
I will end this and begin each blog with the same introduction. 

Hi!  My name is Shauna and I am an Overcomer in Christ.  I am a survivor of childhood physical, emotional and verbal abuse.  I am a survivor of physical, sexual, emotional and verbal abuse in a previous marriage.  I am an overcomer of food addiction, love and relationship addiction, rage and anger mismanagement, kleptomania, co-dependency and people pleasing. 

And this is MY story. 

What Drama Isn’t

Drama is a word I have heard thrown around a lot recently.  It makes me wonder if most of us even know what it really means.  I am hearing it so much, every time someone says it I hear, “Inconceivable!” echo in my mind.  Promptly followed by, “You keep using that word.  I do not think it means what you think it means.”

Being a victim of an abuser of the word myself, I thought I would help educate the ladies of today.

Webster’s Dictionary defines ‘drama’ as the follows: 1) a play in prose or verse, esp. one recounting a serious story. 2) dramatic art of a particular kind or period. 3) a succession of events with dramatic progression or emotional content typical of a play.

Merriam-Webster.com puts it this way: a state, situation or series of events involving interesting or intense conflict of forces.

Merriam-Webster.com also gives the definition of a drama queen:  1) a person (especially a woman) who acts as though things are much worse than they really are. 2) a person given to often excessively emotional performances or reactions.

Now that we know the technical definition of these two words, lets begin to apply them to our lives and see how things unfold.

At work: you are an honest, hard-working individual that takes pride in their job and you work for a person who is not exactly nice all the time.  They may make comments that are inappropriate, rude, hurtful, contradictory or inflammatory.  You say nothing, eventually cannot take it anymore and quit without ever saying a word.  The life that unfolds for you now that you do not have a job is not — drama.  It is — consequences of your actions.

If at work you do choose to say something to your boss, but nothing changes, and it probably won’t.  You have bills to pay, a family to support and it is a really good job.  If you choose to quit with no notice and no other job to go to, the series of events that follows — not drama. It Is — consequences of your actions.

If at work someone keeps using your coffee mug that very clearly has your name embossed on it when you leave it in the rack to dry — not drama.  But I would be inclined to call them a — drama queen. Because they clearly want to make everything all about them.  Do not feed into this, take your cup back to your desk to dry.  Very simple really.

Writing a mean, passive aggressive note about the rudeness of said person repeatedly using your coffee cup and posting in on the company fridge, or sending out a mass email about said occurrence — drama & drama queen.

In friendships:  two vastly different people forge a relationship amidst this crazy wheel we call life.  Life hands each individual its ups and downs and each individual creates deeper ups and downs depending on their reaction and choices to the original ups and downs.  The sucky life you have because of your sucky decisions is not — drama.  It is — consequences of your actions.

Someone says something that ruffles your feathers and you stay silent — not drama.

  Someone says something that ruffles your feathers, you say something, they apologize try really hard and then two weeks later they do it again — not drama.  If you think that it is drama then you would qualify as a — drama queen. 

Sometimes life happens and people forget that a certain speech pattern they have might hurt your feelings.  If a person feels so inclined they may try to be careful of the things they say when around you, but they will not be perfect and they will slip up — not drama.

A person may also decide that how you interpret their choice of words is not their responsibility (which is very healthy) and so they may very politely and lovingly hear you out, acknowledge your feelings, express their own, reassure you that it is not personal, and then go about their lives — not drama.  Again, if you get your panties in a knot over this you would be classified as a — drama queen.

You are rude, hurtful, unrealistic, immature, snide, etc. to someone and they stand up for themselves — not drama. 

A disagreement between two parties arises — not drama.

A disagreement between two parties arises and you proceed to engage them in a name calling, curse word riddled, mud-slinging battle — not drama.

Engaging other parties in name calling, curse word riddled, mud-slinging battles continuously over silly, normal, every day issues — drama. 

A disagreement between two parties arises and you know you are angry and hurt and frustrated and you say to the other, “Hey, I am really hurt and angry and I kinda don’t want to be around you right now, so if you could just leave me alone for a few days (or a week) to give me some time to process, I would really appreciate it.” — not drama.

A disagreement between two parties arises and you stomp off and proceed to give the other a childish disrespectful bout of ‘the silent treatment’ — drama & drama queen.

Silent treatment involves you still attempting to communicate with the person you are trying to not talk to so thus ensues the high school scene of:  tell Bobby to tell Sharon to tell Chris to tell you…. — drama & drama queen.

Other person refuses to participate in crazy silent treatment ‘pass the message’ behavior and have a normal adult conversation with you — not drama.

Now lets just say, things have been volatile between two people and they have gone back and forth between arguing and not arguing and we are now at the stage of not talking to one another unless absolutely necessary because one or the other asked it to be that way.  One person attempts to simply relay a few important pieces of information, one things leads to another and both are now screaming at one another.  They stomp away from one another.  One comes back and genuinely apologizes for their behavior and walks away.  Is this drama?   NO!  This is life, this happens all time, it is called being human.

Throwing this incident back in the other persons face when it is convenient so that you can label them as abusive — drama & drama queen.

Now that that’s settled, I can sleep peacefully tonight knowing that I helped even just a few women untwist their Fruit of the Looms and live a more mature life.

Every once in a while we all wear the crown, and that’s okay.  As long as you let it get dusty between uses.

I am the face of Chronic Pain.

How do you explain the concept of chronic pain without sounding like a crazed individual?

You don’t. You will sound crazy no matter how hard you try, so stop trying.

Those with chronic pain and fatigue will wake up every morning feeling like you do on the worst day of the worst case of the flu you have ever had. That’s on a good day. And no we have no idea why or how to make it stop.

Isn’t that the craziest question you’ve ever heard? How do you make it go away? Um…If I could make it go away believe me — I WOULD!

When you pass me in the grocery store you see a healthy, slightly overweight 30 something with two kids. I look happy, I have a smile on my face and a cart full of groceries. You continue on your way without a second glance. If you could see me the way I feel, you would see someone completely different.
You would see a 80 something lady, stooped over her cart, eyes watery with tears of pain, shuffling her feet at a limping crawl.

If was smart that day, I would have been in an electric cart and be damned the stares and rude comments from those who dare judge me.

Yes, I am sure you’ve already told me three times about the ladies night in two weeks, but with the pain and the fatigue and the brain fog, I am lucky if I remember where my own feet are. So cut a girl some slack and don’t say: “Don’t you remember?” If I remembered, would I be asking about it?

And don’t think we don’t see the eye roll and head shake as you walk away in disgust thinking we are complete scatter-brains. We see it, and it hurts. Chronic pain suffers want to be normal, there was a time when we could recount entire conversations for you — from two years ago. Yes I have tried making a list. Guess what? I don’t remember where I put it! I have five daily alarms set on my phone for something as simple as taking medication. If my children were enrolled in school, I would have to have an alarm set to remind me to pick them up from school. Does this mean I do not love my children? NO! It means there are quite a few days where the only thing I can think of is a bed and a heating pad, much less plan 4 hours ahead to picking up kids from school and wrestling them through 2 hours of homework.

I am not saying that Chronic Pain sufferers need pity. I am not saying we are excused from behavioral norms. I am not saying that we need special treatment or allowances for inappropriate behavior. Life must still go on, and things must still be taken care of whether we like it or not.

What I am saying is this: step outside your bubble for 5 minutes the next time you see someone NOT putting their buggie in the shopping cart corral in the parking lot. Even I am guilty of this one. I see someone not putting it back and I immediately think, “lazy”. Which is SO unfair, because I know there are SO many times I do not have it in me to walk those 30 steps to the corral and back to the car, I feel as though I am going to collapse in a puddle of tears if I take just one more step.
I still remember the one time a gentleman made my day in the parking lot. I was standing at the back of the van, I had just shut the lid and was looking at the corral across the way. I was practically laying on the cart to keep from falling down. He walked by me, looked at me, came back to me and said, “I’ll take that for you miss.” I don’t know why he did, but I was insanely grateful to him for it. I cried as soon as I got into the vehicle, it was a huge burden off of my shoulders, and it was such a simple thing.

Next time you go somewhere, don’t hunt for the closest spot you can find in the parking lot, park a little further away if you are capable of walking the distance. You will probably never ever meet a person who benefited from that closer spot being open, but that isn’t the point. I may not qualify for a handicapped placard, but that one spot closer to the door would have been very helpful to me, or the 7 month pregnant mom, or the new mom with the 6 month old, or the other mom with 3 small children. Or the other Chronic Pain sufferer who had no choice but to go to the store today because they had already put it off for a week and there wasn’t any food left in the house for her family.

Don’t use the handicapped stall in the bathroom. Yes, I know it is big and comfy and oh so nice to not have to straddle the toilet to shut the door. But it is not designed for able-bodied individuals. It is meant for those in wheelchairs, walkers or others that need assistance when using the facilities. Some days, I absolutely must have that bar next to the toilet to get my knees up under me. And for the love of Pete do NOT people the stink eye when they come out of that stall and they do not APPEAR to you to be disabled. Remember….step outside the bubble.

It is time to raise the awareness level of the clueless around us. Those that suffer from Chronic Pain need to stop being silent. Do not be ashamed! Speak out, speak up and be heard!

Part 6: Should we be pushing Maths and English?

Part 6: Should we be pushing Maths and English?.

Thought it was interesting that I stumbled upon THIS today of all days, after struggling with my daughter to do 3 very simple, very beneath her level math pages as a refresher. I want to “unschool” the way I want to unschool, but I know that sometimes I am simply NOT providing them the richest environment to do it in, especially when I am in the middle of attempting to get our house ready to sell and move to another state. She has some interesting thoughts on our math and English obsession in public schools.

Obsessing Over Something More Worthwhile/ Daily Prompt: Viral

Daily Prompt: Viral

 

I have been living under a rock when it comes to main stream media for the last three years because we chose to not install cable or satellite for the TV.   But one person that even I know exists is Justin Bieber.  Now, I am not going to get into any discussion as to whether or not his fame is warranted or not, because I frankly don’t care.  I am concerned however with the level of obsession that our girls seem to go to over males in our media.  (I would comment on the males obsessing over the girls, but since I am not of that gender, I didn’t think it would make much sense.)  Our media has seen fit to plaster a face onto any product to make it more marketable which is fueling our ability to obsess over others, creating idols.  I do not think this is a healthy habit and I fear the repercussions this could have on our society, and if we aren’t experiencing them already.

We need to be teaching our daughters to be in awe of and have a deep respect for the hard-working men in her life, not the teeny bopper boys that simply look cute on camera and blow their money on clothes and partying.  That is not a person to be obsessed over and looked up to.  It may seem like a simple thing, and at some point in our culture it was.  It was a called having a crush, like when Elvis or the Beatles were popular.  The girls went absolutely bonkers over them, but those men were actually talented and created real art.  Our culture is different now.  Someone can become famous in 15 minutes and suddenly their face is plastered all over everything and every girl has to have it all.  Their fame is no longer based on talent, it is based on how they dress, what they look like, what products have their face on them, how many CD’s they can churn out in a few years, etc.  Of all the young boys in the media scene today, why is Justin Bieber the only one who is famous?  The answer is simple: because main stream media said so.  Now I am not saying that he is untalented, and I am not saying what he does is easy.  What I am saying however, is that what Justin Bieber does for a living IS NOT more worthy than what fire fighters, police officers, surgeons, EMT’s,  truck drivers, plumbers, electricians, etc. do for a living every single day.

A good friend of mines husband is an EMT, I would hope that her daughters would think their father is WAY more worth being in awe of than Justin Bieber.  The men who go out in the freezing cold to fix the power lines for six days straight so you can  have power deserves a front page plaster on the evening news more than Justin Bieber’s latest concert shenanigans.   The men who die protecting your cities every day deserve a line of lunch boxes and back-packs more than Justin Bieber does.

Suffice it to say that this is what I want to teach my daughter:

The only person I want my daughter to be more in awe of than her brother — is her grandfather.

The only person I want my daughter looking up to more than her grandfather — is her father.

The only person I want her to have more respect for than her father — is her husband.

The only person I want her to be more obsessed with than her husband — is Jesus.

http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2013/08/22/daily-prompt-first/

 

Whose to Blame: the Schools or the Parents?

Every time there is a tragedy of epic proportions, the finger-pointing begins. Actually that isn’t exactly accurate, anytime there is a tragedy of any proportion, the finger-pointing begins. This habit of ours is not even all that new. It has been around since the beginning of man, it is our base nature to not want to admit the error of our own choices.

God asks Adam in Genesis 3:11 “…Have you eaten from the tree that I commanded you not to eat from?”
This is the reply of the humans:
Genesis 3:12-14
“The man said, “The woman you put here with me — she gave me some fruit from the tree and I ate it.”
Then the Lord God said to the woman, “What is this you have done?”
The woman said, “The serpent deceived me, and I ate.”
In both instances neither man nor woman owns up to their choice to eat what was forbidden of them to eat.

The second act of sin we are shown was also finger-pointing. (The first being disobedience of the Lord’s Commands). This trend continues with Adam and Eve’s children: Cain and Abel. A brief back history of the sons is this: Cain tended the plants and crops of the land and Abel tended the animals. In this very early time of our world, it was very customary to show our thanks to God by giving back, in sacrificial burnings usually, the choicest portions of the “fruits” of the their labor. It was a sign of thanks, respect, reverence, etc. Cain choose to give just any old thing he found lying around the orchards and fields while Abel gave the very best fattest portions of the flocks. God was not pleased with this and did not look upon Cain with favor, and Cain was angry at the Lord.
There is not direct ask and answer section that point-blank states that Cain blamed Abel for this problems, instead we are shown Cain’s actions. Did Cain change his behavior and bring the choicest portion of harvest? No, he instead deceived his brother and murdered him in cold blood. (Genesis 4:6-8) It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that Cain blamed his brother for his problems and thus, chose to eliminate him.

I use these two references for many, many reasons, but it is not hard to see why. These two instances of sin in our world have followed mankind throughout its history, never more apparent than now.
Our headlines are riddled with sad stories of person after person after person stamping out the life of another in horrendous ways. In every instance there is always our desperate need to know “why” and nine times out of ten, the answer is always that someone else did or didn’t do something they should or should not have done. The main instances we can see this behavior is when someone, regardless of their age, decides to open fire on a school or mass institute full of helpless people (hospital). The main topic discussion eventually turns to questions of whether or not the parents or the education system in to blame for this persons error in logical thinking.
For myself and myself only this is my answer. The person choosing to commit mass homicide is the ONLY one responsible for the murders. End of story. I do not care at all what horrors they encountered as a child, and I don’t care if this makes me appear heartless. I did not say that I have no sympathy for their trials and horrors, I merely do not believe that they can make any allowable excuses for that person. We are all responsible for our own choices, it is as simple as that.

Now, as much as I hate the finger-pointing games we play, I thought I would turn the publics antics and use them against them with some simple straight forward numbers and let the chips fall where they may.
Let us begin.
Assuming that average two parent family is earning two incomes.
Every calendar year contains: 365 days.
Weekend Days: 104
Government Recognized Holidays: 10
Average # of days a child will be in the care of a parent: 114
Average # of days a child will be in the care of a “stranger”: 251
The average child starts going to day-care around age two, so that gives them 3 years of daycare before they start government mandated “public education”.
The average child starts changing classrooms for each subject in 6th grade with the average of 6 subjects per day.
Over the course of a child’s life from 2-18 the number of “strangers” caring for, educating, molding, mentoring and shaping the average American child is: 46

Now I don’t know about you, but that is simply unacceptable to me to think that 46 people I know next to nothing about are spending over 9 hours a day for 251 days of the year molding, shaping, mentoring, and guiding our children. And starting in the 6th grade, those strangers spend less than one hour at a time with 35-45 children all grappling for attention. Less than one hour is not anywhere near enough to teach our children the life skills they desperately need to function in life, especially if that isn’t even one-on-one attention. And at the age in which an individuals hormones are raging out of control and normal, structured, mature thinking is very challenging; this is the age in which we start bouncing them from one teacher to another. That is simply illogical.

I realize that homeschooling simply isn’t an option for some families, and honestly is not a decision to be taken lightly at all. And I am in no way saying that it is our only option to solving our problems, because it most certainly isn’t. But when one starts to really look at the numbers, it makes all that finger-pointing a little bit more complicated. If a parent spends less than half of a child’s life mentoring to them and spending time with them, is it not entirely possible that the school system truly is to blame for our craziness? It makes it a lot harder to “blame the parents” for the faulty thinking of an individual.

But I circle back to the beginning of this entire discussion and remind you of my original belief — we are all responsible for our OWN choices. For our society to adapt, change, grow, develop for the better and shape our future generations, the answer is not in how many days a child spends with who. It all comes down to what we are ALL teaching our children. For our society to see a positive change, there must be a change in us and our ways of thinking. Finger pointing needs to disappear, completely. A criminal should not be able to bring a suit against the liquor store that sold him the alcohol after he got in a deadly car accident while drinking and driving. Yet our judicial system allows this type of nonsense on a daily basis.

It is our base human nature to blame others for our faults, no one teaches us this habit. But we do in-grain and promote this habit when we allow it to flourish. My children have never hesitated to say, “But my sister…..” or “He started it.” I have never taught them that this is allowable, and yet in that moment when guilt settles on their shoulders, their natural overwhelming desire is to get out from under that weight. We must begin now to teach our children that blame is never allowed and absolutely nothing anyone does to them gives them any rights at all to bring harm to another human being. This needs to be reinforced with the understanding that we will very much feel like causing others harm, but that is entirely different from having any right to do so.

Exploring “Nature vs. Nurture”

As an adopted child, the age-old scientific argument of nature versus nurture has always fascinated me on a deep level. Seeing that I do not contain any matching DNA to my mother and father, there are some things in life that I simply never got to experience. I never had anyone think that my mother was my older sister because we looked identical. Even if I wasn’t an only child, I would not have had any mistaken identities with my siblings due to similarities. I did not get to look through photo albums of my parents and say, “Oh my gosh, I look just like you did when you were…..” There wasn’t the opportunity to ask, “Did you do that weird whatever when you were a kid too?” I don’t think people realize how these connections make up a person’s life and sense of belonging, most take them for granted or are even annoyed by them. It wasn’t until I had my own children was I able to enjoy looking at pictures of my daughter and say “Awwww! She looks exactly like me!”

But it goes beyond physical looks. Obviously our DNA makes the blueprint for our features. The color and texture of our hair, shape of our eyes, whether or not the tip of our nose points up or down, the shape of the swirls inside our ears. The list goes on almost without end as to the what our DNA is in control of. How much stomach acid I produce compared to you, the shape of my big toe, the weird way the little pinky one slides to the side, the hair on my knuckles, whether or not I snore, the size of my teeth, the size fork I prefer to eat with, the side of the bed I have to sleep on, whether or not I can stand things between my toes, whether or not I like the feeling of silk……

The argument in nature vs. nurture is: how much of our DNA is responsible for WHO we are and how much is of the life we lived as a child responsible for WHO we are? How do we know where one of those begins and the other ends? Since I am adopted I have no “nature” to compare and contrast with, I only have “nurture”. At most, my nature would be what ever I have that my parents lack or what I lack that my parents have. One could assume that since neither of my parents can even draw a decent stick figure, that my artistic ability must be a nature, because they could not nurture what they do not have themselves. However, one could also argue that had my mother not been extremely creative and crafty, my ability to draw and create would not have blossomed, it would instead have laid dormant. One could also assume that my ability to understand mechanics better than your average female could very well have been nurture given that my father has been a grease monkey since he was 12, so I naturally picked up on this ability throughout the years. However, there are many a child whose parent excels in something and despite constant interaction and contact with said subject, the child themselves never acquires an aptitude for it.

Delving into the quirky in our home I bring to you my proof that science will never discover which is more important, because they are both equally and inexplicably intertwined and combined to the point that you cannot tell where one ends and the other begins. My two children have shown me that DNA combinations are infinite (duh) and at the same time finite. Sometimes you can pinpoint exact what DNA has done.

Now I know given what the internet is these days that anyone reading this has seen those adorable pictures of sleeping infants next to their sleeping parent and both are in identical positions. So it stands to reason that the kid got it from somewhere right? We all know that the 3 month old that cannot even sit itself up did not climb out of his crib in the middle of the night crawl into mommy and daddy’s room, observe how they were sleeping, crawled back into their own crib and proceeded to duplicate said pose. So, it stands to reason that the position we prefer to sleep in is programmed into our DNA. Knowing this, it would stand to reason that SO much more about our sleeping habits are not our choice in the slightest.

For example, my husband and I are such polar opposites in sleeping habits that the two of us CANNOT share a blanket/comforter. We simply cannot do it, never have and never will. My entire life I have hated blankets, I cannot stand them, do not like them Sam I am. If for some reason I am under a blanket before falling asleep, I guarantee you it will be on the floor by the time I wake up. And heaven forbid it should get anywhere near my face and neck, especially if it is a heavy blanket. I absolutely cannot stand a blanket above my shoulders, I swear I will suffocate to death. And I have this weird thing with my pillow that I know is weird, because I have only ever hear of one other person my entire life that does this too. I must have the “cold side up”.

My husband on the other hand has this thing I call the ‘blanket of death’ that his brother bought for him. I swear his brother went to Canada and found the biggest effing bear and the biggest effing moose he could find, shoot them and made this blanket with their fur. It is HEAVY as hell and he will sleep under it no matter the season. Does not matter if it is 110 outside or 20. He will burrow under this thing and sweat to death, he must have the weight of it on him or he cannot sleep. It is all I can do to put up with it next to me in bed. And he has to have another smaller blanket waded up lengthwise behind him to “prop” himself on as he sleeps, he cannot sleep flat on his back.

I now present Exhibit A: my son. My darling, affectionate, silly son. From day one my son HAD to be swaddled, the tighter the better. He would scream his foul little head off that blanket came loose even the tiniest bit. And you guessed it, he had to be propped up on some sort of pillow or stuffed animal, he would not sleep flat on his back. Even now, at 7 he has this heavy blanket he has to have all year-long. Grandma made it for him out of his daddy’s old jeans and some fleece. For a little kid, this blanket is pretty heavy. He has to have it all year-long, and the fuzzy side has to be touching him. And his bed is pushed up against the wall with an army of stuffies at his back while he sleeps, propping him up.

That being said, I present Exhibit B: my daughter. My adorable, lovely, weird daughter. From the time we brought her home, she made it very clear that she wanted nothing to do with that thing called a blanket that we kept trying to cover her up with. As soon as she was able, those little feet went to kicking and that blanket was sailing across the crib. She will go to sleep with a light blanket on, and wake up with it halfway across the room. If I can manage to convince her sleep with one, she usually has to have her feet sticking out of the bottom and her arms tucked outside over the top.
And then when she was almost four she completely sealed her fate forever as “my daughter” when she informed daddy that she had to flip her pillow over before she could go to sleep. He asked her why and she told him with a perfectly straight face, “Because I have to have the cold side up.”

Now these are obviously not things that we teach our children. So if our DNA is responsible for not only the color of our eyes, but the acceptable heaviness of a blanket and the proper temperature of a pillowcase; how much more is it in control of? Where does the nature end and the nurture begin?