Before clicking on the link below I do feel I need to warn you that it is a little “risque”.
One day last week I stumbled upon the “Pretty Woman” movie on TV. It had been a long time since I had last seen it so I watched while doing a few things around the house. When the scene above came on it really grabbed my attention. At first it was the fact they were in bed and it just caught me off guard but it was the dialogue that made me continue to watch. Two lines stood out in particular. “People put you down enough you start to believe it” and the line “The bad stuff is easier to believe”. It stung me. I literally said out loud, “oh, wow”.
Reflecting back to my childhood I struggle to remember the compliments. They were there but I really have to think hard to pull them out of my mind. The negatives, however, stand out clearly. I was encouraged to go to college but I sometimes got the feeling that it was for bragging rights to friends not because of my merits. My art work gained me an occasional “that’s nice” but nothing more. One time I mentioned entering the school’s beauty pageant (I know you just giggled) but my mom told me I didn’t have a chance with “the way I walked”. I do want to preface this with the fact that my parents were much older when they had me and had already raised two children before I was a teen. Their life was much harder. Discipline meant love and bragging only made a child spoiled and soft. They never stood in the way of my dreams and when I asked if I could spend a month in London during my Freshman year, after a lot of discussion, they borrowed the money and sent me over the ocean. I understand were they were coming from now but as a teenage girl it was hard to grasp. Self-motivation was, however, hard to hold on to so I grabbed the one trait I had I knew I could count on then: stubbornness.
I remember a certain elementary teacher telling me I would never amount to anything; in front of the whole class. She continued to say how I needed to grow up and some day act like a girl. I was so embarrassed. I refused to do math homework from then on even though she would pull me in front of the class and paddle me for not having it (I am so old we still did that). I was laughed at by another school official when I told him of my plans to attend college after high school. Sure, I didn’t always apply myself but I always believed I could.
The day came when I graduated high school with a wonderful class rank of 29 out of 99 and my SAT scores were barely average. No scholarship offers there but I was accepted and attended college anyway. Time to move away from home. The year was harsh. The professors heard my mountain accent and saw my horrible writing and I was again labeled. I can recall my art critiques and the papers I wrote. I was so far behind on the very first day. I didn’t know what the others in my class already knew. The professors would openly call my artwork “crap” and my English professor said he could tell where I was from by my poor writing. I would get people to proof read for me and sometimes they would just tell me “it might be easier to start over”. Every now and then I would believe them. When I got tired of feeling so dumb I would stubborn up and dig in again. It was a cycle. One that followed me into my career later as a teacher.
It was much later in life that I finally broke the cycle of stupid. The first thing was I fell in love and married a man that has never put me down or made me feel less than an intelligent and completely capable woman. The second thing was when I really and completely got what Christ says about me. It ended those cycles. “I praise You because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Your works are wonderful, I know that full well.”- Psalm 139:14 I don’t think we think about ourselves as part of His works. “In Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins, in accordance with the riches of God’s grace He lavished on us with all wisdom and understanding.”- Ephesians 1:7,8 Lavish means to bestow in generous and extravagant quantities.
So I say stubborn up and believe in you. Christ does. He died on a cross believing in you.
Oh Patty, there is so much truth in this whole post!!! I have struggled with stereotypes, both in my youth and even now. I have such a strong southern accent and I’m blonde…so you can imagine the level of stupid people often assumed that I was. I wasn’t much on the stubborn side, I just cried. Now, thanks to the same revelations you shared, I know precisely who I am. My accent, my hair color, my gender…none of things define me. I love you and your blog!
Thanks so much Valerie! I have fought myself all day because I felt I portrayed my parents negatively. I hope I got my point across that the bad is so easy to remember.
I don’t think you portrayed them in a negative light at all. I knew exactly what you were trying to say and I’d say your other readers did as well.