A Regular Little Mini-Me

Children are funny little creatures. They’re little miniature copies of ourselves, and how we interact with them affects who they will become, how they will grow and act. And sometimes, despite the choices we make and the actions we take, they grow and learn in a way that takes us completely off guard.

My daughter is inadvertantly causing me to relive my childhood, and it genuinely cracks me up every time I think about it. It started with little things that my husband and I fostered without thinking about it. She loves books because we encourage her to explore them and we taught her the alphabet earlier than might be usual. She loves being outside because we made sure to allow her plenty of time to explore and enjoy the outdoors. She loves to talk and sing because we always made sure to speak to her in proper English and I would sing to her whenever I got the chance.

Then, as she moved on into toddlerdom, other interests began cropping up that continually amazed me because they mirror my childhood so closely, despite the fact that I have in no way attempted to push these things on her. One of the first thing that caught my eye was when I noticed how much she loves playing with the dinky cars at her playgroup. When she first took interest with these she had no toy cars of her own at home, and I never specifically attempted to get her to play with any of the toy cars at playgroup. It made me smile because I used to love playing with my cousin’s dinky cars when I was young, and it seemed funny that she would take a shine to them as well. A small thing, to be sure, but funny. Then, one day as my husband was flipping through some movies, she caught sight of the dvd cover for the original live-action Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles movie. “Wassat?” she asked. So my husband put the movie on for her, and lo and behold, she fell in love with it. She took to all of the movies, the original cartoon, and especially the new cartoon. These days she doesn’t go one day without watching at least one episode, and most nights she wants the show on her tv when she goes to bed. She even has the new action figures, which she recieved for Christmas, and they’re some of her favorite toys. This makes me chuckle on a regular basis because, not only is it odd that a 2-year-old girl would fall in love with a show marketed toward 10-year-old boys, but I also loved the Ninja Turtles when I was young. My cousin and I would watch it every day while we ate lunch at my grandmother’s house, and he and I would act out many a battle with his cache of action figures.

And then, before you start declaring my daughter a full-on tomboy, along came My Little Pony. I’ll confess to this one: I looked up the show myself. I loved My Little Pony when I was young and I had tons of the little toy ponies, so I was interested to see what the new show was all about (the appearance of the word “brony” all over the net may have prompted my curiosity as well). So it was that I found a few episodes of the new show and introduced it to my daughter. The discovery was not at the same level as the Turtles, but over the past few months her delight with them has become nearly as strong. She now has a small collection of miniature ponies, as well as a few of the hair-styling variety, and on a regular basis she will request ponies for her bedtime show instead of Turtles. 

These things, along with several others, have made me seriously wonder about the idea of genetic memory. It just baffles me to no end that, with very little proding from my husband or I, my daughter has somehow come to fall in love with so many of the things that I loved as a child. She loves sitting and playing with the loose strings on her pillow (I did the same thing with a particular towel), she has a strange love for robots (I loved Transformers), and (perhaps as a result of watching Ninja Turtles) her favorite food is pizza (I ate so many mini pizzas as a child that my parents should have purchased stock in McCain). I’m sure I could come up with at least a dozen more similarities that seem to have sprung up from nowhere as well. It makes me wonder what other striking similarities may pop up in the future. Will she enjoy writing? Drawing? Will her favorite subject in school be math? Will she prefer RPG-style video games? Nothing is certain except for this: despite any similarities or dissimilarties her childhood may have to mine, at two years old I already think she’s the coolest little kid in the world, and I know that she’s only going to become more and more amazing in my eyes. Whatever interests you adopt as you grow up, baby girl, mama thinks you’re just the awesomest kid ever. 

A Little Push

A reminder: This post courtesy of Julie Jarnagin’s 101 Blog Post Ideas for Writers.

29. Encourage other writers to keep going

I suspect that it is an inevitable truth that at some point (and possibly multiple, regularly occurring points) every writer feels like giving up. Whether you’re an amateur working on your first real manuscript or a published professional having issues in editing, writers are a naturally self-depreciating breed. As my rage comic indicated, we have a tendency to flow through repeating stages of “I’m so awesome!” and “I’m such a hack!” It is a tendency we share with artists, musicians, and other creative peoples who put a little piece of their own selves into their work.

Some of this constant shift in attitude can be attributed to physiology (moods, hormones, emotional state due to outside forces, etc), but much of it is likely due to the lifestyle of a writer and the inability of people in general to fairly, and without bias, judge themselves.

The lifestyle may break may would-be writers because they simply can’t (or feel that they can’t) handle it. The life of a writer may seem simple and carefree to many, but in reality it can be very stressful and difficult. Deadlines may lead to anxiety and burnout. Disagreements with editors and agents can cause frustration and a feeling of losing creative control. Rejections from published and poor critiques/reviews can create doubt, depression, and the belief that you’ll never be successful. It’s a mentally and emotionally exhausting situation to volunteer for.

And then there’s that bit about being unable to judge ourselves. As humans, we are notorious for this, not just involving creative processes, but in every aspect of our lives. One only needs to observe drivers on the highway to understand the concept. Everyone on the road believes that they are an excellent driver, while everyone else is a dangerous SOB who needs to be arrested. It’s the same with writers, except that in our case it works at both ends of the spectrum. Either you think you rock (even if you don’t) while everyone else is a hack, or else everyone else is amazing while you’re a miserable failure (even if you aren’t).

So, in conclusion, being a writer is wrought with emotional distress, time management impossibilities, peer-to-peer conflict, pain of rejection, and psychological issues, and on top of all that you might never become successful enough to make a living out of it.

And here I am, supposedly about to tell you to keep going. Hmm…

Here’s the thing…have you ever heard the phrase that nothing worth doing is easy? While it may not be a logical descriptor for every person in every situation, it still rings true a good deal of the time. Do you think the athletes who go to the Olympics just breeze through the events without any training? Do you think young army recruits just walk through the door and all of a sudden they’re a high-ranking officer? Hell, do you think pregnant women just have a squat and a grunt and a beautiful, perfectly healthy baby just pops out?

If you really care about something – genuinely want it with all your heart, then you’ll do what you have to do and endure what you have to endure to make that dream a reality. Olympians know that they’re going to have to push their bodies to the limit, but they crave that gold, so they move through it. Privates-in-training know they’re going to be trained hard and disparaged at every turn, but they want to serve, so they deal with it. And women know damn well that childbirth is like to be a painful, miserable event that makes them feel like they’re going to die, but they want to bring a life into the world so they damn well manage it.

So if you really want to be a writer, write. Put your heart and soul into it and deal with whatever you have to deal with as a result, because in the end that’s the only true way to get what you want. You have to be willing to do whatever is necessary, end of discussion. If you aren’t willing, well…I guess you didn’t really want it very much in the first place, did you?