Thursday, November 11, 2010

Surviving our culture's messages

I’m a survivor of many damaging messages of my culture. ‘Don’t cry’ is just one.
There is the “don’t-climb-you-will-fall” or the “you-are-incapable” message.
There is the “don’t-pick-up-the-glass-you-will-break-it” or the “i-don’t-trust-you-to-be-careful” message.
There is the “shame!-shame!” or the “be-ashamed-of-your-body” message.
There is the “did-you-fall-oh-let’s-beat-up-the-floor” or the “blame-others-for-your-faults” or “it’s-ok-to-take-revenge” message.
There is the “I’ll-supervise-your-exam-to-make-sure-you-don’t-copy” or the “i-don’t-trust-your-honesty” message.
There is the “be-a-good-girl-and-listen-to-what-mama-says” or "obedience-is-a-virtue" or “bow-down-to-authority” message.
There is the “eat-this-or-I’ll-tell-that-doctor uncle-to-put-an-injection” or “threat-is-a-legitimate-incentive-to-motivate-action” message.
And so on..

As I go through my own process of recovery from assault from internalizing many hundreds of such messages growing up, I so want to protect Isha from that painful process. Every time I see someone telling her some crap like these, I panic and react. I need to remember to have faith in Isha’s own intelligence in this matter. I need to remember to have faith in her own process of growing up through these essential evils of our times, while being her strongest support. I need to remember always that by healing my own wounds is how I can most effectively do that!


aishy'spuzzles said...
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abhi said...

as with most of your posts, this gave me a fresh jolt of recognition. you're spot on about allowing isha to make her own little way through these messages, just as you have. also reminded me of the saying i would do well to remember more often: "Sometimes we're so concerned about giving our children what we never had growing up, we neglect to give them what we DID have growing up."

Unknown said...

Its true what we say and how to convey to children makes an impact. My girl is 2 and a half years old and she doesn't like wearing inner-wear. People around say shame-shame. It's so embarrassing for me and I don't know how to convince my child on this. Or I don't know whether I should wait until she realises on her own :(

Sangeetha Sriram said...

If I were you, a question I would ask myself 'Do I carry embarrassment about my own body that I project on to this situation?' When I start from myself, I feel empowered in my engagement with my daughter.