Most adults are just kids in big clothes! — TD Hughes
I believe that most folks who are regular readers of the Sunday Cruxes understand the importance that I place on the things that are learned during childhood. My own childhood was really good in a lot of ways. I’m sure that I had it better than most. Still, I adopted many false beliefs and distorted views of myself and others as a result of the “programming,” those thoughts, behaviors and beliefs that I accumulated during my childhood and adolescence. There was no shortage of programmers either; my parents & siblings, teachers & coaches, friends as well as enemies. Additionally, elements of the culture, like the music to which I listened, the movies that I watched…some more than once, the magazines that I read, and the athletes whom I tried to emulate all were influencing me in subtle yet powerful ways. I now understand, with more clarity than ever the impact of these influences on my emotional development and self-image.
I still love to watch good movies. I especially like the ones that wrestle with issues of substance and that successfully pierce some meaningful aspect of the human condition. I have approximately fifty movies that I could watch over and over again. Some movies make me laugh…Tommy Boy, some make me cry…Saving Private Ryan, some make me cheer…Shawshank Redemption, some have left me numb…Schindler’s List, one in particular emboldens me…Braveheart and there are a select few that deliver in almost all of those categories, like Forrest Gump!
One of these favorites is a movie made in the year 2000 entitled The Kid. The main character Russ, played by Bruce Willis is a Type A image consultant whose ultra-successful life is turned upside down by a most unlikely visitor to his home. An awkward, pudgy middle-schooler shows up at his upscale mansion one night and quickly takes up residence with him there, both physically and emotionally. Rusty, the boy reminds Russ of all the things that he detested about himself as a kid and his mere presence challenges Russ to rethink his life and to put his past into the proper perspective. The movie is fun and its plot, though implausible at times, gets one thinking about the power of the past and its indomitable force to continually shape and permeate one’s present.
Earlier in my life, it was difficult for me to admit to, much less reconcile with elements of my past. Through the wisdom and guidance of friends and mentors, I have found my way to a better understanding of myself and the reasons why I do some of the things that I do. I recognize that the soul-less things that I did came from being disconnected from my true self. As a young boy and budding adolescent, I was always trying to be either more or less than the person who I was meant to be at any particular time. I was an impostor, feeling my way around to the part that I was meant to play in my own life.
I’m confused as to why there seems to be such an aversion within each of us to dig deep into who we are and our motivations for doing the things that we do. It is not a sign of weakness to unpack our past. So many of the things that we do were learned at a very young age.
We should ask ourselves, what is the worst thing that can happen to us when scrutinizing and replaying our earliest years? Being a witness to our memories has every chance of helping us to better understand the thoughts, behaviors and beliefs that unconsciously drive our daily behavior. We can’t unscramble the egg! Each of us has survived our past, no matter how difficult or disordered. We have made our way to the other side of our experiences; so merely reflecting on those defining moments and key learnings from our childhood needn’t be fraught with wailing and gnashing of teeth.
With good fortune and overwhelming grace, we will discern how we came by our beliefs and idiosyncrasies honestly. In time, through a combination of introspection and personal rigor we have every opportunity for some serious personal growth. Better yet, we can be healed on various levels and fully cooperate with The Force that is conspiring to set us free.
Thomas “TD” Dierker
Live like you’re dying…. cause you are!