We can maintain a firm grip on all those things that shaped us. I’m not saying that’s a bad thing–all the time. But it can be. We also have the choice to look at everything under a microscope. Analyse it. We take the building blocks that form our foundation and really think about them, then decide which are structurally important, which need some reconstruction, and which need to be removed altogether to keep the whole structure from crumbling.
So, there’s really three ways to do this, as I see it.
1. We don’t ever have to think about it. We take what we were given, and we keep it, defend it, and maybe even pass it on to our children. It could be good. It could be harmful. But we don’t question it, so it is as it is.
2. We analyse it, and we tear it apart. We dig out the roots and rip them from the soil, cast them aside, and start anew. In some cases, we take those uprooted beliefs and put them in a glass case that we sometimes look at as a reminder to forcefully oppose everything about them. Sometimes, we cast them away. Sometimes, we plant an aggressive opposition in our brains. Sometimes, we see each plant independently. Sometimes, we don’t. Each individual experience is different, and perhaps the scorching is necessary.
The Sewing and Unstitching
3. We look at what has shaped us, and like a quilt, we take out a few squares that don’t work for us. Perhaps we just move them to another location. Perhaps there are some things we like about that swatch of fabric, but it doesn’t work for us just now, so we keep it out of the quilt, but we don’t throw it away. Then, we sew in new patches. These ones are other ideas and beliefs. We harmonize the pattern, hopefully, and the quilt keeps growing. We’re always adding and removing. Perhaps we’re even starting new quilts to give to someone else. But, we don’t just give them the quilt. We give them the tools to work on it. We hand them a few swatches of fabric and say, “here you go, here’s my gift to you. You don’t have to use them. If you want, you can just look at them.” (It’s like teaching a person to fish. Maybe they don’t want to be a fisher, but it will sure help them when they need to eat.) Then soon, there are dozens of quilts being made. We can’t expect every quilt will be perfect or fashionable, of course. At the very least, we can’t expect to like the patterns that someone else has chosen. Maybe it’s not a quilt we would use, but it suits them just fine.
With all those mixed metaphors in mind, all I can say is: there are things I wish I’d learned sooner. Another language, or more about geography, or a deeper look into other religions. But, regretting the uncontrolled past is not how we proceed to the future. We still have the future to work with, after all.
We’re shaped as children, yes, but there’s always more we can mold, so long as we’re willing to work the clay and keep it from drying up or cracking.
You’re welcome for all the metaphors,