Dimming Memories or Lies?

When I was thirteen my mother sent me to a Catholic boarding school. She had to work and felt I would be safer and also get the benefit of an excellent education. However, it was analogous to a Marine boot camp! We had a strict regimen: up a five thirty, mass at six o:clock, back to our rooms to make beds, breakfast, study hall, than classes till three. After our classes, free time till 4, outdoor activity till five, dinner at 5: 30, study hall and then lights out at 8. The rules and regulations were to be followed without excuses or whining. If you tried to outwit the good sisters, you were “in for it”,

There was no corporal punishment. You were told the error of your ways, and either had to go to detention or say hundreds of “Our Fathers” and “Hail Mary’s” in order to gain absolution. You learned to not try to weasel your way out of things very early on.

My boarding school days flashed before my eyes when I read of the latest, greatest, scandal which centered around Brian Williams the CBS nightly news anchor. It seems he reported he falsely recounted a story that he was in a helicopter that was hit by ground fire in 2003. One of the higher-ups said he “misrepresented events”. Another word used was that he possibly ” misremembered”. Is it possible for our memories to dim or can we embellish them over the years? Absolutely! However we are now in the era of “doublespeak” where we create words that make the bad seem good, make lies sound honest, and negative events seem positive. Basic to doublespeak according to Kathy Kellerman is incongruity -“the incongruity between what is said, or left unsaid, and what really is.”

The first word I heard that fit the above criteria was “downsizing”. Corporate cultures decided that it would ease the pain of just being fired. I’m sure millions of people on unemployment felt soothed when they explained they were downsized. Doublespeak grew over the years. Some of it is quite comical. I would be considered ” vertically challenged” and ” horizontally impaired” instead of simply short and pudgy. A garbage man is now a ” sanitation engineer”. A psycho is a  “pathologically high-spirited” individual, “pre-owned” instead of used or possibly beat up, ” person of interest” instead of suspect in a crime, “ill-advised” instead of a very bad idea. One if my favorites “negative patient care outcome” which means the patient died. Oh, there are many more and I’m sure many more to come.

When is a lie, a lie, or how do we discern fantasy from reality? How do we create a moral compass for future generations if we continually “misremember” the direction we’re going in?

Only you can rescue YOU.

There is so much written today about finding one’s soulmate. Books written about the subject are rampant, and the authors give suggestions on how to find this person that is made to fit you like a glove. He or she will be your spiritual counterpart. You won’t even have to speak for them to know what you’re thinking.

When I was a young woman, the word soul mate was not a word used to describe a potential partner. My generation was waiting for the prince or the princess. Fairy tales were rife with content about the prince rescuing the damsel in distress, or how kissing a frog would turn it into a prince. Believe me when I tell you that I kissed a lot of frogs and all I got was a frog!

Unfortunately I got hooked into believing that “someday my prince would come.” I desperately wanted to be rescued from what I considered to be a difficult life, living with my mother and my stepfather, who seemed to thrive on not getting along. I thought that if the prince came along, he would save me and we would live happily ever after. What I didn’t know was that it’s very difficult to create a healthy relationship with another person if you have never been privileged to see one.

I wish I had paid more attention to how my grandparents managed to stay together for over 60 years. They seemed to go with the flow. They fought here and there throughout the day, then went on to talk about what they were going to eat, or what relative was driving them crazy. The interesting thing about their relationship was that it was an arranged marriage Their Italian parents decided they were a good match. Perhaps there’s something to that. I have read some research that arranged marriages have fewer divorces. Although I must say that if my mother thought my stepfather was good for her, what would she have chosen for me? Attila the Hun?

Deciding to be in a partnership is not something to be taken lightly. Finding a compatible mate takes the ability to communicate well, to understand each other’s foibles, and to make sure your values are concomitant. If you have to constantly convince the other person of how you think or feel, you might as well just become a lawyer and be done with it. It’s also not fair to badger someone into being just like you. That’s called a clone and you’ll need to buy a petri dish to help you out.

More importantly, the most viable lesson we can learn is that the only person that is going to “rescue you” is you. You are the prince or princess!

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