First 30 Days Blog

07 may

I Did It My Way

JoAnnaBoccardScreaming and crying I ran into the house, my mother a few steps behind. She was trying to make me go to school, and I was not cooperating, just like the day before and many days before that. I was about six years old, and I knew that if I threw a temper tantrum my mother would give in and let me stay home. From the time I first walked into that huge scary building, I knew I did not want to go to school. My mother and my teachers had already had quite a few conversations about my attendance record. My mother had tried everything to get me to go to school, but nothing worked.

I had it figured out, though. I would stay home for a period of time and then, when I knew I had to, I grudgingly went to school. I would do all the assignments that I had missed, then ask the teacher for all the future lessons that she had ready. I completed 10 days of assignments in two days, and then begged for more work. At that point she would tell me to help the students who were falling behind. When I completed all the tasks, she had given me, I decided I would not go to school again. It was a routine I had created and I’m not sure anyone else had it figured out. In spite of not being there most of the time, I easily passed each grade.

WRITING MY OWN RULES

I continued the pattern of missing school through junior high and in high school, minus the tears and screaming. I had it figured out: I was very bored. The subjects that I had to take were of no interest to me, so I dreaded going to school. I asked the Dean of Girls if we could have an art class so I could study sketching and colors, but I was given an emphatic NO. In spite of all this, I maintained very good grades, since this was what my parents and teachers demanded from me. In my senior year I was elected to the National Honor Society.

I remember the time in high school when I decided that if I did not get my homework done in school or in study hall, I would not take it home. I would not use my free time at home to study. I made that rule for myself, even though I knew it had the potential to be self-defeating. It became a challenge. Could I do all my homework assigned to me during my hours at a school, and still pass all the tests?

My parents and teachers did not know what I was doing, the only requirement was to get A’s and B’s, Seeing my report card was all that mattered to them, not the process in reaching that point. Which meant the new rule I had made was perfectly okay.

A LITTLE FIB

I suppose that because my family did not have rules for me, I had to make up my own. On one occasion, my friends and I had been out a little later than we probably should have. The next day they told me they were really in trouble and were grounded for getting home past curfew. I felt left out so I told them a little fib. I told them I was grounded, too. Looking back, I’m not sure why there was such a lack of rules and accountability for me, except that my parents, especially my mother did not associate with any of the other parents. Even though they had raised my sister, who was nine years older than me, they may not have considered what it takes to raise a defiant teenager. My sister was cooperative and compliant, while I was stubborn and independent, somewhat of a spoiled brat and I knew how to manipulate people.

A CONTINUING PATTERNI continued my pattern of not spending extra time doing homework into my adult world. For instance when I went to class to study for my Real Estate exam, I refused to study at home and I refused to be worried. I would have to comprehend and remember what I learned during class. Did that work for me? I passed a very difficult Real Estate exam the first time.

The exceptions to this rule are my creative activities. I’ve always spent time practicing and rehearsing anything that I feel passionate about, such as writing, dancing, acting, design and decorating, cooking, and voice.

WHAT I LEARNED

While still a teenager, I went on a date, and the boy I was with tried to get me to drink flavored vodka. I was angry, appalled that he would think I was that kind of girl. I was afraid I would not be able to handle him if he started drinking. So I made another rule: I was not going to drink, nor would I be forced to drink. I made this rule since my parents did not give me any advice on dating. I was not going to drink nor would I be forced to drink. I did not care what my parents thought or what he thought. This is how I felt.

As an adult, I was out with a group of friends at a bar, and they kept ordering rounds of drinks. I was told to drink up. As they drank, they became louder and more forceful, but I refused to succumb. I did not want to drink the beverages that were sitting in front of me. Worse, the man I was with did not support me. In fact, he was angry because I was not being sociable and because I refused to comply.

I’ve noticed that sometimes it is difficult to go against what everyone wants. I’ve also noticed that to be true to me and true to the rules that I set for myself, I am going to make people angry with me. I accept this, and I continue to make my own rules to live by. I find that by making rules that I know will benefit me, I will less likely be swayed by others. By setting my own rules I also have set my standards high and place value on what is important to me. I have no one to answer to but myself.

EXERCISE

Did you, out of necessity, make new rules for yourself as a child or teenager?

Do you still use these rules in your life, today?

Are the patterns plainly visible or do the patterns creep up unexpectedly?

Is it time to make new rules and patterns?

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Posted by JoAnna Boccard on May 7th, 2010 in New Directions, Personal Stories, Uncategorized | 0 comments Read related posts in

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