"It's Not the Power of the Curse, it's the Power you Give the Curse"
My daughter and I watched Penelope the other night. If you haven't seen it, it's a quirky little movie made in 2006 about a girl (Christina Ricci) who is cursed with a pig nose. She is told that the curse can only be broken if she finds true love with "one of her own kind." She sets out to do just that, and in the end, a little boy utters these words and I think it's the best line in the movie. But I'm sappy that way.
When I heard the words, I thought of my step dad. I intensely disliked him. I only had to live under his roof for a few months because I turned 18 not long after he and my mom were married and I moved out. But that was long enough for him to curse me.
He was a selfish, mean-spirited, obnoxious man, but he fancied himself a smart one. One day he picked up something I had written - a grocery list, or a note, or something - and pronounced his analysis of my handwriting. "Weelllll, it looks like you're all right kid, but you got high ideals and sloppy habits," he said with his too loud voice and his Brooklyn accent.
I've never forgotten those words. The man meant less to me than a mascara clump, but those words hung over my head for years. They were my curse.
Any endeavor I started, I would question if I could finish it successfully because of my "high ideals but sloppy habits." Some aspirations I haven't started yet because I'm afraid I won't finish them - like writing a book. How can I write a book with "high ideals and sloppy habits?"
Oh, there were a few things I started that didn't pan out - selling Tupper Ware (that was a brief one when I was a teen-ager), learning medical transcribing, selling insurance - but it wasn't "sloppy habits" that did me in. I just wasn't good at those things. Or maybe I could have been better if I had better habits. There I go again, giving the curse power.
I've been doing mortgages for going on ten years and damn it, I'm so detail oriented when it comes to closing a loan, that I border on anal. "Sloppy habits," my ass!
I guess my point is that most of us are cursed with our baggage. Past mistakes, labels our parents or teachers gave us when we were kids, beliefs we formed about ourselves based on others beliefs about us are all curses. They don't have any power if we don't give it to them.
In the words of Eleanor Roosevelt, "No one can make you feel inferior without your consent."
And that's why this is my quote of the week.