Thursday, December 11, 2014

The Power of My Curse

I first wrote this post back in January, 2010. I'm updating it a bit and reposting it for Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop topic, "Share a quote you love."

I know that's lazy, but I've established before that I can be a bit lazy when it comes to my blog. And that ties right into the meaning of one of my favorite quotes.

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 at the end, tells the story of her curse to a group of children. She asks the kids what they thought the moral of the story is and a little boy with a charming English accent says,
"It's not the power of the curse, it's the power you give the curse."
Inspirational quote from the movie Penelope. It's not the power of the curse, it's the power you give the curse.
When I heard that line in the movie, I immediately thought of my stepdad.  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 married, and 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 starts to "analyze" my handwriting.

After a minute, he announces, with his too loud voice and his Brooklyn accent, "Well, it looks like you're all right kid, but you got high ideals and sloppy habits." 

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.  "High ideals and sloppy habits." 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?"

Admittedly, there were a few things I started that didn't pan out - selling Tupperware (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 good if  I had better habits.

There I go again, giving the curse power.

Then there's my blog. I had high hopes that it would be wildly successful.


The fact that it's not is entirely my own fault. I'm inconsistent. I get tired after work and don't feel like blogging. I get busy on the weekends and don't make time to write and promote and socialize in blog world.

High ideals, sloppy habits.

On the other  hand, there are some things at which I've been very successful. I flourished in the mortgage business for 9 years.

I'm an excellent administrative assistant.

I was a good mom. Not perfect...but good.

What else...

I'm proficient at wine drinking. Although I do get sloppy when I've had too much.

Anyway, the 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 judgements about us) - these are all curses.

They don't have any power if we don't give it to them.

Curses we give power to are like big fat pig noses strapped on our face. They get in the way. They're hard to see past. And they make us feel ugly.

This quote helped me understand that.

Ever since I saw the movie, whenever I hear that little whisper in my head when I've failed at something (**Pssst - high ideals, sloppy habits**), I think of Penelope and I refuse to give my curse power.

What about you? Do you have a curse?

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