Sunday, September 13, 2015

Up the Auntie

To give value to others, you have to begin by valuing yourself.” ― Tim Fargo

My Aunt Marie has a singular way of expressing herself.

I’ve been keeping a list of some of my mom’s sister’s best lines and I’ve found her observations to be both funny and insightful.

For example, a few years back, my auntie, sister and I were going to a St. Patrick’s Day concert at a church in Bay Ridge and my aunt had brought along some health food bars for us to snack on.

Being a hyper hypochondriac and demented fitness fanatic, I immediately asked if the ingredients were in fact good for me.

“No nothing bad!” my auntie breathlessly declared.

“Wow,” I snarked, “they’re really good for you!”

I was teasing her about the momentary language lapse, but the more I thought about the phrase “no nothing bad” the more I liked it. It’s a good way to look at life.

I am notoriously negative so the idea of pushing the positive beyond the grievous grasp of grammar appeals to me no end. What do I want in my life, my heart, and my mind? No nothing bad!

Last year the three of us went to Cold Spring to enjoy the fall foliage and my auntie caught sight of a young lady who had rather optimistically squeezed herself into a tight pair of slacks.

“She’s got too much ass for those pants,” my aunt said—out of earshot, of course.

Rock on With Your Bad Self

We got such a kick out of her words that we toyed around with a song inspired by that phrase.

But my favorite line from my auntie came at the end of one of her classic rants about the ills of modern society. I honestly forget what particular issue had set her off, but Marie was going long on this one.

“People today have no sense of self,” she thundered. “They have selfies, but no sense of self!”

This line was so powerful, I posted it on Facebook and it got a record number of likes.

“Oh, she’s very wise!” one of my friends exclaimed.

Yes, she certainly is. But like all good lines it also got me thinking more about my own sense of self. I started do some research and I came across some intriguing ideas.

Mental health experts recommend that in order to develop a sense of self you take several steps that include believing in yourself, keeping promises to yourself, setting boundaries, and being kind to yourself.

In other words, a whole bunch of things that I don’t normally do or that I don’t do often enough.

I’ve had trouble making decisions and I find that far too often I’m burdening friends and family with their thoughts on what I should do.

Of course it’s important to consult with people you trust and respect before making a major move in your life, but I feel that I’m abdicating my responsibility to make a decision and essentially asking people to tell me what I should do.

It’s unhealthy for me and unfair to those around me.

I’m a crossroads in my life now and so this is a good time to create that sense of self, to discover who I really am and, go forward showing kindness to myself and to others.

It’s all about building on the good stuff and coming away with no nothing bad.


Bijoux said...

Wow! My husband and I went out with his brother and wife on Saturday and spent a lot of time talking about boundaries (and lack of) within the extended family. So important to recognize this.

I love the selfie quote. So true!

Rob K said...

Yes, Bijoux, boundaries are very important. And I got a kick out of that selfie quote too!

cestlavie22 said...

I love that. Lots of selfies but no sense of self! I am working hard to correct that with a lot of self help type activities!

Rob K said...

Great idea, Shae!

A Cuban In London said...

I like your aunt. :-) I really do. Thanks.

Greetings from London.

Rob K said...

Oh, thank you! She's one of a kind!