What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger

A Tree With Muscle

Image by live w mcs via Flickr

How many times did we hear our parents tell us that when we were kids? I’m pretty sure I heard it a few too many times…

So what did make me stronger (it obviously didn’t kill me as I’m still here, although at the time I may have been a tad dramatic!)?

  • Vegetables. Back in the day I loved potato in every form – boiled, roasted, fried, mashed…and roasted carrots. I’m really not sure what other veges I ate. I hated tomato, mushrooms (still do), cabbage, brussel sprouts…My brother was the same. I remember him falling asleep in his dinner a few times as he wasn’t allowed to leave the table until he had cleared his plate. As an adult I have introduced many of them into my diet on a regular basis. I like most vegetables these days, and my insides thank me for it.
  • Getting some fresh air and sunshine. I was a morbid, grumpy teenager who rarely had her nose out of a book. At one stage the family joke was that I didn’t know what the backyard looked like. This was often met with a look that could kill (almost). One night when I had to go out into the back yard, I tripped over a fence and pretty much proved that I in fact did not know what the back yard looked like. Good news is that I now go outside, and I have the freckles to prove it.
  • Liking boys that never knew I existed. It was heart-breaking at the time – I wasted many tears. But seeing where many of them ended up – it’s a fantastic thing that they never knew I existed!
  • Moving away from my ‘bestest friends in the whole wide world.’ This happened a few times – the first time was when I was about 11, and the move effected me greatly. I went from a pretty friendly kid with lots of friends, to a shy reclusive girl who struggled to say ‘boo’. The next time, well I was about 16. I think my Mum moved us away especially to get me away from my friends – we were into boys, cigarettes, alcohol, rapidly heading towards drugs – and to get away from where we had lived as it harboured so many bad memories. This killed me at the time as the boy I had a crush on had finally realised I was alive, as had some of the popular kids. Today, I am thankful we moved as if we hadn’t, I would never have gone to uni, my family would potentially be in disarray, and I can guarantee you my life would have turned out messy.
  • Loosing my finger nail on numerous occasions after slamming my finger in the car door. Hurt like hell, my nail turned black, then green and dropped off. I should have learnt 1) not to slam the car door, 2) to slow down, 3) not to argue with my brother over who got to sit in the front seat, but I did it at least 2 more times that I can remember. I am alive – yes – but I have two fingers that curve and I blame the car door (although my Nan had crooked fingers also so it might just be hereditary).
  • Wearing hand me downs. I had an issue with clothes from early on – I used to sulk and cry when my Mum dressed me in things, and it became so bad some days that it was a struggle to leave the house. I actually don’t know why, as in my late teenage years and early twenties I regularly attended ‘retro boutiques’ (Good Samaritans) to find funky ‘vintage’ clothing.

As I am now much wiser (and older…eh) I find myself coining this exact phrase to my partner as we discuss his kids. ‘What doesn’t kill them makes them stronger.’ Hmmmm if my child self could see me now!?

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12 thoughts on “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger

  1. Lol….this is so true! I can so relate with many of the experiences. I have always been “fair” by Indian standards so people in my family dressed me in the weirdest of bright colors. Didn’t kill me but people always refer to me as the jazzy one around. And I now somehow like bright colors! Maybe “what doesn’t kill us, just becomes a habit!”

    Had so much fun reading this.

  2. Becoming your mum must be part of the ageing process…not nice, but something that you can’t avoid! That said, I am not sure that surviving something necessarily makes you stronger: look at abuse victims-some are traumatised for life!

    • Yes – in a way true. But in some ways it teaches you, in a bad way, what you can overcome if you do overcome it. Not saying that it shld happen, but if it has happened then there are ways to frame your thinking to help deal with it so that it doesn’t drag you down into the abyss forever. I could go on but I won’t.

  3. Janine, I could relate to a lot of the things you mentioned but most of all to “I went from a pretty friendly kid with lots of friends, to a shy reclusive girl who struggled to say ‘boo’.” The same thing exactly happened to me when I was moved from England to Mexico City. (Coincidentally, I wrote about it in my latest blog post.)

  4. I was nodding reading this post Janine! Oh how true.
    “Today, I am thankful we moved as if we hadn’t, I would never have gone to uni, my family would potentially be in disarray, and I can guarantee you my life would have turned out messy.”
    Your mom had great insight…and what a positive outcome!
    great post!
    ~cath
    (@jonesbabie on Twitter)

  5. Pingback: Becoming like my mother « Reflections from a Red Head

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