adulthood · adventure · anger · courage · family · fear · healing · health · hope · love · perseverance · relationships

Nature vs. Nurture.

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Being raised by a psychoanalyst, I grew up believing pretty
strongly in Nurture vs. Nature. I believed adamantly in Tabula Rasa, and that
every aspect of my personality was developed in reaction to my environment.
Eventually, even through a Psychology Major (that switched
to Minor), I began to admit that perhaps there were a few inborn traits that one
has out of the womb, but the majority of a human’s personality was forged out
of their experiences before the age of 3.
But, I have to admit that the aggregate of my own lifetime
experiences, up to and including a Leukemia diagnosis, has begun to make me
admit that perhaps there is something more to the Gattaca within us. Perhaps
something like perseverance, courage, and visceral insistence on life has more
to do with my wiring as “human” and as “Molly,” in particular.
I would never peg myself as someone brave or bold. I don’t
charge into the fray, or head corporations, or tie myself to a tree before a bulldozer. I have few
of the outward markings I would associate with leader or change-maker.
But I am compelled to admit that my undertakings as an adult
do, in sum, mark me as someone willing to rage, to rail, to fight, to excavate all in the
service of healing.
Though perhaps if my formative years hadn’t been what they
were, I wouldn’t find the need to heal from much. Perhaps.
I had a therapist a few years ago who said something novel
to me: Your dad is not a courageous man. This struck me as apocryphal. My father, the one so quick to temper and anger and
rule of iron fist was not brave? Isn’t that what violence is—bravery? Isn’t
that what power is—anger?
Yet, her words rang so unbelievably true. Like seeing the Wizard behind
the curtain in Oz. I know now that that kind of anger does usually hide and
house one who is critically afraid. I mean, I usually wear my black leather
jacket when I’m feeling more insecure, as if its made of chainmail instead of
leather.
But, I was on the phone with a friend yesterday, answering
her question about why I was in Victoria’s Secret the other day. I told her
about my upcoming trip to meet my consummate penpal—and she squealed. She
thought it was so bold and brave, and adventurous, and ALIVE. She rattled on
that this experience is going to help so many other people down the line, help
women to see that life is meant to be
lived.
It sounded so epic when she mirrored it back like that! And
maybe it is. And maybe it’s not.
But, I do know that with every meditation, every alternative
healer, every inventory, every striving, every goddamn picking myself up, that
I am taking something back. That I am reclaiming something. And if that impulse
to charge onward, in light of all that is, is called courage, then I guess the
Wizard granted me a heart on the day that I was born. 

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