I'm not your bitch, don't hang your shit on me.

Monday, May 23, 2005

Jumping off a bridge

Back in the day, mothers would always ask you this same question whenever you were (or did) something stupid. It sent chills up many a spine...

"If they jumped off a bridge, would you jump off, too?"

You'd flinch because your mother's voice would rise two octaves as she shreiked. Just the sound of her tone would make you want to stop you dead in your tracks. And, if you didn't get in trouble with your momma, oh boy, you were so gonna get it when your daddy got home.

I was fortunate enough that never really happened to me. It wasn't that I was a saint (God forbid). That phrase was never directed my way for two reasons: first, my mother didn't know it; second, she didn't have to wait for my father to get home to hit me.

As children, we couldn't help it. We always felt like we had to do whatever our friends had to do. Normally, it was as simple as liking/hating the same things they did. Look at me. Do like me. Follow the leader.

Eventually, monkey-see-monkey-doo would lead to a game of topping the leader. During a competition, you are no longer friends. You would hear, "Well, my father has... My mother... My sister... My brother..." over and over again. Everyone wants to one up the other. What's sad is that these comparisons were never about one's accomplishments, but about the ones of others. Gotta love the vicariousness of childhood.

But, the more things change, the more they stay the same. No matter who you are - or how old you are - you're always trying to follow the antics of someone else. The cycle is unstoppable.

Why do we have to do this? What does it prove? Is it to please others, or ourselves? Do we still do certain things for others to like us? Inevitably, is it all about approval?

Sadly, I can't come up with one answer, I just have a lot of questions. More so since an opportunity arose (recently) about topping someone. Strangely enough, there was no competition. It came out of the blue. Now, I have to beat it.

I'm not even sure if I want to jump. But if I do, I'll make sure to pack a parachute.


Anonymous Whatsthebuzz said...

I think it's a matter of ego. You do things because you think...if they can do it, I can do it. You don't want to look weak in front of them, and sadly, we do base our own self esteem on how we're seen by others. If you look like a weakling to them, you view yourself as a weakling. We have more common sense as adults, and if there's a crazy one who wants to jump off a bridge, there are 10 others who will back us in NOT taking the plunge. If there weren't...I think we'd jump!

May 23, 2005 1:10 pm  
Anonymous Paul said...

I like your writing style. Just found you on Corey's sight. I'm anxious to catch up with you.

May 24, 2005 4:49 pm  

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