Tuesday, July 12, 2011

WHY DOES THE BAD THINGS ALWAYS FEEL SO GOOD?: The Apple Does Not Fall Far From The Tree.

The preacher said, we shouldn’t be at the club bouncing it off the floor, nor engage in gambling, or lusting over someone's spouse. And then, absent of a few low tone amen’s, the church fell eerily silent. He also said, it serves no purpose to shout hallelujah if one is slipping and sliding in all the wrong places.

And my father asked, “who broke the dining room table?” . Although my brothers and I knew the names of the guilty gang of three, we didn't say a word.

Yes sir, it’s in those moments of butt naked truths, or the prospect of dire consequences knocking at our door, that we feign innocence and ignorance, or find little reason to cheer.

Well, to some degree, this post may render a few similar gut shots. But have no fear, because I’m in the same boat. I am a parent and a son, and I've been  places I don't wish to return to, so I have a piece in this pie.

First, this post was inspired by my conversation  with Tracy Renne Jones @ RiPPa‘s blog http://www.rippdemup.com/2010/10/selling-out-do-some-blacks-think.html

It basically centered on those that are accused of being sellouts because they do not exhibit the stereotypical image of a black person, or speak differently than “them” or marry outside their race. Well, I said something about our black friends who try to separate themselves from our culture because they did not want to be considered a “darkie" like those other negroes. Tracy replied,

“I am NOT THEM DARKIES" Wow...if I didn't just hear my mother's voice when I read that sentence! *looks under the desk* My mother's motivation for much of my 'culturing' (piano class, Broadway shows, proper table etiquette..) had nothing to do with culturing me and everything to do with behaving differently from "THEM". It's complicated to be taught 'pride' of a race while also receiving social cues that instruct me to do the exact opposite. Eh, it worked for the most part.

Now, although my topic is not the same as Tracy's, there is a connection. The Apple Does Not Fall Far From The Tree.
Listen, in my early years I was a gambling man, Oh yeah, I shot craps and participated in various games of chance. Along the way, I noticed those who were running the games (house man), always came out on top. Then I figured out the intimate details of their “luck”. They always had the best hand (street talk for the biggest bank, and props), because in some form or fashion, they were cheating. Or at the very least, the odds were somehow slanted in their favor. I never liked losing, so I “borrowed” the cheating mindset. I took that with me when I entered the military (that’s me on my home page, sitting on the airplane).

Well, I didn’t lose anymore, but there’s a price to pay for adopting another man's lifestyle. In reference to my military life and the evil that lurked within, although I wanted to remain in the military after my first four years, I was denied re-enlistment. Even though I was never prosecuted for any type of crime, it was obvious that I was involved in all sorts of mess, some of which was illegal. I drove around in a brand new block long Oldsmobile Ninety Eight, and my hair was matted down with Murray’s Hair Pomade. I used that heavy grease to slide under the code restrictions associated with the length of a soldier’s hair. However, at night, when I was off duty, I'd blowout my hair to achieve a bigger afro than Sly Stone and Michael Jackson. So, I was not exactly military material. I had taken my street mentality with me. For many reasons, and for many people, that was not a good thing.
Looking back and taking a deeper look into this tree and fruit thang, I can’t help but look at the tree from which I came. But first, if I was still a gambling man (I am not, I’d rather put a quarter in a wash machine than a slot machine) I would bet that those who are racists or bigots, come from a household with a similar mindset. But it does not stop there.

I’d venture to say the overwhelming majority of people that find themselves divorced, separated, or in a rotten relationship, come from broken homes, a fatherless home, or a home were violence and mayhem was the soup of the day. But don’t make your move too soon, the house is still rockin, the beat goes on. I am prone to believe that if a person is overweight or never engaged in organized sports, it’s highly probable  their parents loved a heap of pig feet, and a pound of cornbread. Yep, eating until one’s gut quakes is a learned behavior.

Screaming and hollering to discharge our emotions is another character flaw we give our children. Yet, on the other hand, some adults take the passive route when they're in the midst of a disagreement with their mate. They become submissive and depressed as they hold their problems deep inside. And, our children are always looking, listening and learning. Unfortunately, while living in that environment, they seldom learn positive ways to cope with life and it's struggles, . How could they, surely not by watching TV. Sad but true, the majority of apples do not fall far from the tree.

But again, the beat does not stop there. Party time, party time, par-tay-time, boogie woogie baby, lets throw our hands in the air and party like mom and dad we just don’t care.

Yes sir, if I was a betting man, and if daddy & momma, either or both, loved to imbibe a little gin to make them grin and sin again, it’s a good bet that the apple didn’t fall too far from that tree. Listen, although my father was not a drinker, nor was my mother, many of their friends were. Since my parents did not object to the habits of their friend's, drinking and acting a fool, I couldn’t wait for their friends to come to our house, or we visited theirs, so I could sneak a little gin. I longed for the days in which I could take a little nip, so I could fall down and bust my stupid lip. But of course, since I thought I was slick and clever, I had to put a different spin on the getting high process. See, the seed had been planted that’s it’s okay to change how I felt by taking something other than water, to change or alter my emotions. But that’s another story, for another time. I took a different highway to my heaven.  As Marvin Gaye said:

Flying high in the friendly sky
Without ever leaving the ground
And I ain't seen nothing but trouble baby
Nobody really understands, no no
And I go to the place where the good feelin' awaits me
Selfdestruction in my hand
Oh Lord, so stupid minded

So now I am wondering how can we break the bad habits given to us by our parents. At first glance, they are obviously not something we even consider until we end up in some type of therapy, or are forced to change. I mean, who sits down and ponders why they are a Democrat, a baptist, alone, or a racist, and then considers their parents? Who among us says they are a screamer because their momma was? Who says they're "Big Bone-Did" instead of saying they learned their eating habits from their parents?

I know they say if you want to know what your spouse will look like in 30 years, you should look at their parents, but I am left to believe, that look, should go deeper than the surface, or physical attributes. Then maybe we can answer the question of why the bad things always feel so good and feel so right? I think the truth makes us feel uncomfortable. Unfortunately, if that truth does not need immediate and serious attention (in the mind of the individual), it's easy to cast away, until another day.

What tree did you come from, and what's dropping from your branches? I know that's a tough question... ain't it?


2cute4u said...

True talk..

God's Man said...

Man I am walking through this post. I have 2 daughters and my wife and I are constantly examining why we do the things we do.

I know that a lot of the things that I do come directly from the environment that I grew up in. Some I have been able to overcome and others...

I spent a lot of time trying to be different from them but have learned that we are not all so different. It may sound different, it might look different but when you really dig down into it the core is the same.

Great post. I have been lurking a while.

CareyCarey said...

@ 2cute4me, how so?

@Mister Man, hello sir. It's always nice when a lurker decides to leave a comment. And, it's always nice when someone catches the core of the post. When you said the following, I knew I did my job...

"I spent a lot of time trying to be different from them but have learned that we are not all so different. It may sound different, it might look different but when you really dig down into it the core is the same"

Yes sir, there it is. It's not the good similarities that will cause us harm, it's the weak links that needs our attention. However, and unfortunately, those are the areas that many of us do not care to look at.

"when you really dig down into it the core is the same"


It's like a shiny car with a bad engine. In time, that engine is going to tell the whole truth, and soon break down. If it's not given proper attention, and if that car happens to be passed down to someone else before repairs are made... well, you know the end of that story.

Tracy Renee Jones said...

Yeah, Man!! Can't hate on the parent's too much, they give you some of the good and some of the bad...it's up to each of us to decide which to keep and what to adjust...

I'm feeling all inspirational and ish...great post!

Moanerplicity said...

In some ways, my apple fell & rolled away quite a distance from the tree, Carey. I wonder if that's commom or if we are predisposed to repeat the ways of our parents or our environment, unless we make a concerted effort to do the opposite. (ponders)

Thinking back on it, it's a small wonder that people even liked me. I was a rather defiant bighead & didn't go the way of my parents (they were vurrr modest, not particularly ambitious) nor did I roll the way my peers wanted me to (they seem to always be looking for trouble). That's not to say I was above anyone else, just more self-contained. In some ways, I've paid the price for that, so it ain't all good.

The one thing I did take or inherited from my parents was their sense of common decency. People liked them, spoke well of them. They were peaceful, hard-working & from DECENT Virginia stock. Yet, because of their southern upbringing, they went with the flow, & weren't vocal when someone did them a disservice, especially if that someone happened to be white.

Trust! That was NEVER me! So, as I say, the apple fell & rolled some distance from the tree.


CareyCarey said...

Yes Moan, I feel you in many ways. I could have approached this topiic from many angles. Like Tracy said, within our parents, their are good qualities, and some we would not want to emulate.

In this post, I focused on those qualities that could hinder a person's growth. Because if someone does not know their problem, or accept the fact that there is a problem, they can't fix it.

I think my post was geared toward how we handle our pain and the difficult times. But again, it's my belief that until we look at the real issues, and the root of the discomfort/problem, there will never be a way to properly fix them.

Even though you said you rolled far from the tree (I also say that), I can tell by your writing and your tolerance (upstairs neighbor :-)) that you picked up some very important admirable traits from your parents. Many people can not say that. You may be more demonstrative than your parent, but I believe you know when to hold them and when to fold them. I believe that's a behavior you learned from your parents. There's always a time and a place to act a fool, or to voice your opinion.

I truly believe the core of your parents are in you. Take all their wisdom and guidence out of your life, and see what you'd be left with.

Yep, I could have focused on the good traits of our parents, but I took this post in another direction.

On a personal note, I can raise my hand and say I had the best parents in the world, but I chose a different path. But when I came out of my stupidity (had to stay in the oven for a while) I knew how to do things right, becaused I learned a few principles from them. Their core was in me. They stayed married until my father passed away. I was married for 35 years until my wife died. I learned from my parents how to work through the hard times of a relationship. Also, I never saw them argue. Consequently, I never could undersatnd those that have toe-to-toe battles with their mate. It just wasn't something I was accustom to seeing, let alone being a participant.

CareyCarey said...
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CareyCarey said...
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CareyCarey said...

Tracy, I am just happy you didn't cus me out for using you in my post. I've heard your neighborhood expressions *lol*.

Nawl, just kidding and thanks for allowing me to use your quote. And thanks for the compliment.

BigmacInPittsburgh said...

There you go again Carey talking up the truth,the whole truth and nothing but the truth.
But I do know for me the apple stayed on the tree,the apple didn't even roll a block away.
Did the same things my father did,drink,play the women and lie!

CareyCarey said...

Big Mac Attack, man, I just left your spot (10 seconds ago). Of course I dropped more words in my comment than those those in your post, but hey, that's what I do *smile*.

Yep, I can also talk about the "whispering" traits I got from my daddy. I can also talk about those I passed to my sons. It not all good, but it's true and fair, if I care to look there.

In many of my posts, in so many ways, I've written about those experiences,

Anonymous said...

Carey Carey, In reading your post, your absolutely right, when you say, " The apple does not fall far from the tree." It doesn't fall far from the tree because as children, all we know is based on, one our environment and two those folks we live with. And that's what we tend to think is the norm. We grow up trying to mimick the people we encounter on a regular basis and even take on their views and values. So that by the time we grow up to be adults,we've taken on certain behaviors and roles, we've abosrbed from who we grew up around, regardless if it was positive or negative. It's not until we begin to interact more with other folks, environments, etc. that we even know we've absorbed anything. It doesn't dawn on us, until we take a step back, have a light bulb moment and finally look at the whole tree that we know or even understand, we may need to make some adjustments in who & where we are. That's why it's important as parents to really understand what being a parent is all about, it's about helping your child grow up to be the best he/she can be. Setting the right example, because actions have always spoke louder than words. So as a parent, we should be willing to make whatever sacrfices we need to. From, making sure our children live in a safe environment, to teaching & loving them by our actions and example, to stressing education, and believing in God and doing the right thing, then maybe our children will have a better chance at growing up without so many issues. and when the apple falls from that tree, it's not as bruised.

CareyCarey said...

Hello Lil Bit, you've jus about covered it. Well, you did catch the core of this post. WE learn what we learn, from those around us. And, as you said, actions speak louder than words.

I don't kknow if you've read much of my stuff, but one time, although I was telling my kids what not to do, my daughter brought me my cigarette rolling papers. Well, I wasn't rolling cigarettes. So, regardless of what I was telling them not to do, they saw a different story. And consequently, they (to some degree) believe it okay.

In that case, I knew right from wrong, but at that time I wasn't thinking about the negative impact my actions (not words) can have on my children.

Thanks for stopping by, and if I can ask, how old are you? And, do you have children? I am asking because you seem very wise. And/or, have been through a few "storms" of your own.

Anonymous said...

Hey Carey Carey, thanks for the comment on my comment. I'm new to the blogger thing.But, I think since I've been fortunate enough to learn some valuable life's lessons along the way, it's important for me to "keep it real", no only with self, but family, friends and folks in general. I think, a lot of our issues don't get resolved because we can't be honest and share where we've been to get where we are. For me it's about growing and trying to make the necessary changes to end up better than I started. Growth is hard, but if we don't make an attempt, we stay stagnet. what's that ole saying, "you keep doing what your doing, you'll get the same ole shit." Besides, we have to try to be better role models. I'm just trying to do better, to get better, to be better. A work in progress. I'll be 61 next month, I've been retired 5 years, have 3 grown children, 5 grandchildren. and because of those "storms" I believe in putting God and family first, staying true to self,concentrating on the positive, letting go of the negative and keep an open mind. I feel truly blessed to have gotten this far in my life's journey. Makes me realize and understand, that knowledge and change is so powerful. If you have some time check my blog out "Another day in the Life"..... Again thanks for the comment.

CareyCarey said...

Hello Lil Bit, I beat you to the punch, I've already dropped by your spot. I was curious to see who this woman was that was dropping so much wisdom. It was apparent to me, that you had "lived a little".

I didn't have time to read much of your stuff, but I did notice that you just started blogging. Well, this experience will also be a learning tool... in so many ways.

Back to you and your recent comment. If I could pick out the most important thing you said, it would be the following...

"I think, a lot of our issues don't get resolved because we can't be honest and share where we've been to get where we are. For me it's about growing and trying to make the necessary changes to end up better than I started. Growth is hard"

HONESTY! Wow, there it is. I think it starts with being honest to ourselves about who we are and what we've done (good and bad) to get to where we are. And as you said, that honesty can be very uncomfortable. It hurts, and it's human behavior to run from pain. It's easier to minimize and rationalize our wrongdoings, than to accept them.

As you continue along this blogging thing, listen for the voices of those that are honest about their past, and are talking about personal growth. I think you'll find the overwhelming majority will be saying what others should be doing, and/or pointing a finger at the negative aspects of our world, and the negative qualities of those that have found themselves in some type of problem.

If you're looking for a lot of comments at your blog, follow that path because many will follow.

Yep, if a person keeps doing what they've alway done, they will get what they always got.

And, insanity is doing the same things, yet expecting different results... time and time again.

It's been nice talking to you.

CareyCarey said...
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CareyCarey said...
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Anonymous said...

Carey, Carey, in regards to your post, it's funny how we sometimes don't understand how strong a force, that DNA is. Mister Man, hit the nail on the head. We try so hard to be different, without getting to the core of why we are the way we are. But, once we find the courage to dig deep and be honest,is when we begin to sift through the good and bad DNA from both parents, and realize that we can break certain cycles and curses that have continued in our families for generations, so we don't pass it on to future generations. Believe me, it's a hard pill to swallow, but necessary. It took me, quite some time to even realize that I needed to make some adjustments because, I thought, I was doing it a little different than my parents had done it, but what I didn't get was, I still had their negative DNA working, because I was only concertating on the good DNA, I was camouflaging the bad,because it was hurtful, and I didn't want to accept the mere fact that, I was acting just like those things I didn't like in my parents. It wasn't until, I started seeing my parents in me, and how that was affecting me & my family that I knew I needed to regroup and break the cyle. Hard- yes, A Process- yes. I wish I would have gotten it sooner-yes. that's why now I try to let my actions speak louder than my words - hard yes, but so worth it. Great Post. Because the reality of it all is, The apple doesn't fall far from the tree, but how well the tree was planted.

CareyCarey said...

Look out now, Lil Bit, we could be accused of having an affair if we keep this up *smile*.

I mean, you're saying all the right things, just like on a first date *lol*.

But seriously, you're speaking the truth.

I know it's a no-no to speak ill of our parents, however, I believe it's very important to identify those qualities in them, that my impede our growth. From my mother, I got my religious background. On the other hand, she wasn't one to show love by words of encouragement or hugs. I can't remember hugging my mother until I was an adult. Consequently, I was not a hugger.

My father was a man's man. He was movie star handsome, and easy to talk to. He dressed sharp and the ladies loved him. However, he wasn't a rolling stone. Oh no, he was mister good guy, a family man. But I found out later in life that I had a brother, that I didn't know about, that was the same age as my oldest brother (that lived with me). Well, I too had a child outside my home. You can read about that in my post "Baby Mamma Drama, One Two and Three".

So yeah, that "DNA" comes in various flavors.

Oh, and we don't even want to talk about a competitive spirit our parents may or may not have given us. A combative spirit can be a good thing and a bad thing. In combat, nobody wants to lose.