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    A Meaning Meme: Wanna help me?

    created by Minerva'sBrain 3323 days 11 hours 11 minutes ago

    Category: World

    A Meaning Meme: Wanna help me?

    I wonder if CNetters would be willing to participate in this meme. For my Human Studies class this quarter, I have to come up with my view of what the human "self" is -- in my final paper and also with some sort of model to show it without words.

    I have a lot of ideas for how I want to do this, and all of my visions include some way to portray the nature/nurture question. So I wondered, What do the people on CNet see as their formative elements? Who or what formed you into who you are?

    Anyone want to take a stab at that? I would be fascinated to see what you have to say. Maybe it would be easiest to do it as a list.

    1. Who are the top three influential people in your life? (Say why, if you want to)

    2. What have been the top three most influential decisions you have made? (Say why, if you want to)

    3. What three life situations or experiences have had the biggest impact on who you are today?

    Anyone? (Anyone? Bueller? Bueller?)

    Re: A Meaning Meme: Wanna help me?

    This could be interesting. I'll see what I can remember.

    I don't know if I have 3 people that influenced my life in a good way, I can do a couple of good and a bad.

    To start with, my grandmother (who adopted and raised me from birth) was my most influential person. She taught me how to be a good person. She gave me unsolicited directions on how to accomplish anything I wanted to do, and gave me the confidence and self-esteem I needed to do it. She was there for me, even if I had done something wrong. My second most influential person was my 5th grade teacher, Mrs. Johnson. She was a great teacher and made each student feel like they were the only one in the class. I don't remember any of my other teachers, but she will always be remembered. The third influential person was my real mother. She taught me what not to do as I was growing up. She had me when she was 15 yrs. old, then she disappeared for a while and got hooked on drugs. She was also an alcoholic. I learned a lot from her mistakes.

    As far as the most influential decisions I have made-The first one was when I took a job at Mercedes, I moved away from a small town and my family. The second was marrying my husband. I had said I would never marry again after my divorce. And the third, quitting a $75K a year job and going back to college to start a new career at the age of 42.

    The situations that have made me who I am today are all the things I have listed above. If I had not gone through any of that, I do not know where or what I would be doing today.

    Re: A Meaning Meme: Wanna help me?

    Very interesting topic! I hope your paper goes well. Here is what I came up with....

    1. Who are the top three influential people in your life? (Say why, if
    you want to) I would say that my parents have the biggest impact on me. They have raised me with good morals and values. I can now pass those on to my kids. Two others who have influenced me are my brothers. They are very competitive and that has forced me to be competitive also. We are always competing at everything that we do. Without that, I wouldn't have the desire to succeed. The last group of people that have influenced me are the kids that I went to elementary school with. I was made fun of and picked on for numerous reasons, none of which have any meaning now. Because I was always picked on, I feel like I am more shy and not confident at all. I always feel like I am being judged and looked down on. It is very hard to over come that.

    2. What have been the top three most influential decisions you have
    made? (Say why, if you want to) The most influential decision was to go to college. I feel like I am bettering myself and my family and allowing myself numerous opportunities. The next biggest is having my daughter. I was only 19 when I got pregnant and it was a life changing experience. It is hard to deal with that as a teenager, but I think that I have over come it pretty well. I will have to think about the other and get back to you....

    3. What three life situations or experiences have had the biggest impact
    on who you are today? The biggest experience that has changed who I am is having my daughter at such a young age. I became a mother at 20 years old. I am still a baby myself, yet I had another life to care for. You learn very quickly that life is not about you anymore, and I am ok with that. My daughter gives me the joy that I need. She is the reason that I try so hard. I want to succeed in life for her. Another big impact situation was marrying my husband. After we found out I was pregnant, we decided to get married at a young age. Although the odds are against us, we are determined to make things work and be the family that we have always wanted. I'll think about the last one here too....

    Re: A Meaning Meme: Wanna help me?

    1. My mom- she has lived through SO much. She was born in Poland a few years after WWII. It was hard because we are Jewish and the Nazis were still around. Her family emigrated to America and she faced a lot of prejudice. Her mother abused her while she was a child but she still loved her mom. She was poor and she worked very hard and earned a full ride to PACE University. She became a nurse and she has saved many lives. My mom has survived many near death experiences (heart attacks, hurricanes and car accidents), she was also sexually assaulted, she is half deaf and half blind due to accidents in the past few years. She was born dead, had meningitis and was hit and killed by a truck. (she's still alive though) My sister died in '99 and my mom still gets out of bed everyday and goes to work. She doesn't use her bad experiences as a crutch. She is very compassionate and does all that she can for everybody. She also showed me that I can have a career and raise a family too. I want to write her biography.

    My sister. My sister died at the age of 23 but she accomplished so much. She won many writing awards. She was 1st chair in the chamber orchestra. She raised thousands of dollars for breast cancer research. She volunteered a lot (Habitat for Humanity, Midnight Run etc.) She was kind to everybody. She was beautiful, very intelligent and kind. She had it all but she never let it get to her head. She was raped when she was in kindergarten and she created a program to teach elementary school children what to do somebody attempts to sexually assault them and where to go for help. She was going to law school and was working to defend victims in criminal cases because the legal system defended her rapist instead of her and she wanted to change that. I've learned that it's what you have done with your life and not how long you had.

    The kids I babysit for. It's amazing what you can learn from little children. They have taught me to forgive.

    2. The decision to not change myself to indulge my (now ex) boyfriend. The decision to be a kind person and not change just because somebody has betrayed me or emotionally hurt me. The decision to work hard in school, volunteer and work at an international college.

    3. Losing my sister to suicide when I was 6 years old. Being betrayed by my ex best friend and ex boyfriend. Discovering who I am and not trying to follow exactly in my sister's footsteps.

    Re: A Meaning Meme: Wanna help me?

    I don't know if I could really give you three individuals who most impacted my life. But, if you'll pardon a bit of abstraction on my part, I'll take a stab at the question:

    My parents: My Dad is smart as hell, tough as nails, and super, ultra conservative. My mother (rest her soul) was similiar. My parents were married for 20 years when my mother died. They passed along some good values, and made raising their kids the focal point of their life. I take most of my more traditional values and sense of fair play from my parents.

    My teachers: I went to public school in high school, but there are a handful of teachers who I would point out as having a huge impact on me. Mostly, because they taught me to think critically, and passed on a worldly sense that was absent from my home life.

    My friend Andrew's parents: When I was 17, my family moved to a different state, and I opted to stay behind, to finish high school. Andrew was a friend I knew through boy scouts. His family offered to take me in while I was finishing high school. They lived in the country. They taught me to drive, and work on cars, and a sense of practicality that you only learn from living in the boonies.

    Big brother types, from the Navy: When I joined the Navy, out of high school, I was such a clueless, geeky guy. But, I made friends there. I've always been drawn to people who seem to know more about life than I do. And, some of those guys took me under their wing, and filled in a lot of the blanks, and in many ways, they socialized me. I learned how to get along in a group. (I've always been a bit of a loner, more interested in ideas than people) They taught me how to talk to women, and when to keep my mouth shut, when to bend the rules a bit, and so on and so forth.

    Re: A Meaning Meme: Wanna help me?

    As far as three events that have most shaped my life:

    The decision to get myself out of the Navy: I ponder this one sometimes. I got myself kicked out of the military, intentionally. I got in a lot of trouble in the process, and I spent some time in jail as a result. Sometimes, I think that in the same position, I would still do the same, and other times, I think it was a mistake. Either way, the decision has probably had more impact on my life than any other.

    The decision to join the Navy: Another decision I wonder about sometimes. While I wonder whether or not I should have gottne myself kicked out, I never question whether or not I should have joined the Navy. I got a LOT of good out of it. I made friends, saw the world, went to school, learned a trade, and learned how to study ANY subject, and sort out what's important from what's not.

    It's hard to choose a third event. It could be when I joined boy scouts, or when my mom died, or moving to Washington, or trying drugs, or any number of other things. I've had a pretty eventful life, and there have been a number of significant happenings. Really, I'm the collection of ALL my experiences, and I think the same could be said of anyone.

    (Yes, I collapsed #2 into #3. This post is already a double poster... *grin*)

    Re: A Meaning Meme: Wanna help me?

    1. The most influential people in my life have been:
    My mom - she stayed home with my sister and me when we were young and really helped us develop a great foundation. She provided such a positive environment and also taught us how to think for ourselves. So many great things I could say about her. She has always been someone that I could talk to and would help me out.
    My extended family - my uncles and aunts. I spent every summer with them (and most winter breaks). They gave me a lot of character and most of the time acted like big brothers, usually "picking" on me & my sister, playing jokes, all that kind of stuff (but in a very fun way).
    My teachers - this only includes the good ones that I had. I grew up in a smaller Florida city and went to public school but still was able to have some fantastic teachers - ones that encouraged creativity, logic, and all that jazz.

    2. My most influential decision was to move to DC from FL. I have been immensely happy since then and have figured out my career from it. The next decision has been to apply to nursing school. I now have a career path that I want to follow and am going to Georgetown in Jan. The other decision was to attend my aunt Patty's funeral in 2006. I was incredibly close to her and I spent some time in rural MN with my family and I was able to clear my head and make some decisions in my life.

    3. The three biggest impacts on my life have been:
    The loss of my aunt Patty - she passed away in 2006 after a six year battle with a very aggressive form of breast cancer leaving behind two high school aged kids and a husband
    The loss of my cousin Mandy - she was the only cousin my age and one of my best friends...she died in a car accident the week of her brothers wedding, which was two weeks before I started college - my father did not let me attend the funeral.
    Traveling the country as a child - my parents are both teachers and we'd travel across the country every summer visiting different parts of the US. This has lead to a great interest in various areas of academia and also lead to several of my passions in life.

    Re: A Meaning Meme: Wanna help me?

    This is all really good stuff, you guys! Keep 'em coming! I'm at work until this afternoon, when I'll get a chance to reply a little more personally, but I wanted to say thanks to everyone. These are wonderful perspectives.

    Re: A Meaning Meme: Wanna help me?

    Responding your questions:

    1. Who are the top three influential people in your life? (Say why, if you want to)

    My mom, my brother and my grandpa. My mom because she raised three kids when she lost my father and did her very best to convert us into professionals and successful. My brother because even though he was smart at school, he made it and showed me that he was successful to. My grandpa because he has three degrees and was very smart too.

    2. What have been the top three most influential decisions you have made? (Say why, if you want to)

    One was to come to America because I left my family, my friend, my education, everything.
    Second, to pursue an education, this was important to me, because I love to work, but I had to decide if I wanted to study for a better future or have three jobs, glad I found a balance between both.
    And third, to bring my mom here, that was a hard decision because my mom also had a life there in Peru, but then, I did it and I spent great times with my mother.

    3. What three life situations or experiences have had the biggest impact on who you are today?

    - Learning English, this is obviously a huge impact in my life because being unable to communicate is horrible and people put you down for it.
    - A mild car accident, after this happened, I realized driving drunk is not good and never ever did it again, I know, I was young and stupid.
    - When I got a professional job, I realized how different is life when you have a respected job and not one of those shitty jobs I used to have where I was pretty much like a servant, being a professional makes me appreciate everyday how important is education.