Play

Jeff Mallett’s “Frazz” wonderfully expresses things from the kid’s perspective. This time, though, I doubt that he sees the problem as I do.

Most of my peers in those various venues of psychotherapy raised as city dwellers had cute worries over me. Worrying over my not being ready, willing and able to play as they did simply was proof that they were right. Seeing my “resistance” as a repression of self kept that wall between us well repaired.

For me, their desires for fun wasn’t destructive. I remember being out on horse back for several hours at a time checking the cattle. Think about being out on horseback for 3 to 4 hours at a time, quietly riding across anywhere from a hundred to eight hundred acres of grassland. Checking on 300 head of cows with a comparable number of calves also meant watching a wider range of wildlife scurry about me. Work for me always had beauty and intrigue built in.

Growing up as I did, I worked as much as I played. Some days and weeks I worked more than I played. Other weeks things went the other way. Growing up learning to try and balance both sides of my needs with the other is different than how I see kids being raised in our cities.

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mental health, personal, psychology

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  1. I grew up in small town USA, in fact, my hometown has been called the “Mayberry of the West.” But I grew up in a neighborhood full of boys ranging about four years older to that much younger than me, many of whom had terrible home lives with alcoholism and abuse. They were a little rural gang. I cannot reconcile the cruelty with the otherwise perfect little town. And I can’t think much about my childhood because it is so full of such paradoxes.

  2. From my point of view, I see no difference among country all the way over into inner city dwellers at the levels you’re pointing at. I grew up with a episodic alcoholic father and a mother who was deeply passive/aggressive. I still learned to work and play as I did what my father did from around 6 or 7 years of age. He wasn’t nasty about getting me to begin learning to work beside him and he was still a mean alcoholic with PTSD from Korea.

    Through this I learned to not personalize his “shit”. He was still abusive and overworked me at times. Through him, I still learned to not personalize things and he didn’t do all of that through positive examples. I went through lots of years of associated depressions and anxiety but still knew to take those examples and not let those tow me under.

    It was learning directly from him how to live and work that changed my life. I’m pointing at the styles of life and not the “shit” we create in those.

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