So the truth of the matter is that I am a creature of habit. I think most of us are. It’s like the groove on a record that the needle follows. (If you are too young to have sat for hours watching a vinyl record go round and round during your teenage years of angst, go google it and see what I mean.) Once those grooves get laid, it takes a bump or a a scratch to make the needle jump its course. Why would anyone in their right mind want to be hit off course, or scratched and scarred to change the course of ones life?
Well. So many reasons actually. A concrete example…
I am really trying to bump that needle out of its groove when it comes to my fair skinned family’s path towards skin cancer. My grandmother had many skin cancers removed, and had the scars to prove it. My mother, who life-guarded in her youth covered in baby oil, gets bits of her skin cut off every six months or so. And now I visit her same dermatologist to get checked and have a few of my own scars. (My mother guiltily recounts stories of me having sunburns so badly when I was young that the blisters covered my shoulders, nose, and back.)
My girls? …I slather on sunscreen and hope that after three generations of women (that I know of), we have learned. Knowing what I SHOULD do is not enough. I regularly fail. No epic blisters yet, but still, the slightest bit of pink on their skin makes me feel the mother’s shame of failure. (Mothers’ shaming themselves over child rearing imperfections is another groove that we all need to scratch. Or maybe we can lift the needle and skip over that song all together.)
This failure to change behavior makes me wonder. Does it take generations to change some habits? Are habits a bit like culture or genetics, sometimes it takes many lifetimes to shift even one groove, delete one gene, erase one hurtful practice? Or can we shake it up in the course of our own life? What will it take for me to change my habits?
Maybe a little self-love is in order. When I start to shame myself for whatever new habit I am failing at, I need to rethink the groove. Maybe my new habit of writing for this blog needs to be re-visioned as my thank you note to the universe. Generations of women in my family have written thank you notes. That is a one groove I know well.