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Rated: 13+ · Fiction · Family · #2124332
What happens when inspiration metastasizes inside an unhealthy mental state?
This entry is submitted to "Quotation Inspiration: Official Contest

"You must do the thing you think you cannot do."
-- Eleanor Roosevelt
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Do unto others how you would have them do unto you.

If you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all.

In order to succeed, you must do the things you think you cannot do.


These three refrains pretty much frame my very existence. They drift through my mind like tributaries feeding into the pool of my soul. My mother saw to that. A half-hearted attempt to defend myself, "Don't interrupt, you wouldn't want someone to do that unto you," mother would sing in her lilting voice. Never mind she would interrupt me at nearly every turn. A carefully constructed criticism of the way my brother acted out toward me, "Darling, if you haven't anything nice to say about Henry, you shouldn't speak at all," that was both Mom and Dad's go to. But Henrietta Carling's most revered and stoic turn of phrase came from none other than Eleanor Roosevelt herself. Any time, and I do mean any time I wasn't feeling up to horseback riding, piano lessons, yet another dance recital, or anything Ms. Retta (my favorite name for her because she loathes it) thought I aught to take part in; she would extend her swan like neck, lift her head regally and proclaim: "In order to succeed, sometimes you must do that thing which you you think you are unable to do".

Amazingly she never managed to quote Mrs. Roosevelt verbatim. I looked up the quote when I was 12 to see if the 32nd FLOTUS had indeed spouted this manipulating phrase. I wondered long and hard if she knew her well meaning words were being used to force unwitting children to eat brussel sprouts and wear itchy Sunday dresses with twenty yards of frill. I learned she also said No one can make you feel inferior without your consent, but ol' Mrs. Carling must not have heard that speech because she managed to make me feel lesser than at nearly every turn.

I probably shouldn't carp so about my mother. She wasn't all talons and satin daggers. Sometimes she could be downright cuddly, but those times were few and far between.
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