First in a (hopefully) weekly series of Annie's prompts. (I'm starting with the second week and finishing with the first week. Trust me.)
I grew up thinking my mother didn't like me much. My father gave strength to this feeling when he pulled me aside (I think I was 14) one day and whispered, "I'm sorry your mother doesn't like you." She never acted abusive or anything like that, she just didn't seem to enjoy my company. Or make any kind of recognition of my accomplishments. Although she did recognize my short comings; often, loudly, and with clarity.
Surprisingly, when I lived in Europe as a foreign student, she wrote positive letters, letters absolutely gushing with loving sentiments.
In one of these letters, she recalled naming me as a new born. "I wish I had named you Joy, you've brought me such joy since you were born. You bring joy every where you go."
Definitely a cognitive dissonance moment for me.
My dad also wrote me letters during this time away, usually mentioning my joyfulness; "Even as a baby you were always happy. Strangers would notice your smiling face and ask, 'Can I hug the baby?' That never happened with the other kids." (I'm the youngest of four.)
So yeah, I started out that way and still feel mostly happy. Most of the time.
It's a helluva thing.