The older I get, the more I hear myself saying things that seem vaguely familiar. I'm taken aback for a few moments before the fog of confusion clears, then I remember where I originally heard the words that had just tumbled out of my mouth.
I have become my mother...
Mums are great for lots of things. For always being so predictable in the post-excessive-alcohol-consumption lectures. For always having enough leftovers for a small (or large) army, even when the kids have all flown the coop. And for always being right about how bad your boyfriend/job/friends/general life choices are.
We carry their advice subconsciously for our entire existence on the earth. Mum said it, so it must have some truth to it... And mums would never stray us wrong, right?
My mum is a little left of centre. A tree-hugging, animal-loving, hippy at heart who lays claim to a not-so-elusive career in (shudder) payroll. I was always a tad flushed when my mum would roll up to the primary school gates in 'skimpy' corporate clothes (teamed with sky high stilettos). It was a stark comparison to my friend's desirable stay-at-home mothers who all looked perfectly normal and in unison in their matching tracksuits.
Every child thinks their mum is the smartest person to ever walk the earth, and their dad the strongest, but not me (sans the dad part). My mum is vivacious, opinionated and has had more hair colours than I have had voicemails from calls I have seen, but can't be bothered answering (stop leaving voicemails people, it's not 2005).
Strangely, when the forbidden phrases that my mother once claimed as her own fall out of my mouth, I don't flash back to the primary school playground of shame. Adversely, I am filled with a sense of pride. Pride that stems from being raised by wit, wisdom and burnt dinners. It would be a rude and unfair feat to not share the concrete guidance of my childhood with the world.
1. Chocolate is a food group
Technically yes, there is some truth to this. Chocolate is made from the cacao bean, which comes from a tree. Which, of course, makes chocolate a vegetable, to be consumed at any (and all of the) time.
2. Dead people can't hurt you
No mum, this one is not true. For one thing, I should have been advised that there were no ghosts under my bed, and cut short my bed wetting habit by a few years. I don't see the benefit in believing they were there, but wouldn't hurt me.
I'm also largely convinced that the time I got my leg stuck in a fence at a train station (in front of lots of people with cameras), I didn't trip at all -- a ghost pushed me.
3. Always judge a man by his shoes
I lived by this law for a long time. I still do, to some extent. But I find a few situations tricky. What do I do in summer? Do I go by the amount of hair on the big toe? The curvature of the heel? I'm also stumped when it comes to fluorescent running shoes. Trendy or faux pas? To be bold or to blend in? Are they running towards something or away from something? You never put that in the brief, Mum.
4. Never date an accountant
I understand your theory that they are the most boring people on earth. That numbers are predictable and yes... boring. But can you please have a chat with my credit card debt?
5. Don't end up like me
And have an ace daughter like me? No, thanks.
6. I hope you have a little girl just like you one day
7. The best things in life aren't things
And things just mean more dusting. Luckily, I own a bank account full of memories and no duster -- enough said?
8. ALL dogs are nicer than people
Even as a die-hard animal lover, I'm still not sure about this one. I'm convinced that if my dog could speak, she would sound like the Queen of England and tell me to bow down and buff her paws (which I dutifully would).
9. If you watch too much television, your eyes will go square
Has this EVER happened? There are elitist gamers who stare at screens for dozens of hours on end out there. There may be rehab for them, but I have hardly heard of the eye-shape-correcting clinic.
10. I have a herb for that
All well and good, Mum. I appreciate you splitting trees and putting sticky slime on my sunburn (there is a product in a bottle for this, you know?), however I hardly think your gypsy herbs came in handy when my brother decided to cut all my hair off.
11. It's clean dirt
I would probably try harder with self-hygiene and general cleanliness if I didn't honestly believe that being dirty made me more clean. Who needs a shower? Just roll in mud.
12. When all else fails, there is always wine
This is fact.