Inspired by Kloipy’s post: 10 Things That Shaped My Youth, I started to think about what influences in my youth shaped me to be who I am today. Here’s what I came up with:
1) My brother
My brother was my first hero. He was two years older than me which meant he was infinitely wiser. I wanted to be just like him. He loved to draw, so I loved to draw. He watched GI Joe and Transformers, I watched them with him. He played hockey, I ended up being the goalie. I was a tomboy because I was a reflection of my brother. He must have loathed me being his shadow and copycat, never getting a moment’s peace. But I adored him and lapped up every bit of play time I could get out of him.
2) Archie Comics
I don’t precisely remember when or why I started reading Archie Comics. I suspect my brother bought a digest. I do remember that by grade three, I was copying Dan DeCarlo & Stan Goldberg’s drawing style. To this day, I still doodle in the same “Archie” style, especially in the hands. I most loved the triangle between Archie, Betty & Veronica. I never understood why Archie preferred Veronica. I always sided with Betty who was not only just as pretty as Veronica but also smarter, nicer and had better morals. I think I related to Betty as well because I always felt like the loser who never got the boy she wanted. I think Betty ingrained in me the idea that nice girls finish last. But that it was better to be a nice person than a mean person to get what you want.
3) Beverly Hills 90210 & Saved By The Bell
My perception of high school is forever warped because of these two shows that came on in the early 90s before I actually got to high school. Because of these two shows, I desperately wanted a relationship like Zack & Kelly or Brenda & Dylan. I wanted something intense and all-consuming. (But I didn’t have relationships, I had crushes which were intense and all-consuming. Too bad they were usually one-sided.) Also, prom couldn’t have been blown more out of proportion.
4) My childhood best friend Linda
My childhood best friend, Linda who lived in the suite below us and was three years younger. Much in the same way that I looked up to my brother, Linda looked up to me and copied everything I did. (But rather than be annoyed, I revelled in the attention and adoration.) From this friendship, I learned to be responsible because I was the one who would get the blame if we did something stupid. And in turn, Linda taught me a bunch of stuff I never would have learned otherwise: a love for reading, how to give someone (her) a makeover, how to get away with stuff you’re not supposed to be doing, etc. Through Linda, I learned what it was like to have a true best friend, one who I’d talk to all night and day on the phone and with whom I shared my most intimate secrets.
5) Anne of Green Gables
While I developed a part of my romanticism through watching 90210 and Saved By The Bell, I owe most of it to reading Anne of Green Gables. And not just romantic love (although Heaven knows I wouldn’t have turned turn Gilbert Blythe), but also romantic ideals about the friendship, family and the world. I wanted to live at Green Gables with Matthew & Marilla, I wanted my friendship with Linda to be like Anne & Diana’s. I wanted a true love like Gilbert. And I wanted to be just like Anne Shirley. (Except my name was Anna with an a, not Anne with an e.)
So what in your childhood shaped you to be the person you are today?