It was one of those things that popped up in my feed on Facebook, one I’m sure you’ve seen: a “Like and Share if you agree!” meme. But this one was different. It had a list of things that you may have been raised on as a child, but you turned out okay.
One of the things listed? Spanking.
Thankfully, this couldn’t be shared; the Share option seems to be disabled on the group’s end. But I was able to comment, which was simply to say that yes, I was spanked. But I didn’t turn out okay. I was the only one who made that observation.
The thing that infuriates me about those types of posts is the blind nostalgia; things just “weren’t so bad” back in “the good ole days”. Things were simpler back then, things were easier. We wish we could go back; our worries would just dissolve as we played in the sandbox or raced around the backyard, an action figure in our hands.
Or at least, that’s what we tell ourselves.
The truth of the matter is that yes, things did stink out loud during those days. Things weren’t great or prefect; instead, we have a child’s memories of what was happening during those times. What we saw in our houses was “normal”, so we accepted it as such. Nearly everyone is guilty of this, including myself. But as time went on, I lifted the Nostalgia Goggles and took a peek back at my life. I didn’t like what I saw.
Then I removed the Goggles entirely. It wasn’t easy but I did it. What I saw disturbed me. To be honest, I’m still dealing with it. I’ll probably be dealing with it for a long time. But it’s also the truth.
Let’s be honest here: things weren’t that awesome “back in the day”. I’m a child of the 1980s who lived in the South; racism and homophobia was open and prevalent. Corporal punishment was the norm. Domestic violence? Well, it was often called “Saturday Night Fights” at our local trailer park and was seen with some mild bemusement, with extra points awarded if flashing lights from a police cruiser were spotted. This isn’t even going into the AIDS crisis or Black Monday and how that affected out economy. This is just a small slice of the things I saw in my own neighborhood as a youngster. Being Caucasian, I had it relatively well. There were those who had it a lot worse.
For them, the Nostalgia Goggles might not even exist.
It’s easy to look back on the past and see things as simpler, better. At the time we were children and often have simplistic memories. But that perfection isn’t necessarily true. Or to put it as the song says:
You know the good ole days weren’t
And tomorrow ain’t as bad as it seems…