I have the BEST mother. This is a fact, which is why I feel that I should share some of her wisdom with those who are not fortunate enough to be her children:
Much of what she’s taught me over the years is somewhat context-specific (“there’s no point in putting on make-up, because none of us will never be able to compete with drag queens, who wear it best,” and “most of the women in our family are probably witches; it’s the only explanation that makes sense”); but some of it is universally applicable. For example…
Rule: Never turn down paid work.
Corollary: Never accept unpaid work, unless God or the criminal justice system tells you otherwise.
Rule: Stuff breaks, gets stolen, or just vanishes without a trace. A good education is something that you can carry with you and use, mostly as a white-noise machine against bull$#!+
Corollary: That said, “the educational system is designed to reinforce the status quo and churn out obedient workers who won’t ask questions or hold anyone accountable for their actions.”
Here I’m quoting more or less verbatim, because this made a big impression on me when I was six. I guess the lesson I’ve taken from this is that the best approach is to bring down the system from within?
Rule: You can live in your car, but you can’t drive your house.
Corollary: Owning land is useful, because — unlike, say, bodies — it has boundaries that you can legally enforce.
Rule: Don’t be a wuss: ride it out or ride it to Hell.
Corollary: If so inclined, pray for survival.
Also, possible explanations for longevity (= why some people cannot, will not die): a.) God loves idiots; b.) the Lord won’t take him/her, but neither will the Devil.
Rule: Generally speaking, nobody needs to see that.
Exceptions: Little kids, because that’s just a phase they all go through. And if they don’t get it out of their system now, they’ll start running around naked when they’re much older and, well…see above.
Esse Quam Videri
Rule: There’s a difference between “nice” and “kind.” The former is how people behave when everyone’s watching, the latter when nobody is.
Bonus: Tips for Success
You know you’ve made it when people react to your arrival (or your phone calls) with “Oh GOD, it’s that woman again!”
“One day, you’ll just stop caring what other people think. You’ll get yourself in a lot of trouble, but — like I said — you won’t care.”