construction, personal growth

What Made You? (#340)

New York City made me.  It was the place that I was born.  It’s where I learned to be direct.  It’s where I learned to be skeptical and street smart.  I can usually notice a scam from a mile away, which is good because my belief in people makes me gullible at times.  But, my New York sensibility checks my gullibility.  Yep, I said that.  I have a gullibility-common-sensibility, checks and balances system sorta like the government.


Comedy made me.  Whenever I wasn’t sure of things – be it a break up or where my career was going – I’ve had this community to return to and it has almost always been comedy.  I know whenever there’s trouble in life, I can go and watch a good show and there will be comedians there that I can connect with.  Real humans.  Authentic peeps.


South America made me.  My mother is Colombian.  Nearly everything she did had an eye toward her family in the “old country.”  Some of that was good.  She has a deep sense of family.  Some of that is bad.  Why always care about what people think who are thousands of miles away and don’t always get your new culture?  One of the most highlighted moments of my life was when my mother shipped me to Colombia and I went to school there for half of my junior year in high school.  I’ll write about it soon, but I can tell you know – it shaped me a great deal.  The same can be said for my time living abroad in the UK.  Different, but similar.




My exes made me.  I really can’t stand most of the people I’ve dated in the past.  Dated for long time periods, I mean.  I’m just that way.  Once it’s over, it’s over and you’re sort of dead to me.  That’s because if I commit, I put my whole heart into it.  But, I will say my exes made me because they taught me to have higher standards for myself.  I don’t think that was their intention.  It was more like – I’d go through the break up and then realize, “Why was I taking that much sh*t for that long?  I didn’t deserve that.”  The relationships taught me to walk away when I’m not valued and all of THAT eventually led me to Wifesy.


Wifesy made me.  Wifesy made me see that you can feel safe with another human being.  They can support you fully.  They can believe in you totally and they can love you completely.  I hope I do the same for her because I’m forever grateful for what she’s given me.


My therapist made me.  I went to the same therapist for ten years.  She taught me that a lot of my feelings weren’t fraudulent, but instead – “dead right.”  She taught me to trust myself and in myself.  (I don’t know why that gets so beaten out of some people, but it does.)  She built me back up again.


comfort, reassurance

It’s okay, little guy, I’ve got your back…


My parents made me.  They weren’t/ aren’t perfect.  But, parenting is the hardest job in the world.  So, I’d like to look at the good.  For example, my dad is a workhorse.  He built half of our house growing up from reading books.  Literally, from reading books.  He built most of the furniture that we used.  We have a stained glass Picasso reproduction in the living room and an ornate hand-carved liquor cabinet both made by my father.  Really the stuff that he has built and thought of is endless.  He’s an “idea man” and I definitely get that from him.  On the other hand, my mother is the life of the party.  Always quick with a story, loved by all, and a social force.  I always say that my father is my backbone and my mother my heart.  I think that is right.  I think those things made me.


My writing is still making me.  I didn’t get to write much this week because I’ve started a new gig and -man- I missed it.  I felt it for the loss that it was.  It just reinforces how important writing has become for me over the last couple of years.  It’s an integral part of my life.  A “check in/ check within” place and I really, really enjoy it.  Things may shift, well, they are shifting, so I’ll have to figure out a way to carve out time for it.  Regardless, I’ll definitely figure it out.  It’s become too important not to.


So, Sweet Mother is dying to know…


What made you?



Sweet Mother is updated daily-ish on the quest to 365 consecutive posts.  If you’d like to follow this blog click the link at the top, right of the page.



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Photo creds:

feature-house, crying-boy, colombia


58 thoughts on “What Made You? (#340)

  1. Raised by Nuns and Jesuits, also a loving mother and distant father, great friends, food and a bunch of amazing teachers (mostly not professionals) made me. I wonder if they all wonder what went right?
    Portia xx

    1. portia, i adore you. and i always LOVE reading your answers to my posty questions. jesuits! holy feck. you must have some extreme insight into this new pope, yes? and true, i’ve had a lot of “it takes a village” type of people raise me… those outside of the nuclear family, so to speak. anyway, what a lovely list. have a wonderful sunday, my dear. xoxo, sm

  2. Okay, I want to say something like moondust and spit, but I REALLY like what you said here and it deserves a descent answer. Who I am today is someone more different than I could have predicted. Aside from the full force of nature, chicken fried nurture, super-suds brainwashing, and armature hour reprogramming; what made me (and continues to make me) is very similar to what you’ve said here about relationships and everything that goes along with them. People, places, expectations, disappointments, demands and rewards, friends and frenemies – my own or someone else’s. Oh, and spit.

    1. oh, honie. i just adore you and this answer! man, you made me think about what ‘materials’ might’ve made me too. let’s see…i undoubtedly consist of:

      * hot sauce
      * celia cruz songs
      * fresh cut grass
      * belly laughs
      * and steel

      something like that… ;0 xoxoxoxoxo, sm

  3. Becks, love this post and write you must — always because you’re very gifted at it. I’d like to think I share that same gift — it’s just trying to figure out how to best use it for my greatest satisfaction/good. I’d love to hear those stories about you in Columbia. Your parents sound great. And you’re right — no one has an ideal childhood but when I think of my parents like me, when I was younger, I know they always, like me, did they best they could, just as most of us do. Mistakes, failures, successes, ex-s and therapy — yeah, those are all things that have made and continue to make me. I just like myself way better than I used to and that’s priceless. Congrats on your new thing, btw.

    1. briges, you too, must never stop writing. i think you have such great analytical insights into things and i really enjoy reading that type of stuff. as for colombia, oh, i think something about that will be coming up this week… 😉 and tho those ‘mistakes/ breakups/ not-so-shining moments’ suck, i think they do help to make us better people IF we pay attention to them…

      xoxox, sm

  4. Emigrating, mistakes (including although not limited to the ex), observing, parents, reading and travelling comprise my short list. I’d also add, never underestimate the power of a sit down meal with the family on a daily basis 🙂

    1. kans, i LOVED this answer. and the sitdown meal, indeed, indeed. i make wifesy and myself sit down to something as many times a week as we can. i also think it’s great to do with friends and anyone you hold dear. and emigrating… oh, emigrating. i’ve done it twice and ppl truly do NOT understand it unless they’ve done it. i’ll write something about my experience this week, for sure… xoxox, sm

      1. Good point about sitting down with anyone you hold dear. I have a group that meets once a month about… I would be lost without these women.

  5. I was made by my successes and my failures. By my family, my loves and my friends. I am still being hammered and hewed by my past mistakes and whether their job will ever be complete is anybody’s guess. (At least my mistakes will have employment for some time to come.) Thanks for asking! And good luck with your new gig! Also very much looking forward to learning more about what seems to be an adventurous life you’ve been living.

    1. he who, you’re always a breath of fresh air. i loved the visual you made there of ‘still being hammered and hewed.’ it’s true that. and i think we all are to some extent. a lovely picture. and more to come, my friend, more to come… xo, sm

      1. More of what, SM? More of what? Is there somewhere that’s always warm and where I can sleep on the beach without worrying the wild dogs or the cops won’t get me? As you can see, I am a work in progress.

  6. I had many unfortunate things happen to me at a relatively young age. They broke me down, but I think they are what made me. I recovered and am the person I am today because of the strength I gained. My husband, who helped put back all the pieces, is also what made me.

  7. My history forced me to make the best of me. My future forces me to see what is possible for the rest.

    I love what you have written, perhaps I will take a page from you tomorrow or soon. I know what you mean about missing writing, lately I am hard pressed and also miss it.

  8. What a great post! I think this is one of my favorites from you (so-far). I spend a lot of time looking at ‘what made me’ and the list is long and full of small failures and huge successes. My Mom whether I want to emulate her or go the opposite direction is also a huge part. The exes – they are important too and like you all those craptastic relationships and lessons led to the person I am with now. I do think we have sort of parallel lives – or maybe it just seems that way because it looks like we have both done the incredibly hard job of looking realistically at ourselves.

  9. Don’t laugh, but I think being an only child, and part of a family of just three in a strange country made me. I grew up old and I think I’ve been getting younger ever since.

    1. “i grew up old and i think i’ve been getting younger ever since.” what an awesome sentiment. it gave me this image of you as “benjamin buttons.” so great. and why would i laugh? those things sound like they would make a person, indeed. xoxox, sm

  10. You followed me on twitter today, and i am so glad that you did. I make it a point to visit sites of followers and those I am following alike. Your site, or at least this article ‘What Made You” is a jewel of a find for writers, similar to how the prince must have felt, upon finding the foot that fit the glass shoe. Its brilliance is in the introspective style, allowing us to learn so much about you, while learning more about ourselves. I don’t know why you chose to follow me today; random, referral or you like my alter-egos name, it makes no difference. I am glad you did.

    1. i tend to follow writers and those who follow comedy, so that’s probably how i found you. and i’m so glad i did! because this is an awesome comment and i’m always so flattered when ppl take the time to actually follow my blog. so, thank you and welcome to the mayhem. much love, sm

  11. This is awesome, Moms. Interesting you had exes ‘making you’. Guess I’ve never viewed exes like that, but it’s true. You nailed it.

    Family made me. New York made me. Failure and ‘Nos’made me.

  12. Interesting pieces to your fabulous puzzle. It is strange how the writing creeps in and how you feel — such highs and lows.

  13. Sweet Mumma, I love this post. I think my foundations were laid by my wonderful parents and four siblings, my substance has been put up and torn down by countless friends, partners and random interactions.

    Who I am today, is in large due to the good influence of my darling partner and our two children who continue to shape who I am, twenty four hours a day!

    I think beer, chicken tacos, lamb yiros, grass (the lawn variety), sun and smiles have contributed also.

  14. Whew. Big question… no simple answer? My whole life, good *and* bad experiences. Upbringing and the million schools I attended and what it meant to my childhood. Moving between countries. All my exes, especially the bad ones. Reading, reading and more reading – crucially.

    …that’s just the beginning.

  15. I loved this – what made me? My grandparents made me. They believed in me and their belief was like a force of nature that laughed at anything that said I wasn’t worth it. My grandma taught me passion and humor, my grandfather integrity and honor – I’m not always any of those things but I know that they matter because of them. I also think my art teacher in 2nd grade (Mrs Meyer) made me – she made me see something I never saw in myself. My neighbor Twila made me too – she told me that God loved me and she showed that to me over and over until I believed her. I have been very fortunate.

  16. I can’t say my hometown shaped me because I was so different from the people I grew up with. There is some of my parents in my, but I think the biggest influence on me was the books I read. I was a voracious reader even as a child, reading nearly anything I could get my hands on that had words on the page. Reading Poe and Hawthorne, on my own, in grades school, is probably why I ended up being a bit of a goth girl before people were talking about ‘goth’ and defining it. I came at it from a literary/fashion angle rather than a music/fashion angle.

  17. Oregon, my sometimes unhealthy obsession with Martin Luther King Jr., my Mom (both in her life and death), my Dad, the addiction and death of my sister, theater, higher education, friends, Hubs and my children.

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