The Musings of an Elective Orphan

Sarah Brandis

“If you pick your nose then your brain will fall out”, and other white lies.

I recently got a bit of an infection in my finger (the downside of an outdoorsy lifestyle) and the skin has been peeling off.  The other day as I was picking off a dead bit (gross, I know), I remembered something daft I used to believe when I was little.  I remember learning that our skin is made up of layers of skin cells, and that these skin cells die and wear away.

So where do babies come from?

So where do babies come from?

What I didn’t learn at the time though was that skin also renews and grows new cells to compensate.  I seriously thought that if I rubbed my arm too much that I would run out of skin there and wear my arm down to the bone!  And then I would be stuck that way until I died!  At least that fear improved my table manners.  I was too scared to lean on my elbows incase I wore them out.

I had only paid attention to the part about cell death, and taken that bit to heart.  But you do that as a child.  If a grown-up tells you something is fact, then you believe it because the grown-ups know everything.  Even if it is something daft like babies being delivered by the stork, or that nose picking makes your brain fall out.

Neurons that fire together, wire together (learning).

Neurons that fire together, wire together (learning).

I wrote about something along these lines in my book, about how things I had learned as a child had stuck with me into adulthood.  I think a lot of our ‘irrational’ fears or hang-ups that we have as adults could realistically come from things we have ‘learned’ as children.  I say ‘learned’ because perhaps we misunderstood them, or perhaps we were even lied to – but kids do believe what grown-ups tell them. We take things on board at face value, at a sensitive time in our lives when our personalities are being formed and our experiences are becoming cemented in our synaptic connections.

pxbcFor more musings on childhood experiences shaping adult life, check out my ‘memoir with psychology’ ebook on Amazon.  Or other download options are on my about page.  And don’t pull a face, or the wind might change and you will be stuck like that…

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