For my awesome friends at IWSG, it's April's time for a meeting and I hope you find yourselves welcoming a yet cold but still here spring. This time I'm taking a different approach to the meeting and instead of focusing on my insecurities, I want to share with you something a friend asked me over the past weekend.
Childhood is the period of time when our parents teach us everything we must know. When the building blocks are cemented in a firm foundation that'll carry our future. If we grow good or bad, at this point, depends on them. And here is where the Nurture vs Nature debate starts.
I don't believe that one person is born evil or bad, in that sense I'm with the nurture side of the argument, but it is impossible to deny that there are genetics involved in most every psychological aspect of our personality. The depressive personality, the overachiever, the shy, the sociopath... genetics can't be set aside. But not every psychopath grows to be a killer. Not every shy person will be insecure. Where does the difference reside between your manipulating ex-boyfriend and Ted Bundy? Our environment, I think, makes a huge difference in what we do with the cards we were dealt.
For me, the trickiest part of growing up is surviving our adolescence. I made Lilibeth a teenager because that's the period of time when we become responsible of our own lives. Even with the best foundations and the best materials, a building can fail if badly built. In PERPETUAL NIGHT, Lilibeth is confronted with a world that treats her like a child, that is condescending and unforgiven. Gone are the years of fairies that'll give her money for her teeth. Santa is not real and Lilibeth, like every other teen, must accept that real life sucks and then move on.
Teens are neither kids nor adults, they feel isolated because they are. They don't know where the self begins and the parent ends.They are searching for themselves. They lash at a society that has no place for them. They oppose their parents because they need to assert themselves as individuals.
I tell you, being a teen sucks. Then, at the risk of looking like a cruel god, what if the teen is put under extraneous circumstances? Can they be trusted to make the best decision? That's a question over which every parents looses sleep and that's where I put Lilibeth. I surrounded her with night terrors, visions, and the shadow of mental disease in the family. And a bad breakup, of course, since 90% of the worst decisions I ever took were made under the influence of a bad breakup.
So there you go, in my mind PERPETUAL NIGHT isn't a story about Nature vs Nurture. Lilibeth's neither a sociopath nor a psychopath. It is an analysis of ourselves, the 'normal' people. We all have within us a dash of egocentrism, a sense of entitlement, and can experience genuine moral conflict. And still none of us are free of making bad decisions that'll change the course of our lives. We are just lucky that our worst didn't impact our future. We are lucky to have survived our teens.
Share with me, were your teen years too hard? And where do you stand, nature, or nurture?
For more info on the book or to read an excerpt, go to Perpetual Night, ebook and don't forget to 'Look Inside'.