Monday, July 25, 2011

What Is Holding You Together?

A friend sent me (and everyone else on her mailing list) a sweet message announcing National Girlfriends Day.  The message, which was mostly about appreciating one another, also had this disturbing line:  "I am only as strong as the coffee I drink, the hairspray I use, and the friends I have."  I began to wonder:  Are hairspray and friends holding me together?  I don't even use hairspray.  I thought maybe dental floss was holding me together, but the truth is my floss breaks frequently and can't even hold itself together.
    I'm certain one friend of mine is held together by her faith; another by helping others and her belief in the value of her work.  Still another says that when he meditates in the morning, his days go well.  When he doesn't, his days are full of bad decisions and irrational emotions.
    I once asked a psychology professor, "How come some people can cope with hard times and others fall apart?"  She responded that it all depends on how much your mother enjoyed you as an infant.  Michael Meaney's research at McGill University suggests that theory may be correct.  He has found that individual differences in maternal care can modify an offspring's cognitive development, as well as its ability to cope with stress later in life.  (See

Regardless of early childhood experiences beyond our control, many of us manage to adapt; and on some days, perhaps only coffee, hairspray, and friends hold us together -- maybe just the coffee.  What is holding you together?

1 comment:

  1. Personal projects hold me together. I like to plan them and to execute them. I usually have a few on the go, in a kind of rotation, so they don't all come to fruition at the same time. I'd say more, but I must return to writing my next book.