A - Z 2021: All that glistens is not Gold

Welcome back to A - Z 2021. Yesterday we were looking up to the sky for rainbows.

Today it's all about the letter G, which is for 

All that glistens is not Gold 

As a kid and a young person this seems hard to believe because you expect the world to be at face value. 

WYSIWYG: what you see is what you get.

The other kids 

  • were allowed to be outside all afternoon and stay out longer at night
  • did not have to mow the lawn or vacuum their room and still had more pocket money
  • were allowed to paint their nails or highlight their hair
  • had Adidas sneakers
  • rode a motor bike

Surely, their parents loved them more, and the kids were happier.

Depending on the situation my Mom had some insight for me:

The kids who seemed to be enjoying their freedom roaming the village all day? Their mother was depressed. She needed her peace and quiet and actively chased her children out of the house.

The boys and girls who were materialistically well taken care of had parents who 

A - worked too much and needed to appease their guilty conscience and / or 

B - grew up poor themselves and wanted to provide a better life for their kids.

I never had conversations like these with my Dad. As a matter of fact I avoided them. Who needs to hear that when he was a kid he walked to school uphill both ways. Barefoot. In the snow.

Especially considering I grew up in his childhood home, so I knew exactly how long and how steep his way to school was ;-)


I don't know if it has to do with the fact that I am like a magpie, I like all things shiny and glistening, so - probably still until today - I have been refusing to believe that appearances can be deceptive. 

Somebody smiles, looks me in the eyes and tells me something? I'm inclined to believe it. 

These successful people who always look fresh and sparkly - they couldn't possibly have any worries? Or could they? 

Working in Human Resources I learned that some of these people only coped under the influence of mood enhancing drugs, others needed pay check advances because they were living beyond their means, and let's not forget the incompetent executives who only seemed to advance because they were protected by higher ups.

Every now and then you hear about couples who are breaking up, and I feel it's always the ones who seemed to be so happy and perfect. Too happy and perfect on the outside maybe? These moments make me realize that you will only ever perceive the tip of the iceberg. What happens underneath can only be guessed. And apparently it's not always as good as it looks. 

Then there are the devastatingly sad cases of (young) people who end up leaving this earth because they feel their life was worthless and too painful. You're looking for reasons and answers, and of course you're looking at their parents. What did they do wrong? Why didn't they notice their kid was suffering? If they did, why couldn't they save them? I know it's totally unfair, but if it happened to us, we would ask ourselves the same questions.

Where does this leave us?

Should we suspect trouble and dirty secrets underneath everybody's surface? And if there is, do we need to know about it? What would we even do with this knowledge? Would it help us to emphasize with the people around us? Would it contribute to making us feel better about ourselves? 

Did you watch Sex and the City back in the days? Remember when Carry met Aidan? She was so scarred by the constant back and forth with Mr Big that she got quite careful, if not suspicious. So much so that at some point she wanted to shake Aidan so he would spill the beans:

She asked him how it was possible that he was still single, and what his bad traits were:

"It's all gonna come out eventually, so I'd like to know now, and that way I can decide if I'd like to deal with it or not. Cause no way can I continue on with the pressure of this perfect relationship."

For all I remember Adian's only weakness was being too nice.

Do you agree, are appearances deceptive? Have you ever been grossly fooled by someone's shiny exterior? 

Let me know in the comments below. Please include the link to your post so I can easily visit your blog.

Come back tomorrow, and I'll take you home - wherever this may be.


  1. Hey Tamara,
    When I read about your childhood, I thought: how similar it all sounds even though I grew up in a town in the north of India!
    I guess I've been lucky that I've not been deceived by fake shiny exteriors ever. I may have a good gut which guides me well:)

  2. Absolutely- I won`t say they are deceptive-they May be deceptive. All of us at some point have been carried away by them haven`t we?

  3. Childhood is often too complex than what a child can handle here from atoz

  4. I agree with Arti ....Reading this , feels like it's the same story everywhere.... Often I come across deceptive appearances especially people who seem to be strong have their own vulnerable side


  5. Omigosh our parents must have walked the same path to school up hill, both ways, in the SNOW... and let's not forget they only had one pair of shoes that they had to share with their siblings. (ha ha ha). I don't know what the answers our...still on that journey myself. I hope you might visit me in my Garden and I wish to visit again through this A2ZChallenge. Isn't it fun? I'm learning so much.

  6. Well, I guess our parents knew how to educate kids ;) I had a very good friend when I was a child, she was shiny as you said, but yeah, I would not have exchanged my life for hers.
    Quilting Patchwork & Appliqué

  7. Oh yes, I've been fooled. I guess the last (hopefully) time I was fooled was when I made a connection with someone who had been a friend, and we lost track of each other for some 25 years. When we reconnected (by email, as we lived a thousand miles apart by then), her life was absolutely perfect. Mine wasn't doing that well and it put me in the dumps with envy until a wise local friend told me perfect people are almost always in pain. Turns out my friend was both wise - and right.

  8. Whenever I said I wished for something my mum would always say, if wishes were horses, beggars would ride. It used to drive me crazy.
    I've definitely met some fakers over the years, and I have to say it has made me slightly cynical, but I try not to let it take over.

  9. We never really know what goes on with other people behind closed doors. A quote that I love that I think is from Robin Williams is "Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.” Weekends In Maine

  10. We see everyone's final draft, but we live through our own revisions. It's easy to hide the stuff we don't want others to see. But we still see them. I know, we all wonder about others and wish we had it together as well as they did. But perhaps they see us and say the same thing.

  11. Hi Tamara - I agree that we never really know what is going on in other people's homes. When the kids used to come to me with the "so and so has a cellphone, why can't I?" my answer was usually, "so and so's parents are divorced and that's the way she can talk to her dad, do you want your dad and I to divorce so you can get a cellphone?" Usually worked.

    Janet’s Smiles

  12. Reading this made me think of my own childhood which was awesome by the way

  13. Fits in the same category as "two in the hand...". Best to be happy with what you have or you'll never be happy.


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