Sunday, December 14, 2008

Joining

I have never been a joiner. Clubs, organizations, cliques, have all been snubbed. I have had my opportunities to join this group or that group. On occasion I have taken them up on the invitation to join in the reindeer fun. But only if it did not require more than paying the dues and hanging out without any real commitments.

Reading an online novel by Utah Savage brought this tendency of mine back into my mind. Her in your face no bull shit prose struck a chord with me. Her novel is a memoir I guess. I have not finished it yet. I have read enough of it though that it made me consider from whence I came and how I got here. Utah's life, as is all of our lives, a totally unique experience. None of our trips are exactly the same. Similar rhythms and experiences do find their way into our mutual histories. What I have drawn from reading her novel thus far is that Utah and I have some things in common.

Her childhood was very transient and unpredictable. As was mine. She experienced feelings of being shunned, shut out, refused the normal affections we all take for granted. As did I. That I sit here many years later and consider this, the memories are decidedly one sided. Should I bring this up with family members, I am sure denial would be their first choice.

But kids are not stupid. What children may lack in the substantive and traditional ideals of what makes an intelligent human, they make up for with their keen sensitivity to what others around them project in the way of vibes. Good and Bad. So believe me when I say I know how out of place I was as a child. How inconvenient my presence was for everyone around me.

This feeling of being on the outside looking in never left me. My efforts to secure real affection turned back so early set the stage for my later years as I built walls between myself and the rest of the World. Instead of dealing with the inevitable rejection of people around me, I always tended to reject them first. A defense mechanism that has probably not served me well, but good or bad, it has helped to make me what I am today.

My initial foray into the world of blogs is a wonderful example. For the first two years I blogged, I had my comments feature turned off. Telling myself it was because I did not care what others thought, so why bother with their input. When in reality, it was just me pre-empting the inevitable rejection I knew was coming.

I have risen above that now. For two years I have invited other bloggers to share with me what is on my mind. And I have attempted to become engaged by visiting their blogs so I can experience what is on their mind. A victory of sorts perhaps. But is it really? Does opening myself up to complete strangers mark any progress? The important barriers, the ones I erected between myself and those close to me are still there. Are not these the important obstructions to deal with? Of course they are.

I do not mean for this post to be taken as just another woah is me I am so miserable everyone hates me post. More of a recognition that Life is what we make of it. Some of it we screw up and some of it we don't. I'm just admitting to some of the screw ups.

Now it will be interesting to see if I actually post this.

9 comments:

BBC said...

When I started blogging I had comments turned off, then started getting emails asking me to turn them on so I did.

Basically what we are doing is looking to be a collective consciousness, gather those that think much like we do and find agreement with each other.

What a struggle that is, but I have gotten to where I also enjoy a good pissing contest in comments.

I had a very hard childhood also, but I got over it and see no reason to keep going on or crying about it when so many others had worse childhoods than me.

Many children don't even get a childhood, they just starve to death. That makes my childhood look pretty damn good.

People who and moan and groan about their childhoods are just whiners. They often grow up and then as adults screw up their adult lives and still whine that life isn't fair to them.

Hey, it's the life they created for themselves with their stupid decisions, I don't want to hear about it.

And they often want too much when they could be happy with much less, but a lot of these monkeys are never happy no matter how much they have.

They get something, it makes them happy for a few hours, or a few days, then they start seeking the next happiness hit.

Bullshit, happiness is sitting on a beach with a beer and your feet stuck in the warm sand. Or if it's winter, a warm room, or campfire.

A good camping trip makes me more happy than getting a Cadillac would, in fact a few years back I turned down a free Caddy.

I hear at least once everyday how happy she is that I live next door to Helen and help her stay in the little home she has lived in since 1946 so that she doesn't have to go to a care center.

That's all it takes to make her happy. She has so little, has always had very little, and is the happiest most cheerful person I know.

Everyone else is just seen by me as being a bunch of whining monkeys that are always wanting more.

Dawn on MDI said...

nice introspection. nice post.

Demeur said...

Just thinking about this post. You can't change the past and at our age (at least most of us here) it's too late to change the present hence the future. We are who we are. If your not comfy in your own skin by now then I'd say it's too late.

Gary ("Old Dude") said...

Like you, my childhoom was of transient nature. My father rebuilding his career after being fired for being an alcoholic, we moved frequently. (I attended three differenct highschools in two different states as an example) Like you I developed a position of remaining somewhat remote from those around me, afterall I would be gone soon enough, so why put down any roots? I spent some number of years resenting my gypsy parents but then I learned that in all those moves, around the country I had become much more cosmopolitan than if I hadn't, this in turn added a certain luster to my resume, and allowed me more success than I might have otherwise had. Whats the old expression--??--- When life gives ya lemons, make lemonade----and today is the first day of the rest of your life---I would say your doing okay, hey got to get back to packing here---nice post.

Bull said...

Nice post.

I guess my way of looking at it is you create what life you can based on what you're given. You're building a house and you don't get to choose all the materials, and you're not even gonna' know what some of it is until well after it's built. If you can stop, take a look in the corners and under the floors and figure out what some of that material is, so much the better. Then at least, if you want to strengthen your house, you at least know what you're working with.

Utah Savage said...

Thank you for the kind words and the link. I do completely identify with everything you've said. Since I am bipolar as well as just plain crazy, I'm starting to sink into the usual winter depression. At first I think I have a virus that makes me sharp tongued with those I like, and in so doing I alienate people whose warmth and kindness might actually help. I piss people of, even of the virtual sort like other bloggers.

I have never been able to have a "healthy" relationship with a man. So I am alone and have no family at all. In some ways this is a comfort--no obligations. In another way it's terrible--no connections. This brief bloggy life has given me the illusion that I have friends. It is a comforting illusion, but offers me little in the way of real warmth when I think I'm going down and my self will die of the cold emptiness.

A footnote to this comment is that having to see BBC next to the comment box is really painful. I have never run across a less kind or warm human being in my life. I find every word he writes cruel and intentionally wounding comments. He sees no reason for introspection and spouts hurtful platitudes. You are more generous than I. When I see him on my site, I don't even read his comments any more. I just delete them automatically. Every female in the blogosphere I know feels the same way about him. You, on the other hand we uniformly look forward to.

Snave said...

I know what you mean about the usual winter depression. I'm obsessive-compulsive, and a friend of mine who is a counselor says she thinks I'm bipolar as well. Whatever I am, I'm fine with me. I just don't like the lack of daylight at this time of year, and it seems to get worse every winter. Sometimes it makes it hard to do the little normal things a person does everyday.

I can't identify with having a difficult or transient childhood, because mine was very stable and seemed easy for the most part, other than not being able to understand that other people also had feelings... and that part persisted into early high school. Had the diagnosis existed way back when, I might have been evaluated for Asperger's. I know I am not Asperger's, but I have a few of those tendencies. Other than having to learn the hard way about how to get along with others, it seems like life has been easy.

And I tend to get along quite well with others now, as an adult. Nonetheless, like Mac, I don't join groups, churches, clubs, service organizations... and I shudder at the thought. I tend to avoid social gatherings. As much as I have come to love people and for the most part to cease being a misanthrope, I still prefer to do my own thing, whatever that is.

This is why I may have to read some of what Utah has written. If I read memoirs or stories about people and their life situations, I like to read about lives that seem foreign to mine. Not just because I can learn more about others, but about myself as well.

I'm past 50, but it's never too late to expand horizons, learn new things, and even to make changes. Like Dylan said, he who ain't busy being born is busy dyin'.

Utah Savage said...

Snave, I do hope you come read and please comment. So far BBC is the only commenter that usually gets deleted. MrMacrum is a nicer person than I.

El Cerdo Ignatius said...

Quite a post, Crum. I have at various times written very introspective things, thinking I might post them, but I usually don't. But this entry certainly got me thinking.

I am 41 years old, and have spent a fair chunk of time as an adult coming to terms with some of the traumas of my childhood. But to my detriment, I have for too long let the past define me. It doesn't define me anymore, but there sure was a lot of time needlessly wasted, and I induced a number of personal catastrophes by staring too much in the rearview mirror.

As Gary says, today is the first day of the rest of your life.

And as Homer Simpson says, "Yeah, but what are you gonna do?" Not "what did you do?", but what are you going to do? In other words, what comes next? What are you going to do with today?

When I keep Homer's wise words in mind, my day goes a lot better, and there seems to be a lot less time devoted to regrets.