Err On The Side Of Hope

Screenshot_2016-08-30-07-08-08

This was one of my horoscopes this morning. It’s just a silly thing, of course, yet this one touched a few nerves, or something. I haven’t been able to read through and break it down into exactly which things set me off and why, and while I won’t do that here, I probably will do it on my own, at some point.

Alone, as I do most important things. Haha

I’m super emotional lately, too, so I’m sure that has something to do with my reactions, as well. At least my emotions aren’t in a constant state of overwhelming yet, though. I’m still weaning off my anti-depressants, so while I fully expect some roller-coaster rides of complete what-the-fuckery, I’m actually kind of surprised that it hasn’t been worse, so far. Much better than expected this time.

Some things about that horoscope:

  • I’m still in a learning period – always. I’m a lifelong learner, and don’t for one moment think I’ve got things figured out. Not about me, not about anyone else, not about the world. I think it’s good that I’m at least aware of that fact, and that I don’t pin all of my learning on my childhood. I know I have more to learn than I already know.
  • It’s true I have a hard time accepting my childhood, though. And my adulthood, but my childhood more. I used to hate that kid. Now on good days I tolerate her, but thus far haven’t come close to liking her. I can’t even think of any one quality to like about her, so the notion that someone else could basically makes me think she’s lied to you, too. Also, I don’t like people, anyway, so this should come as no real surprise, either. Haha
  • If my adult life is the fruit of the imperfections I corrected as a little girl…then I’m screwed, with nothing much to look forward to. Which I suspected was the case long ago, so I stopped trying. Instead, I focus more on just trying to be better than I was; better tomorrow than I am today. I feel like that’s a more attainable goal, and works in both the short and long term. This blog was supposed to aid in that, but I can’t bring myself to do it properly, nor can I bring myself to make time and do more on the side. It’s not making me a better person, it’s not shedding light on any kind of truth I could share, and it sure as hell isn’t improving my writing, so I’ll likely just finish out the year and be done with it. It’s too hard not to edit, or write about different things because I know certain people will read it – it’s all just not really me. And I have a hard enough time trying to figure out who I am as it is, without worrying about who other people think I am and how to live up to that.
  • Which brings me to that whole part of the horoscope about the people close to me love the child they see inside of me…that may be true, but since no one is close enough to really see the actual kiddo, I’ll be taking those opinions with a huge grain of salt. Of rock salt, probably. If I don’t let anyone get too close, they won’t be able to prove me wrong, it’s absolutely true.

But they also won’t be able to prove me right, and I prefer to err on the side of hope.

Adulting

Some of the things about the documentary I watched the other day have stayed with me. That’s usually a sign of a good film, but in this case it’s also a sign of an interesting person. The film is called Wizard Mode, and its protagonist, Robert Gagno, is a young man living on the Autism spectrum, who also happens to be a world class pinball champion. As a child, he went from struggling to communicate at all, to discovering pinball, to now having a ton to say. That alone is pretty remarkable, seeing the changes from footage of Robert as a youngster to watching him navigate the world as a young adult. He expresses himself very well in the film – better than many of us who aren’t on the spectrum, actually – and some of the thoughts and ideas he puts out there are fascinating to me, mostly because they mirror so many of my own thought processes.

Robert is quite self-aware, and constantly questioning things – his feelings, his dreams, his reactions to the world around him. Why he thinks and does and feels the things he does, and which things he would like to change in order to achieve something he wants. That someone who has so much else on his plate to deal with – the expression of emotion, for example, is something we often take for granted, but that he is constantly thinking about and working to improve – he appears to have a better handle on how to human than most of us. Robert is always analyzing things – himself, other people, and the world around him. I felt so drawn to him watching the film that I found some of the things he talked about to be eerily uncanny, as the same things have passed through my mind, and yet I’m been unable to express them as well as he does, thus far.

One such comment could have been almost easily laughed off, had it not been for the way he worded it. I mean, how many times have my friends and I joked about how “adulting is hard” and not wanting to grow up because not having responsibilities is way more fun. I still collect toys, for pete’s sake. I prefer movies and TV shows that skew younger than I am. And I still enjoy reading books I read as a child and young adult, often more than I enjoy reading books written for grown-ups.

It sort of even explains why I also have a hard time writing books for grown-ups. I have so very little experience actually being one, and you’re supposed to write what you know, after all. In my head, I am nowhere near as old as I am in my body.

And while many of my friends have gotten married and had kids and careers, many as well have not. Those are the ones I hang out with most often, because they still can. Marriage and kids and careers looks like it takes a toll on social time, really, and while I’ve never been a partier, I still like to spend quality time with certain key people.

Anyway, it’s been a running joke for, like, 20 years or so. In fact, I’m pretty sure that, at larger family gatherings, at least, I’d still be seated at the kids’ table, simply because I don’t have any children of my own, and am therefore not viewed even by family as any kind of actual adult.

And that is mostly okay with me, because many of the things I associate with being an adult are not things I want for myself, anyway. The times it bothers me most, I think, is when I can’t be an equal to a friend I want to be there more for. I don’t drive, so I’m zero help to someone who needs a ride somewhere. I can’t get you home safe when you need me to, and that bothers me.

But I make an amazing passenger, because I will never criticise your driving. I may have asked my brother to slow down on hills and such once in awhile, but that was because I was getting nauseous, and not because I felt he wasn’t in control of the vehicle. I’ve never felt like -I- was in control of the vehicle, though, so I think it’s best for all of us if I remain a passenger. Plus, my reflexes are not dependable at all. Stupid body/brain disconnect.

So, this kid, Robert, this young guy – he’s sifting through the job market, as we all do, and at one point muses, “Does growing up mean you have to stop having fun and doing the things you love?”

And I thought, “Yeah, kid, I guess it kinda does.”

It made me a little sad. A tad sad, you might say.

Obviously, growing up doesn’t mean you have to completely give up doing things you love. You’ll even find new things you don’t even know you love yet. But in terms of global adult population, the vast majority of us aren’t doing what we love as much as we wish we could. Many of us don’t even know what we love, not with the same degree of passion that Robert has for pinball.

Many people have jobs that they love, but most of those aren’t even a person’s absolute first choice for what they want to be doing with their days. It’s fantastic as far as jobs go, but that’s not the same as having a passion for something. Many people have jobs that they enjoy okay, and they pay their bills, and still make time for passion projects on the side. If staying home and spending time with your family could be a job, many would do that. Many wouldn’t, but that’s a different situation.

The simple fact, though, is that life slips by, and most of us aren’t spending the majority of it pursuing things we are passionate about. Sometimes when you do, the passion dies, and then you’re stuck looking for something else you can love just as much. But I think for most people, there’s just never enough time to focus on what you love, and that’s kind of sad, in a way.

The good news is that, when you do find that thing or those things, and you make time for them, that time becomes more precious. It becomes time well spent, and best spent, and contributes to your growth as a person. You value it more, because you know you’ll never get enough of it, let alone too much. It becomes something you share with others, be it people with the same passion for it, or people with a passion for seeing you passionate about something. Either way, it connects you to the world a little more.

I guess I just think it’s sad that the adults who came before us made a world wherein there is so little place for passion, and excitement and fun. Growing up may not mean you have to give those things up for good, but it does usually mean you have to curb it back and save it for special occasions.

Growing up usually means that has to be enough.

Orange-Tinted Memoirs

Sometimes I wonder what I would write about, if I were to write the story of my life. What would I include? What would I consider to be my defining moments? What would I have forgotten about and then remember suddenly along the way, during the process of writing it all down? What would I deliberately leave out and why?

Actually, I can already think of more things I would leave out than I can of things I would include, if I’m being honest.

The story of my life would…well, the things I’d include would be true, at least from my perspective and to my recollection. But the lies of omission would be many many many.

My great-grandmother started writing down her memories, and some dedicated family members typed them up and printed them off into book form, one of which gratefully found its way into my possession. I haven’t read the entire thing from cover to cover as of yet, but I have perused it on more than one occasion, and I have to say, it’s a fascinating read. The woman lived to be 100 years old, and the things she saw and did throughout her life are nothing short of remarkable to me. She lived in a whole different world than I do, and her recollections bring that world alive, even if just for brief segments, in her own words.

I wonder sometimes what someone decades from now would think about my memories of growing up, of becoming an adult, and the often-failed attempts at adulting which I now make? Looking back, the world I grew up in was vastly different from what we’re navigating now. No cell phones, no internet, no blogs, computers took up an entire room for a bit there, we left our doors unlocked when we were out, we played outside and rode our bikes around, we (perhaps naively, but still) trusted news media, we read books more than we played video games because for several years, we had to go to an arcade to play video games. And they cost a quarter, which was expensive. I wonder, sometimes, if someone who only learned of those times through impersonal history classes and the like, would be as fascinated by my first-hand accounts of it as I am with my great-grandmother’s stories.

This morning, I was trying to figure out what one of my earliest childhood memories would be. It wouldn’t necessarily be important enough to include in an autobiographical kind of collection, but I was interested to see how far back I could remember. Memory is a crazy thing, really. So much of it includes what we’ve been told, or photos we’ve seen, or video…there was no video when I was little, either. Kids now grow up on camera. We had film. Film that had to be sent away to a lab for developing, in most cases. And my family had a projector upon which we watched home movies and…I want to say there was also a Keystone Cop adventure of some sort. I remember a car getting stuck on some railroad tracks, and the train was coming, and at the last second, they pulled the car in half, let the train pass, then pushed the halves back together again. My brother and I would make our dad play it backwards and forwards again while we laughed and laughed, because it was the greatest thing ever. Never got old.

Anyway.

That’s an early memory, but I don’t really have anything to pinpoint how early it was. It was more of an ongoing thing, anyway. Projector nights, with reels of film that had to be placed properly on the projector for it to play. I wish we still had that, actually. I would like to experiment with it a little, now that I think about it.

So, while that’s definitely an early memory, I do have one that’s earlier, and that I can pinpoint almost to the date. The year and month, anyway. It would have been September 1975, probably early in the month. And on a Sunday. We were at a park – I forget the name – in Orillia for the then-annual Maynard Family Reunion. I was eager to show off my new baby brother, who had been born in April. He was born on my mom’s birthday, but at the time, I only cared about my birthday, if that, and didn’t really know when anyone else’s was. He was dressed all in blue – very manly, but for the bonnet – and when some family members came over to say hello, I decided to display my amazing skills at big sistering, so I tickled him a little.

He cried.

I was sure I’d never been so humiliated in my whole life (I was, by that point, 3 years old). I was pretty sure I hated him for embarrassing me, but on some not-so-deep level, I knew I’d tickled him too hard, and that it was actually my fault, and that what I was feeling was guilt, and not hate. I just didn’t have words or understanding of complex emotions yet. All I knew was that I felt bad, and that it was related to something he’d done (as a result of something I’d done, but whatever). Fortunately for both of us, he was cute – if bald – and generally a pretty likeable little kid.

Oddly enough, that is my only memory of my brother as an infant. Every other memory of him is after he got a bit older – probably because he could then play with me. Before that, he was probably really boring. Cute, but boring.

I think I totally have a picture of us from that day, so if I can find it tonight, I’ll add it to whatever I end up posting tomorrow. It was the 70’s, so everything is probably quite orange in the photo, but that’s how we rolled once we moved from black and white to technicolor. Our memories became tinted with orange.

Also kind of odd is that I can’t remember anything from before my brother was born. I remember wanting to show him off a few months after he came along, but I don’t remember being an only child, or my mom being pregnant, or anything. I don’t remember a time when he wasn’t there. He would go on to piss me off many many more times after that (and I suppose I would piss him off, too, but not nearly as often, I’m sure), but I find a certain comfort in not being able to remember a time when he wasn’t around to irritate me.

Maybe that’s what sibling love is all about.