I don’t know if it was turning 40 or what, but I’ve had a couple of observations, realisations, revelations – whatever you want to call it – come to me. And, I’ve been thinking I should write them down, for whatever reason. Posterity, maybe. Thus, I sit here, tablet and stylus in hand, pondering…
First off, as a child, all I wanted to do was grow up. I suppose that’s not terribly different from the desires and mistaken ideas of many children; I was under the impression and assumption that adults were strong and respected. They appeared to be respected, even if they weren’t all that intelligent. I wanted respect.
I saw in the eyes of adults a disdain for childhood and the foolishness of children, and I wanted to be seen as I was. Even then, I had a hatred for stereotypes. I wasn’t the adult I wanted to be, but neither was I truthfully totally a child…
I didn’t always understand that my brain worked differently from other people’s.
What I did know was that my advanced vocabulary and unusual interests kept me isolated (and incomprehensible) to my peers, while my age kept me locked away from a true association with the grown ups I so wanted to be included in.
I was lonely. I learned both to dislike everyone while craving to be liked by everyone.
It has just dawned on me recently that the disdain I saw directed at children by the “high and mighty” adults was, in fact, a mask for jealousy. Oh, they thought it was disdain, but what they really were was jealous of the freedom (the freedom I saw as a prison) of being a child.
They knew what I didn’t (because I didn’t know they were wearing their carefully crafted masks) that age doesn’t bring respect, it doesn’t make you any more likable – or capable. Age brings responsibilities you may or may not be able to handle. It brings knowledge but not necessarily wisdom. It brings a loss of innocence which may at first seem exciting but is really very sad and empty.
I thought I’d be happy when I grew up. I didn’t know I wasn’t made that way. The lonely child, with her strange interests and over developed vocabulary, is the lonely adult who still struggles to find someone to talk to and with which to hang out.
A lot of my problems, I know, stem from mental illness as well as being slightly autistic. I was never going to fit in this world. But, I wish I had enjoyed being a child more. I wish I had known, old is just old, and it’s filled with all the insecurity and pain that childhood is…and worse. And, respect, validation, appreciation – all those things I wanted – are still not there like I was made to believe they would be by the adults who were trying to believe their own bullshit…but, really, knew better.
That’s the first thing…
Observation (or maybe realisation and acceptance) number two: even if I hadn’t married my first husband who did everything in his power to undermine my self esteem, I still would have ended up making bad, destructive, choices with my life. Because, I was that child, that incomprehensible, mentally and emotionally wrecked child who belonged nowhere but longed to be desired and adored. If my ex-husband hadn’t been there, there would’ve been someone else I would’ve gone out of my way to ruin myself (more than I already was) with. One way or another, the damage would’ve been done because I was already the damaged.
For a long time I wished I could’ve escaped – I even thought that I could have had certain things been different, but… it’s like H.G. Wells’ Time Machine… I’d still be here in the condition I find myself, regardless.
What’s the point of this? Not sure. It’s simply something I’ve come to realise. Maybe it’s just the acceptance, another moment to reflect on the insanity of life, and the fucked-uppedness (it’s a word now!) of it all.
The broken child, the wounded adult, the fucked up world.
I wanted to end this on a more positive note. I’m struggling… but, I’m hopeful these observations, and especially the self-discovery, will help me in some way. Sigh…