When I was a kid, all the way up to my teens, I would experiment with wordplay. I remember once, after I had stopped living with my mother, but after we had kinda reconciled, I was at her house having breakfast. Despite not attending school, I still carried notebooks around with me, dreaming of becoming a writer one day.
As I was eating cereal, I was jotting down ideas. I wrote “philosulfur”. Ask me today and it is obvious that refers to a either a contemplative diabolist, or is a key component in following demonic alchemy. I was told it meant, “full of shit”. Sulfur smelled like shit, and it meant, full o’ shit.
I recall the taste of the over-sugared cereal draining out of my mouth. I was embarrassed, by the language, by my stupid idea, by the plain and simple truth that I was never going to be a writer (at the time there weren’t different writers, so it was pretty all-encompassing for me). I was a high school drop-out transient that occasionally had breakfast at my high school drop-out parent’s house.
I thought I had a chance, since prior to being kicked out of my home, I had gathered a dozen or so first place trophies on our mantle. It was the closest thing to being like one of those families on tv, whom I would later learn were referred to as “middle class”. I am sure it happened, but I don’t remember attending a speech and debate tournament and not winning first place. But I also don’t think my mother ever heard one of my speeches.
Where am I going with this? Hmmm.
I want to be a nurturing person. I think that means engaging with someone. Right? I don’t have a compass for this, just a bunch of compound embarrassment and shame. I recall having absurd ideas as a child and being corrected, instead of allowing myself to play them out and adjust them to my reality. If I don’t correct Clover’s absurd ideas, am I nurturing?
I am probably a lot better at this than I know. I’ve studied child development, in part because I got a sense that I would be able to help myself if I learned what happened to me. I have a base of how to interact with children. But when I woke up this morning, having obviously worked on this subconsciously, I had the realization that my parents may have thought the same thing.
There are differences. They hid our domestic violence and general dysfunction from those outside, like a cult. That may be the reason I am dedicated to public discourse and as much vulnerability as my level of privilege allows (and why I am a privacy advocate, but that is a different post). If I start straying into dangerous territory, I hope the caliber of people around me will serve as a safety net to steer me back; I am contrary enough that it would have to be a decent argument, so I feel okay inside about not just following the herd.
This sounds all over the place, because it is a snapshot of my internal conceptual models that I follow daily. But I am having cognitive dissonance in the form that I am also scared of what people think, and so I am not actually exploring; I am risk averse.
And that sucks. Not least of which is because weekends are serious business for us as a family, a time for us to be together and do things we can’t during the week, and I don’t want to wake up and feel like the shit that my mother told me about so long ago. I want to be free and entitled to absurd ideas and be around people that will talk to me like we are solving problems, instead of treating me like I am a problem. And I am all those things, both good and bad.
So how do I mitigate the bad ideas, how do I resolve the negative feelings?
Also, run on sentences.