Wednesday, January 1, 2014

The Sum

Good Afternoon Everyone;

  A new year, 2014!!  And, I have today off.  Holiday, you know.  Why?  Well, mostly because, I bet, the years have shown that trying to get people to work early in the morning on New Years Day usually just collects a bunch of half drunk and hung over workers who couldn't see straight if they wanted to.... may as well be magnanimous and give them the holiday, right?
  I've had a somewhat strange holiday week.  That trip to my Aunt's for Christmas Dinner being just one of the stranger, but definitely one of the moments that got me thinking on a few things.  And, this is what I have come up with....
  We are the sum of our history, the hopes of our future, and the moment of Now.  And, in all of that, the only thing that is real, that is absolutely real, is the now.... and that is up for interpretation.
  See, our minds trick us.  We remember portions of things, parts of things, and would swear to them to our dying day.    A little story....

  As some of you know, I bought my parent's house.  Yep... I was actually born in this house, ok in the hospital and then brought back to the house!  So, there are a whole host of memories attached to the place for me; some good, some bad.  Oddly enough, my next door neighbor inherited his house when his parents died.  They were both very cool people, sort of pseudo-parents for me, and treated me much better than I probably deserved.  I've known "Joe" since I was 2 years old.  I tell you all of this to tell you about how the mind plays tricks...
  When I was 8, things were a bit tight financially.  We kids never were exactly spoiled, but I think the folks tried.  Anyway, we are all at "Joe's" swimming in his backyard pool (his parents had a bit of $$) and in wiggled this little ball of worms stray puppy.  That became my birthday present, and likely cost more than any normal gift could have.  But, every little boy should have a dog, and this one became mine.
  I have a memory, a nightmare really, that still wakes me up crying - and I don't just up and cry easily - of playing outside with the dog.  I would bat the ball and the dog would chase it... one time, as I tossed the ball up to hit it with the bat, the dog went right up with it and I cracked her in the head with the bat.  The screaming that dog put out gives me nightmares still, and that was 34 years ago.  I remember standing there as my dog screamed, and my whole world came to an end.  My one friend, and I just knew I killed her.  I just stood there.  I remember the neighbor lady from down the road coming running and yelling at me for hitting the dog.  I just wanted to die... I ran into my room and flung myself on my bed, just wanted to die.  
  You can see why this would return to me in nightmares, yeah?
Well, odd thing happened this year.  Mom and Dad came to town as normal, stayed with me as normal - they are fairly comfortable here of course.  And, somehow that came important moment in my childhood came up.  I didn't let on, but this was the last thing I wanted to talk about... and Mom told me about her memory of the event, verifying it with "Joe".  Come to find out, the whole neighborhood was there, in my front yard, playing ball.  You've seen pictures of my front yard... take 34 years off those trees... there was lots of room.  The ball was pitched to me, I was the batter, and the dog went after the ball.  It was an entirely different neighbor who accused me of purposely hitting my dog with a baseball bat, and who later came to my bedroom to apologize when she learned what had happened.  My mother was actually in the house, and came rushing out to the dog.  My neighbor, "Joe", was there that day playing, remembers the incident quite well and backed Mom's story.  And, once the screaming was done by the adults, the crying by the dog, and it was determined that it was an accident and the dog was just fine, I only remember wanting to just die because I hurt my only real friend.

  I guess I am trying to get to the fact that our memories of what happened are not always so very accurate.  And, that memory, as faulty as it is, has haunted me for decades.  I have hated myself after each nightmare episode, for years now.

And, this ties in to a picture I just recently found.  I thought it a neat picture, but the words that went with it really caught my attention.  Here it is:

  We all have hurts.  We all have scars.  For some, they are a badge of courage, and for others they are a weeping sore hidden from view.

  Many of mine are of the second sort, kept covered, bandaged, hidden, lest they get poked and remind me just how much they still hurt.
  It was a weird Christmas for me because as I sat in my aunt's house, eating dinner with the family, staring at trees that were just bushes last I was there, a woods that used to be a corn field, so many open sores got poked by people who meant, mostly, good at the moment.  But, also, those festering wounds only heal by being aired, treated, "poked".
  What a wonderful world it would be - no, not if nobody ever got hurt, because I don't think that's possible - but wouldn't it be a wonderful world if we could look at people who have scars, who have hurts, who have been hurt, hurt others, and hurt themselves, and understand that each of us is a unique person who, in the midst of those wounds, in the very sum of them, is a worthwhile and valuable person?  And, wouldn't it be an even better world if we each could look into the mirror and see our scars, see those festering and weeping wounds, and know that person staring back is a unique, worthwhile, valuable person who has survived all the slings and arrows, and is stronger than whatever tried to hurt us?


Sammy B said...

Hello Randy
We are all undoubtedly the sum of our life experiences, be they good or bad. And yes, it would be good if others could judge us by what we do, rather than what we are. But that is never going to happen, people use, maybe must use, to make any sort of sense of the world, cognitive shortcuts and assumptions about those they interact with. Hence stereotypes. But when those stereotypes are reinforced, day in, day out, in newspapers, on TV, in the opinions of those closest to us, sometimes, even those who are the object of the stereotyping come to believe it. Which leads, seemingly inevitably, to not being able to believe that 'the man in the mirror' has any worth at all, at least in my case. I hope you're more successful than me in being able to rise above the pigeonholing.

Love & best wishes
Sammy B

randy said...

Well Sammy;
For what it may be worth, I value you. I believe you are a great person, smart, caring. Give that guy in the mirror a big hug from me, OK?
As for the rest, perhaps if we can manage the mirror, we don't need to worry so much about the rest. Not sure... still really working on that one, somewhat unsuccessfully.


Anonymous said...

Well put, Randy. I am glad your memories have been put right. I've had memories that were warped over time by whatever means our brain uses to change things, and have been amazed when they were corrected. In most cases, it was a great relief.

Your last paragraph says a lot. I think sometimes we have to raise ourselves above what others think, whatever pigeonholing they might do, and just hold our own heads high!

Happy New Year, Randy!

Peace <3

randy said...

Hi Jay;
And, sometimes, the person doing the bad thinking and pigeonholing is ourself. I'm glad you like the post.

Happy New Year!


Scottie said...

Hello Randy. Sorry it has taken me this long to respond. I know all to well those walks down memory lane, and the hurt they bring.

What your story brought to my mind, was a couple months ago I thin it was. I had lost my internal battle with my self and was cutting again. I went to work with my arms marked up. One of the PT people did not buy my story of the cats did it.

however we have something called Q Life at work. It is a department of people who are to support families and PT when there is a problem or end of life issues. There job is to as understanding and as supportive as possible.

One of them, who I had thought highly of, saw my arms and heard some of my talk, and ask me about it. I started to tell her the is my way, I tell the truth.

She got angry, she took me to an empty room and chewed my ass for a while. No not for cutting, no not for hurting, no not for trying to do right as I can....she tore me a new one because I was sharing with my co-workers who I love and know love me. They had each asked and each listened and each hugged me. I did not force my story on anyone.

However this Q life person told me in great detail how wrong I was to be sharing my story, how it would make my co-workers uncomfortable and I needed to keep it to myself.

After she left I was so upset I had tears leaking down my face, and my charge nurse Kathy noticed. She took me aside and ask what was wrong. I told what had happened and how sorry I now that I had made everyone uncomfortable and tried to promise not to mention anything like it again. Kathy rushed me, she wrapped her arms around me and said "Bullshit, if you wont tell me when you hurt I will spank your bare ass till it glows".

Kathy then told me that a lot of my co-workers knew of my horrible past, she told me they all care, and that Q life was very wrong. Friends help friends, and a friend who needs is one we care for. In front of everyone she asked if anyone had a problem with anything I had ever said. No one did.

She told me keeping it bottled up so long had really hurt me more than I needed to, she told me to always be my self and to tell when I was not OK. Details be damned, she was more worried about me than anyone else.

So Randy and all others the point is please don't hide your hurts, your pain, your anguish, no tell someone, anyone you feel comfortable with, if there is not a person like that in your life, then tell one of us. we ( I ) really care and will listen as long as you need. I can't solve the problem, can't change the past, can't make the trouble go away...but I can care, love and be a friend.

Sorry this got long and kind of off topic. Hugs brother. Scottie

randy said...

Hi Scottie;
The Q life person was wrong... she was removing the caregiver from the equation of life, and that is dumb. For some, the presumption of non-transferrance, of holding oneself above and apart from the aches and pains of those around them, is the only method to be used in the helping professions. In my mind it reduces caregivers to robots.
I agree with you in that we each need to find the strength to share those hurts, to bring them into the light and examine them a bit. A perfect world gives one the opportunity then to resolve those past hurts, to let the wounds heal. But, until then, I will always be your brother.

I send love and hugs;