Recently, an old friend that I have not seen for 3 years ended up in town for a few days. I have known the guy since grade 9, and our friendship has weathered many storms. Truth be told, a couple he may not even know about. The person that I am today, and the person I was even as few as 2 or 3 years ago, are drastically different. Though it may be hard to believe.
I didn’t have the tendency to view many situations as rationally as I do today. I was not as aware of my habit of holding permanent grudges as I am today (a family trait). And I was far more bothered/affected by events of my past than I am today. Either way, whatever the shit that happened, it’s all water under the bridge now.
Being we met in high school, he reminded me of an anniversary of sorts. It has been 10 years since high school graduation. Since my graduating class started its journey into the real world.
With some classmates from our year (over some beers), memories were exchanged, stories were told. Everyone could not believe that it had already been 10 years.
Well, besides me.
I was well aware of the date, and the progression of time. As the years have gone by, I knew. Though I didnt exactly keep a chronological tab in my mind (1, 2, 3 years), I was aware. The shit that happened back then, combined with my lacking in self awareness of flaws in my very structure, ensured it. Though I have managed to largely purge most of it from my mind by now, it has long been a personal sore spot.
Though I say high school in a general sense, the worst of the problems were thoughout my grade 9 year. The first was a forced relationship with a former grade 8 classmate and friend in another high school. And after that, came the other mess, the cyber bullying campaign. Though seprate beasts for most of the year, they would eventually culminate into a massive cluster fuck that I almost felt powerless to do anything about. Almost. I go into the ordeal with a bit more depth on my about me page.
As it happened, time would end up helping to correct both problems (though not heal the scarrs, it would seem). The cyber bullying stuff settled down eventually after restrictions on anonymous posting were added (and people just lost intrest). And the relationship disolved after I became more observant and realized that I was not being threatened by 5 or more, but rather, was being decieved by 1.
Compared to the previous year, tenth grade (and onward really) was a breeze. My environment was fairly neutral. Though there was some strife happening here and there, nothing really sticks out. Certainly nothing that even came CLOSE to the previous year. But despite this, high school would still be a weird place for me.
The grade 9 mess ended with me being behind in many diffrent subjects (since I quit caring after awhile), which meant repeating some subjects. I now realize that the situation ended up retarding me in more ways than just academically. But as with most people, education got the most attention.
Due to the reputation I had earned a year previous, and due to being held back, from the 10th grade on, I tended to identify with the younger newcomers (some being friends from middle school) more than with my own (future) graduating class.
There are of course, exceptions. People that I may not talk to often, but people that remain just as important now as they were then. Hell, even a friend that was in a largely diffrent (and more popular) crowd than I would end up contacting me years later, with just as much respect as we had when we talked more (grade 8). Granted, the fellow was pretty hammered. But if alcohol just magnifies what’s already present in the psychy, I’ve nothing to worry about.
But aside from those examples, my interaction with my own peers was . . . fairly limited.
Most of my high school career was spent playing catch up. Or at least, spent TRYING to. A battle that I at some point between grades 10 and 11, eventually just gave up on. I instead opted to complete a minimum (if that) of what was required, and used school as more of a social gathering place than anything else.
Given that trajectory, it’s no surprise by the time my grade 12 year rolled around, I opted for (for the most part) just not bothering. I had taken a job training course over the summer and now had a full time evening job. I was 18, out of the home I grew up in (that’s another story in itself). I had the freedom to just say “Fuck it!” and not attend school.
It started with morning classes, after conflicting with 4 to 12 shifts. Some people can pull that stuff off, but aparently not me. Those classes I was not to fond of anyway, having 2 slots in a row of math back to back. Then went business, keyboarding, possibly law (forget if I ever took that). Business was so boring that I once fell asleep. I hated keyboarding because I could never master the proper methodologies, and thus keep pace. Oddly enough, since my main hobby involves so much typing. I don’t type properly on a keyboad persay, but I don’t exactly hunt and peck either. But moving on, the only class that I kept for the whole of the year, was English. A class that I also ended up failing.
Though many of my classmates graduated that year, needless to say, I didn’t. It would bother me a bit in the years that followed. And anger me a bit, knowing what bullshit ended up culminating in me missing that milestone along with my peers. But the most bothersome part was not missing that ceremony however. It was not having a yearbook for that year, the year of my peers. I have the yearbook from my first year hell, and every inconsequential year afterwards. But not the most important one, the one that celebrated my classmates (and more importantly, my FRIENDS) first important milestone in life.
The yearbook committee (if memory serves) had aparently run out of copies. I would later hear that some people got more than one. Nothing like a little salt into the wound.
I would be back the following year for another attempt at the grade 12 diploma. But my attendance didn’t last beyond maybe 2 weeks. Not only did I have work and other social activities outside of school, I just didn’t see the point anymore. In my mind, I had a job and I was making money. What do I need to go to school for?!
It didn’t help that most everyone I had known had either graduated or transferred to other schools, so I was mostly alone. A feeling that overtook me one day to the point that at lunch time I ended up just clearing my locker and walking out, never to return as a student. I threw away all the school work I had, viewing it as a reminder of bad things. Plus it was a feel good gesture. Here’s what I think of your fucking homework!
Though I went 3 or 4 years without a diploma, I would eventually earn it though an off campus program set up by my school. A program I only joined after my former principal bugged me into signing up for it (figured, why not). I guess you could say that I had already become very bitter in life. Though I didn’t even have the paper yet, the diploma meant little. It may be a milestone, but it’s no key to sucsess. Not nearly as important as its hyped to be.
That was 2011.
Though I wanted to burn them, my transcripts now sit in my safety deposit box. My diploma sits in my bottom drawer, under clouthing that rarly gets worn. My yearbooks sit in a box of various crap I don’t often take out (though, again, I’ve at times pondered burning them). And though I had them up until this spring, all my old high school printed t-shirts now lay somewhere in the landfill. Worn out and unfitting anyway, I don’t know why I kept them for so long in the first place.
Back at the beginning of this post, I expressed that I disagreed that it was hard to believe that it’s been 10 years since high school. I guess for those that have moved on with fond memories of the period, I can understand this. Though I wish that was the case for me, one has to work with what cards they have been dealt. Rather than finding guilt and regret in the typical “High school is the best time of your life!” narrative, one has to make their own reality.
And I have been doing better, at least for a couple years. Though I once held an attitude similar to that of my dad (“I am the way I am because of *insert experience here*!“), I have gotten better. If bitterness is a paralytic, there really is no better anecdotial example than my dad. I see what he does to other people (myself included), and I see the duress that he causes for himself. Its not something that I want to find myself doing to other people. Even if some people aparently can not be helped, one can still try to help themselves.
My introduction to philosophy (of all things) has certainly done more than anything else to put my past behind me. It has not exactly had a positive influence persay, in the way that one would likley think. The thought processes involved have not made me happy , or even more positive. Though a bit tricky to describe, it involves me being able to mentally (in most contexts) completely withdraw from the fray, and just observe.
It gave me a far more worldly outlook than the typical self centered one that I had before. Picture any particular argument anywhere in society, on any subject, as a physical debate or conversation (say, at the local bar or pub). Most seem to feel the want or the need to pick one side, and that is where they stay (unless they are convinced to the other side).
To be me, is to be standing aside from either group. Just listening and observing. After awhile, I may accept points from one side or the other, or both. Or I may just walk away without taking anything.
One example of such a topic is the God/deity question. The concept has no bearing on my day to day life, so who cares. For reference, though religion also really has no bearing on my life, I understand it’s destructive consequences elsewhere in the world. As such, though I consider many religions to be some of the most evil products that humanity has ever created (along side WMD’s), I completely disconnect that aspect (religion) from the deity.
Another example is abortion.Its a decision for one or 2 people, possibly the family. It’s not my business.
I am not sure what one would call such a world view. Some may call it an agnostic position, a middle ground. Though I used to, I hesitate with that analysis being that I typicly tend to view myself as being on the outside and looking in (as opposed to between 2 factions). Some may call it (being an outsider) a contrarian position. But even that doesn’t really fit. Being that I have not really been CAST out of any faction , and I don’t exist just to differ from whatever is the status quo. I just . . . do what I do.
It may sound like a fairly benign worldview, but the problems come in the difficulty in communication (about things that matter, anyway) with almost anyone else. Even if something is crystal clear to comprehend, you often can only can get so far when explaining to others. I can (usually correctly) argue that I am the logical or rational one in the conversation. But even that is moot, being that even people with a complete misunderstanding of what the words mean can say they argue logicly or rationally. They (logic, reason, rationality, freethinker, nuance) are merly intellectual buzzwords. People that truly comprehend the meaning of the words do not need to use them as label’s.
All in all, though this philosophical stuff is the cause of much frustration (it made it clear how much of societal discouse is based around silly dicotamies, and where we as a collective, are headed), there are benefits. Besides being a distraction to personal strife, it helped to broaden my horizons. Even if it’s mostly in the sense that there are much bigger problems than my weird anecdotial bullshit experiences.
Perspective is everything. Even if I have various bullshit in my past that still has lingering effects to this day, not only could it be worse, but there are also far bigger issue’s. Big issue’s that I haven’t a clue where to even begin with even STARTING to mitigate. But none the less, ide rather know than not.
With this worldview/mindset (not sure what to call it), also comes an air of understanding that I (and likely most people) previously lacked. That whole stepping aside and viewing a situation from a distance thing . . . it has helped put to rest quite a few old grudges.
Some, after realizing that I was likley just being silly. For example, I once was quite resentful of a friend of mine for (in my eyes) taking a girl out from under me in a 3 day span whilst I was working. I felt that way for a couple years at least. But I eventually got over it. Not because of forgiveness. More because, it was just me being stupid. I would likely never had asked the question anyway. And in all seriousness, it be a lie to say that she was even my type anyway. She’s indeed in the spectrum. But she’s far from the ideal zone.
Another way that this new mindset has helped me is by starting to look deeper into problems or situations than just what is most obvious. Rather than focus just on the symptoms, find the source.
Take the whole forced relationship from grade 9. It made me angry and vindictive for YEARS. Because at face value, it really was a horrible situation. I would find out many years later however that despite being my aggressor, my ex was also the target of an aggressor. Their aggressor being, an extremely intimidating and immature older cousin.
No, it didn’t excuse the actions taken against me, persay. And it didn’t really help me in repairing the various bits of damage left over from the mess. But what it does do, is help to make the situation make more sense. Sure, one should not deal with their problems by helping to push a 3ed party damn close to the great abyss. But it’s an easier action to digest as a coping mechanism.
All in all, it has been quite a journey since my noon hour exit from high school life just over 9 years ago. Even if most of the growth ended up happening in the past 2\3 years, progress is progress. The fact that I had even been reminded of this high school stuff is growth in itself. This stuff isnt even sitting distantly in the back of my mind. It is (or WAS, it seems) as good as forgotten.
This reminder caused a bit of emotional turmoil for me recently, however. Not due to what bugged me in the past (regrets of missed opportunities in high school). I more, suddenly realised how little I had accomplished in the years since. I have spent a vast quantity of my life doing little more than spinning my wheels.
On paper, I live a steller exsistance. 3 longstanding former employers, working for a 4th presantly. For the most part, I have been a sucess in every job I have ever held. Aside from 1 (but who gives a shit about telemarketing. Even I hang up on them!). Aside from work, my life is mostly squeaky clean.
And yet, it all means nothing really.
I have never EVER held a job that I liked. Or more importantly, a job that I ever felt myself to be secure in. For one thing, my entire resume is based on me having a professional and sucessful background in customer relations. Which is hilarious, because I hate people. I don’t give a FUCK about them or their trivial first world problems often stemming from their own stupidity. To be fair, this career has done alot to color this perception. But even if I look outside my work experiences, a WHOLE lot is left to be desired.
But by now, stupid and unruly customers are just part of the background noise. It happens, and there is not much to do about it. What does make things worse however, are incompetent higher ups at all levels (from the managers office to the boardroom). I have had otherwise tolerable jobs go COMPLETELY sour due to stupidity over my head. Be it idiodic rules and regulations made from a boardroom far from the reality of the sales floor, or working under lower managers that are idiotic, incompetent or assholeIsh (often all of the above). Even if I dont ever start out with an employer in such circumstances (I have left jobs after the 1st shift upon detecting similar environments), so far, it just happens. One or 2 years in, a change of managment occurs somewhere up the chain. Always resulting in the tolerable eventually becoming “I just dont give a FUCK anymore”.
Found these on Facebook just today
For me so far, this has been the rule of thumb. Apparently its time I started my own business.
Outside of work, in all honesty, I don’t really do much either. Partially because most of the people I am most comfortable with in social situations no longer live here (they are flourishing in greener pastures). Another is, a lack of motivation to even attempt to put myself out there. I guess that its just not worth the effort. As bad as it sounds, I often spend so many hours dealing with people that I often just don’t feel like interaction of any kind in my own time. A certain family member also adds to the mix by (unknowingly it seems) expecting me to visit them practically daily (that’s a whole other story . . . ). But mostly, its just me.
A few days ago whilst laying in bed listening to Three Days Grace’s One X (which was part of a youtube playlist), 2 things happened. The first, was a sudden rush of realization over how little I have accomplished. And the 2ed, was the urge to vanish, get outta dodge. I felt like shuting my phone off, getting on a bus or plane, and just going . . . anywhere. Not even tell ANYONE my intentions . . . just leave. Likley not even permanently. But for a fairly long time. A month, maybe more.
Of course, I would quickly end up bating this idea aside. I have obligations. Though I dont really care about the employment factor (you can work anywhere), I do have a family member with health issues that I help out. Its not as cut and dry as it is for most people my age. Also, bills. Running off may feel good, but at the expence of good credit?
One thing is certain however. I need a vacation. Where it brings me . . . who knows. Just as long as im gone. Even for just a little while.
This has taken a dark turn. My life has been (and realistically, IS) riddled with all sorts of bullshit of all types. Some of it, typical run of the mill problems of a first world citizen. But there are some challenges that seem unique to me. Things that one can’t really discuss with anyone. Yet, things that have an ever present and continuous (and at times, caustic) impact on daily existence. In short, its surprising that it took so long to go this dark.
But it is not all bad.
All of us eventually come to a time of life when we realize that all we amount to be, may not match all that we would LIKE to be, or all that we THOUGHT we would be by now.
For me, its really neither. I never really had high hopes, dreams or goals to begin with. A previous math teacher of mine (back in grade 9, I believe) once warned us that if we go though life without having any any goals, you may find yourself being 30 and still pumping gas. Of course, back then, that didn’t mean anything. I never thought I would make 18 (let alone 30). But none the less, here I am. 2 years removed from the cautionary milestone.
Looking at almost everything in life in a negative way tends to be just, how I am. There is a bit of a pattern within my family (starting with one grandparent) that seems to show itself in the descendants in the form of a negative outlook on life, hoarding, or even some obsessive compulsive (or at least OCD-like) behavior. All to various degrees, with some being quite obviously affected, and others seemingly unaffected. It could also be that some have learned to recognize these traits in themselves, and thus are not bound by them.
Either way, I can’t kick myself to much for not getting as far ahead as I could have. Or (lets be honest), I should not be kicking myself for not going as far as fellow student A, or buddy B. Everyone has diffrent baggage in life. And everyone has a diffrent way of handling things.
But outlook is also important.
If a person refuses to see anything but negativity everywhere, they will eventually end up in a self fulfilling prophecy. Keep in mind, reacting negatively to a negative situation is not the same thing. Its healthy to say “What the FUCK?!” when warranted. However, “I will never get anywhere, so why even bother?!” . . . not so much.
You can be a prisoner of your victomhood. Or you can be a captain of your new life beyond your stormy seas. It may take a long time for some to get to that crossroads. But it all eventually boils down to this.
Going back to the worst part of the high school days, I had a soundtrack of sorts. It was an interesting soundtrack, because for years, I didn’t have a clue who the artists responsible for it were.
It started with a little white recordable cdR disk. With no information or markings, I found it by the side of the road one day, presumably tossed out by a passing car. Though a bit damaged, it played. I don’t remember exactly when I found it, but it must have been 2002.
It wouldn’t come back into my life until sometime later (maybe a year or so). I don’t even remember how my attention went back to that disk (then stored in a cd book with an assortment of others owned by my family. But even though I didn’t know the artists, the music resonated. Looking back, I can definitively call it the soundtrack of my high school career.
I would not learn who the artist responsible for the music was until 2008, after hearing a new song on the radio by a band that sounded much like the band on the mystery disk. That song was called Driven (Sevendust). And the song from the disk were from Sevendust’s first album, called Animosity .