Two balls, and an alibi

Currently stuck in my head :

 

It’s a great album. Tells the story of a poor little rich boy. Here’s the song I really identify with, or at least, with the chorus :

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I know how you feel, man. When I was a kid, I envied (without being able to articulate it) the poor kids with stable, loving families. I would have traded all my middle class stuff for parents and siblings who wanted me around.

The sort of family my babysitter Betty had. They were poor, and everything in their house was cheap, and growing up she’d had to share a bedroom with two other siblings, and so forth and so on.

But when I was there, I could feel the love and the bond between them, and often wished I could stay.

In those days, her family paid a lot more attention to me than my own. And they seemed to care if I was happy, too. With them, I felt like I was being cared for.

As opposed to at home, where I felt like I was barely being tolerated, and to get that I had to be completely accommodating, never ask for anything, and “understand” when my needs got utterly neglected or something I cared about was withdrawn in favour of the comfort and convenience of others.

No matter what, they knew I would “understand”.

It was a very cold childhood. Perhaps that’s because I come from a family of chilly intellectuals, I don’t know. I’ve talked here before about how cerebral a family we turned out to be.

And we also all turned out to have mental health issues. Way to go, Mother and Father. You successfully raised a crop of brilliant kids with fucked up heads.

And of the four of us, I got the biggest dose of both of those things.

My siblings have their issues, true. But they also had friends when we were growing up. I did not. And it’s not like I was going to get the necessary emotional and social stimulation from my icebox of a family.

As a result, I was a depressed kids in an area when nobody knew that was even a thing that could happen. I withdrew hard into my little world of TV and books and video games. A world I still live in to this very day.

Obviously, I am pretty bitter about all that.

But what can I do? It’s in the past. It’s far too late to get mad about how I was treated forty years ago.

Nevertheless, I am pretty pissed off about it. My childhood burned its lessons about my place in the world into my so deeply that I was in my early thirties before I even realized how badly I had been raised.

It’s a staggeringly sobering thing to realize that despite your brilliant mind, you have been completely blind to profoundly important truths about your life for as long as you can remember, all the way back to your early childhood.

Every childhood is normal, I guess, until you compare it to others and realize what exactly you should have had.

As you patient readers know, I am still working through all this emotional garbage from my childhood. It’s taking such a long time, I suspect, because of that heavy dose of icy intellectualism I got from my family.

That left me without the emotional tools to deal with my problems directly. I have to work through them intellectually, which takes a hell of a lot longer.

I mean, I didn’t even have a relationship with a deity who loved and cared about me. No religion in my childhood.

No religion, no friends, no family to rely on, nothing.

Just long days of loneliness, boredom, and fear. Like all emotionally neglected kids, I learned to entertain myself.

And never really learned to do anything else.

Perhaps my highly developed verbal skills come from my (highly intellectualized) attempts to express what I did not know how to express as a child.

Or rather, I suppose, what I was too scared to express. It was very hard for me to articulate my needs because I got such a strong “you don’t matter” vibe from my family that I felt like I had no right to ask for anything, ever.

All that was left was for me to be grateful for whatever fell from the sky into my life. You know, those rare moments when someone noticed me enough to be nice to me.

There was nothing I could do to bring them on, and I had better be grateful for what I did get because I sure as heck didn’t deserve it.

Sometimes I sit and wonder : did I even stand a chance?

Because it’s easy to come up with a million “if only” scenarios. If only I had stood up for myself. If only I had demanded proper treatment from the world instead of passive absorbing whatever happened to me. If only I had used my winning combination of articulacy, passion, and stubbornness to raise a fuss and get myself what I need.

Etcetera, ad nauseum, infinits.

But the fact that there are things now that I wish I had done back then does not mean that I actually could have done them back then. They would have been alien to my nature at the time. I was a product of my environment and felt very little sense of agency or self-determination.

I just adapted to whatever happened without a single thought in my head of having an alternative way of dealing with it.

Just like I had no idea that changing myself in order to fit in was an option. So I never learned to do that, either. I just got lucky and found a group of nerdy friends who would never ask that of me.

We nerds are cool like that.

Come to think of it, my family never demanded that of me either.

That would have involved noticing me and, worse, actually thinking about me and my needs and well-being.

And they sure as hell weren’t going to do that.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

 

 

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