06 Mar Time is no longer linear
I’ve only scratched the surface with the things I’m going through at my parents’ house. Maybe two boxes so far, and I haven’t brought myself to throw anything away, which is probably a mistake. But Marz’s death and this revisitation of time capsules from my past has given me new perspectives. As if I’ve opened a book I knew well, and just now realized that all along it was a pop-up book in 3 dimensions with secret doors.
Relics from my past have been boxed up in Killington all this time. I know my story. It made me who I am and I wouldn’t change a thing. I’m happy with the point in time I’m living in today.
But to have an adult’s perspective and reread poems from the depths of teenage angst, the terrible self-image, concerned notes from teachers, supportive letters from family, in-jokes with friends, journal entries worrying about which to choose from the boys who liked me, well written stories — I’m realizing that I was so incredibly supported all this time. I wasn’t the loser I felt like I was. Maybe dorky. Maybe I had some awkward moments. Maybe I didn’t always do the right thing. But I can forgive myself all that. And especially, I can be grateful for all that support I had. It was a privilege, to be sure.
Sometimes when I feel like nobody gets my sense of humor, I can know that it all came from those years. We’re probably still funny to each other. Just like I wonder what is wrong with Henry that he just compulsively yells POOPY DOODOO constantly, and then I see him with his friends and they’re all doing it to each other and you realize, oh. This is some kind of fraternal call that I just didn’t understand out of context. It’s lonely to try to connect with other people and not realize that they don’t understand that you’re doing it in your own way that you learned somewhere else, and that maybe it doesn’t translate here.
One of my old friends said she went through this last summer, cleaning out her old bedroom, and had that new perspective; the “lovely shift” of feeling wounded to realizing how lucky she was to have those friends and experiences. She helped me realize that this experience is something painful and hard, but incredibly worthwhile.
The other thing is that I’ve been in touch with some of those old friends and boyfriends. A few of us have talked, in varying depths, about what was good and what went wrong. With distance between us now and distance between current life and those moments, it’s interesting to hear the other perspective.
Learning that other people were not just characters in my story, but that they had their own story, their own reasons for doing the things they did or saying the things they said — it’s obvious; I mean, that’s something you should know and realize. But I hadn’t until now, not really — and it’s kind of blowing my mind.
And to realize that I’m a character in their story. And that these people all still exist somewhere. We touched each other’s lives in formative ways, and we all still exist. And maybe would even get along as adults, these days. It’s all crazy.
I feel unstuck in time. Feelings and memories that have been covered in cobwebs are coming to light again. Again, with a new perspective. I’ve leveled up by letting nearly twenty years pass. Previously, life was linear. Today is today, it’s Glens Falls Kate who’s a mother, business owner, community figure, artist, wife, daughter, sister, who has a backstory that’s pretty well sorted out. It’s been made peace with. I’ve even bought myself big blue glasses to reclaim something I hated about myself. I get compliments on them!
But here it is, like a tidal wave that I thought was out to sea. Crashing on me. Remember every insecurity you ever had? Remember the art room and what a safe haven it was? Remember being tethered to a stretcher; your mom saying you had to sign the admittance papers yourself? Remember eating bagels in the hallway? Remember quoting Monty Python with your friends? Remember smoking on the rooftop with Stacey; bumming cigs at the fair? Remember IMing all night with friends; the rush of KJEREMY pinging up a new message? Remember staying up all night and making websites and taking selfies? Remember that time you heard a girl talking about you and she said you had ratty hair? Remember when you didn’t make Varsity and they made you JV co-captain as a consolation? Remember writing morning pages; eating lunch with your teachers? Remember backstage in the theatre and the prop room? Remember painting your phone with nail polish? Remember talking on the phone for hours? Remember writing letters to your friends, notes in lockers? Remember your shoes that jingled everywhere you went? Remember everything, ever?
And time is all around us. It’s all happening simultaneously, in dimensions previously never imagined. There is no such thing as time. It’s not a line any more with dots along it where things happened. It’s memories that float around like bubbles independently, with connections in all ways to everything, and people other than just you. Some of them you can’t see until someone else holds up the other piece to it and then you remember.
There are some hilarious observations. I’ve just remembered that once I was kicked out of a bounce house for being too bossy. I was trying to organize the kids. And here the same thing happened at the Shirt Factory.
Other observations — my pain was real, my angst and self-hate. It was real. But it was so narrow. I had plenty of friends, and really good ones. I was so oversensitive that if they looked at me funny I’d collapse. I know that I still am that way, but I know better now — to just ask and talk it out instead of having an existential crisis about something that might not actually be about me at all. As it turns out, most things are not about me. I’m not the center of the universe. And there are enough supporters that if there’s a hater, they’re in the minority. And everyone isn’t going to like me. It’s worth considering feedback so you can improve yourself, but you also can’t make everyone happy. I think I’m still figuring that out, but I’m closer to knowing it, anyway.
It’s funny how I forget things about myself. I was so worried about exposing my emotions in my last blog post. Careful about it. Because I know that I have a lot at stake. I love my work and I don’t want to jeopardize it. I don’t want to embarrass anyone that I write about. And it’s terrifying to think that you’ve let some level of crazy out that’s above and beyond anyone being able to say “Me, too,” to it and that everyone’s going to start avoiding you because you’re just too nuts. And I’m aware that I’m a person who’s very “Look at ME!” But looking back, I’ve always written it out. I’ve always been very self-aware, as in, “I wonder why I’m reacting this way to that.” I’m glad I’m still me. There’s something satisfying about realizing everyone is so strongly who they always were. And that kids are kids, and teens are teens, and now we are adults, and hopefully a lot more evolved than we used to be. And we can forgive our past selves.
It occurs to me that this is a rite of passage. Not one I was expecting like getting my driver’s license or having my first drink or getting married or having my first child. But going through your entire childhood and adolescence when your parents move and all of a sudden those archives are yours to decide what to do with. This is something that people go through. I had never thought about it in depth before, but it’s certainly a Life Moment.
I’m curious to hear about other people’s experiences with this. I’d love to hear about it.