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Days of Future Passed

It’s odd, to age on the internet.  I went back to read my livejournal anniverary post today – the first post I have on this very day, but 8 years ago.  Perhaps I’ll post a snippet at the end here tonight.  It’s from a very odd time in my life. I wonder sometimes if this quixotic little adventure I’m on trying to semi-regularly blog my ridiculous graduate school foibles will end up standing the test of time.  Where does it all go, when I stop paying for this domain?  When becomes passe?

There’s an amazing amount of time.  An incomprehensible spread, like taffy, effortlessly but enduringly covering every moment of every life.  I read a paper from 1988.  Lewis call is “old school”.  I counter: “..not that much older than what I was reading yesterday”.  I was five, in 1988.  I was in Bellevue.  I was in Kindergarten, at Sunset Elementary, and I was in class with my not-quite-yet-best-friend Bryanne.  We were the English Kindergarten, not the Spanish Immersion next door.  Those kids were strange.  1988.  Soundgarden released Ultramega Ok.  Chris Cornell was already a grownup.

My sister was 15… and dating, or almost dating Lonnie?  One of my first memories of Lonnie was the feeling of absolute mortification and instant regret after playing a game of jacks in our entryway.  Instead of bouncing the ball on the floor, I bounced it off his forehead.  I thought he was going to find it funny, but it must have hurt, because I think he got kind of mad.   It was one of those lessons you learn as a kid – actions have consequences, and sometimes the things you do hurt other people, even when you only mean to be having fun.   Around this same time, I have my first memory of disappointing my Dad.  Mom was out somewhere that night, and just Dad and me were at home, so he was responsible for getting me into bed.  I remember it was bedtime already, and he asked if I had brushed my teeth.  I hadn’t, but out of some feeling of insolence, I sort of proclaimed proudly that I hadn’t, and he was pretty mad.  I rushed upstairs and brushed my teeth pretty quickly thereafter, but I remember being worried for a long time that I had let my Dad down, and that I should do what I’m supposed to do without being asked.  Funny how long these things stick with you.

The further I get from my childhood, the less it makes sense to me.  I took so much on faith, that life is how it is, and it’s normal, and everything is okay.  Now I wonder – is life how it should be?  Am I the way I was meant to be?  What if I’m messing something up that I don’t even realize, because I haven’t learned one of those ball-to-forehead sort of lessons?  I know you can’t think your way out of this.  But I feel like I have to loosen my grasp on some things I had held dear.  I’ve been thinking a lot about growing up.  I’ve got this idea in mind lately, that I have upheld my end of the bargain, but that there was no contract, and nothing to be followed through upon.  It’s pervasive, and it permeates most my feelings about growing up these days.  I feel like I was a really naive girl, who wanted to believe in the the best of everyone.  And I’m slowly starting to realize that the adults in my life kept me in this state of unknowingness because it was the nicest place to grow up.  But that I grew up, and now I don’t understand why everything seems so different in retrospect.

Case in point lately:  my brother.  I only have two siblings, which are in reality half siblings.  It was a point of pride in my life that, to quote my Mom’s mantra about the situation, my siblings were “real siblings to me”.   I don’t have any full-blooded siblings, so I honestly don’t know what the difference would be anyway.  So I grew up with this underlying assumption that my siblings are my siblings are my siblings.  And that even though my brother and sister have other step- (and maybe half-?) siblings, they were sort of inconsequental, because the three of us were The Family Unit.  So my brother, like any real brother, would want to stand up for me, to protect me, to guide me through life… to deal with me, at all.  Turns out, my brother doesn’t like me.  Turns out, he maybe doesn’t like anyone.  But I’m pretty sure, standing from where I am now, that my brother never thought of me as a real sister, as a real part of his life, or as anything more than the kid his mom had to replace him.  I know he’s fucked up, so maybe this isn’t all his intention.  The feeling stands though:  when people ask if I have any siblings, do I still tell them I have two?  What does it mean to have a half-brother you thought was an enduring force in your life, who it turns out you’ve seen less of than some of your cousins?  And who doesn’t seem to regard your existance as noteworthy at all?  I haven’t even seen him in five years.  I haven’t spoken directly to him since… I can’t remember when.  We had one nice conversation once after he got out of the Army.  So I must have been in… high school?

I degree from the point. What I’m attempting to pontificate on is the fact that bunch of seemingly fundamental things that formed the basis of how I viewed life seem to have been good faith assumptions based on what things the people around me told me were true.  And I’m filling with this creeping sense of injustice I’ll eventually have to let out, or somehow get over.  Maybe these were feelings I was supposed to deal with 10 years ago.  In some ways, I think I must be as naive as ever.  But I just don’t see how I can progress in Life (big “L”) without figuring out whether the fundamentals of my outlook are sound.  And they’re not looking very sound.

I’ll sign off with a quote from my past self.  Context:  this is me, in my senior year of high school.  I’m living in a hotel, because my parents have moved to a different city, but wanted me to finish school in the same place.   I’m about to take the IB French test, and I think I already know that I’ll be moving to California in August to go to USC.  My life is basically filled with being an honors student, and trying to date an exchange student, which is going pretty shittily.  But I am surrounded by good friends (Tiffy, mostly) who are keeping me bouyant and I’ve got my eyes securely locked on the future.  This was my May 14th, 2001:

I’ll keep this short this morning.. partly because I need to bust out to get to my test, and partly because I dont remember what really happened, and what I dreamed.. but I just had the strangest night..

I guess about 1:30 some random girl screamed in the hallway, and woke me up.. I gave it a big, “what’s this for?” and went back to sleep.. and then someone randomly decided that they wanted in my room and kept trying to open my door, so that really woke me up.. on top of that someone kept going in and out of their room and the doors in this place make the biggest loudest closing sound.. so all of this caused me not to really get any sleep after 1:30 which is bad, because i was planning on being very rested for this french test.. but oh well. After that I just kept dreaming about all this weird stuff.. girls getting kidnapped and people trying to barge into my room.. it doens’t sound so bad on the LJ but I was sort of disturbed…

but it all really worked out for the best, because my alarm wasn’t set and so after spending this whole sleepless night i was like, “hey, i should be getting up.. where’s my alarm?” I guess being tired is the price i’ll pay for being awake. bleh. i need to get outta here…. but not before i say, “bonne chance!” to myself :)

It’s okay, past Laurie, it all works out.  And you did pretty good on that French test, despite the weird day.  In fact, you remember that French test much better than you remember this odd night.  So no need to fret.