A Curious Mess

BrassTurtle

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How do you wake up in the morning?

I sometimes awake in a state of panic. Usually it’s a false alarm.  A bell ringing in my head which shocks my eyes open, kicks my body out of bed all the way to the front door to open it… and then abandons my still asleep mind to face the silence, emptiness, wondering why no one is there.

Did someone ring and run?

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“I envy paranoids; they actually feel people are paying attention to them.”
― Susan Sontag

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I’ve done that as a child. Rung a stranger’s doorbell then run away. A very silly and annoying thing to do. It was a popular game at the time for children who played in the streets, and so I tried it with a friend.

I regretted doing it before I did it but I did it anyway. Why? Was it peer pressure?

My friend did not pressure me to do it, but… I did feel pressure from within.

There was a desire to please my friend who liked to play pranks.

She seemed to me to be very cool. She had lots of friends, was a social powerhouse, and everyone in my class thought the sun shone out of her head. She did have the palest blonde hair I have ever seen (without the aid of products), each strand like a ray of sunlight. If she said jump, everyone jumped.

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“Each of us carries a room within ourselves, waiting to be furnished and peopled, and if you listen closely, you may need to silence everything in your own room, you can hear the sounds of that other room inside your head.”
― Susan Sontag

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I was under her spell for awhile and would have done pretty much anything she wanted to do.

There was a curiosity to explore and experience the things which she enjoyed.

I wondered what it was like to be her, and the best way to find that out (when you can’t actually become them, possess their personality, and live their life as them for a day) was to be with her and do what she did.

She was so different from me. She was from another world and it looked like an intriguing place to visit.

I have no idea why she hung out with me. I’m not sure if I asked myself that question at the time. She did seem to find me interesting enough to want to spend time with me… now that I think about it, she may have found me as fascinating as I found her, but why?

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“Mad people = People who stand alone and burn.
I’m attracted to them because they give me permission to do the same.”
― Susan Sontag

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I was a weird child (who spent much of her childhood trying to figure out how to be a child like other children were children because I’d spent my pre-school years around adults who expected me to behave like an adult then got upset with me when I did – Do as I say not as I do!).

I didn’t have friends (I tried but it was hard work with far too many rules to remember… and at some point you run out of bubblegum with which to buy the friendship of others), I was socially awkward to the extreme… and felt it vividly, especially at that school.

It was a posh school for the offspring of the La-di-da…

and from my first day I didn’t know why I was there other than the fact that my mother drove me and left me there (and kept doing that each day)… then bitched about how much she hated that kind of preposterously posturing pretentious place (in one of her fights with the headmistress – she always fought with the heads of the schools I went to – the headmistress asked her who she was, meaning what’s your social status… in that moment the headmistress found out exactly where to poke a lion if you want it to eat you).

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“There is nothing wrong with standing back and thinking. To paraphrase several sages: ‘Nobody can think and hit someone at the same time.”
― Susan Sontag

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On the day that I played the ring and run like hell game with my friend, we mostly ended up ringing doorbells of homes which had no one in them. However at the last doorbell we were caught by the doorbell owner before we could run. My friend wanted to run anyway, but I stood my ground.

Later (while we were trespassing on an old abandoned boat which was called The Ruffian) she told me how impressed she was by the way I had dealt with being caught and confronted by an adult.

She also wondered why I hadn’t run away.

I don’t recall what my answer to her wondering was…

Why did I not run?

Perhaps because I felt a pressure from within not to.

A child who isn’t really a child doesn’t deal with adults as a child would, just as they don’t deal with children as a child would. I was in between worlds, and… have remained that way. I may be an adult now, but I’m not really an adult the way other adults seem to be adults (and I have spent much of my adulthood trying to figure out how to be an adult like other adults are adults).

The more things change the more they remain the same – I’m still a curious mess

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“Do stuff. Be clenched, curious. Not waiting for inspiration’s shove or society’s kiss on your forehead. Pay attention. It’s all about paying attention. Attention is vitality. It connects you with others. It makes you eager. Stay eager.”
― Susan Sontag

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13 thoughts on “A Curious Mess

  1. “…an adult, but not the way other adults seem to be adults…”
    I love that, it captures the way I feel essentially. I just wing it and hope for the best. “Stay authentic” are words I live by.

    Lovely post!

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  2. i would translate curious with interesting and mess with creature…I think it’s good for our health to love that small lovely being we were. There is something which cannot be tainted.Pure essence blossoming.

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    1. I agree, it is rather a lovely feeling to look back at who we were and love that person, especially as the children we were still exist within us. I’ve learned a lot as an adult from my child self, she was in some ways much wiser than my adult self. 🙂

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  3. Wow. I recognize a lot of the feelings in this post, being different from other children… I was pretty severely bullied cause one girl thought I was pretty enough to be a threat… also had a lot of pressure from home to perform well in school.. made me feel a lot older than my age.. but wanting to be my actual age.. Great post! 🙂

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  4. I love how you have described your childhood as being expected to behave like an adult and then being sanctioned when you did. I really, really understand that, having experienced that weirdness myself.

    Perhaps you didn’t run because you were taking responsibility for having done the doorbell ringing that you regretted prior to having done it – exacting a little punishment on yourself, facing the music. Something that many people (child or adult) will duck away from.

    And awakening in the morning? Don’t get me started. I’m the embodiment of that turtle.

    Good post. 🙂

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    1. Thank you very much 🙂

      That’s an interesting perspective. I do have a tendency to discipline myself for infractions. Not sure if that’s what I was doing then. I was squeezing my mind trying recall what my thoughts were at the time. I can visualise the scene, see myself talking to the owner of the doorbell. I think maybe that I was just being logical. Or perhaps I was fed up of playing that game, and being caught was an opportunity to end it.

      Waking up from sleep is such a bizarre experience, I’m still not used to it 😉

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  5. Beautiful post and lots to think over and ponder. Thanks for sharing this! (I’m a survivor (if you will) of being a child who wasn’t really a child too. This is the first time I’ve seen that state of being put into words that make sense. And I’m sort of glad there are others like me. ) Thanks again! 🙂

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