June 23, 2013
The beauty of growing older is that there are more memories to share. But what is a memory? Can we "trust" our memories? Can you trust any history to be told without omissions, additions, substitutions, or even outright lies?
I had a social studies teacher in grade 10 who we called Bonehead. Bonehead said that to understand the true meaning of history, to know what really happened, we must follow the money.
Certainly that is good advice in any discussions of politics, religion or sex.
But what about the personal? Haven't we been told that the personal is political? Does it mean that to understand our own personal histories, we also need to 'follow the money'?
What is there was no money to follow? What other currency can we trust, like In God We Trust?
To reanimate our life and memories, we must find perspective. What did we see then, and how do we see that view now. Don't forget to mind the gap. The gap between the past and present, how reliable is our memory, just how do we choose to fill the gap.
But is any memory reliable? Even one that just happened, we colour with our perspective of the present, which is now past. Would an impartial observer have the same impression?
I have gone through a particularly dark few weeks, where I have been sifting through past memories, trying to gain a perspective, so that I may "file away these memories", to create a new understanding of what they mean to me now, and what I thought they meant then.
About half of you who are still reading this post, may have left me by now, while the other half acutely knows from which I speak.
"Someone left a cake out in the rain, and I don't think that I can take, because it took so long to bake it, and I may never have that recipe again."
As I look at the picture above, which was taken more than 30 years ago by Hans John Schneider, I see a dark beauty to his perspective that captures an image of me that I still find to be powerful, crippled and obsessive. The eyes draw you in, but I particularly love the twisting of my hands and the legs.
It is the same look that informs the drawing to the left that my wife did about 34 years ago.
I am reminded of the song FEAR by AKA:
"I feel I fear I feel I fear.
Fingers stroke against my neck.
Gotta get real.
I'm racked I'm wrecked.
I feel I fear I feel I fear....
Cut off my reality. Cut off by reality. Chop Chop Chop Chop."
What is the thread that ties my life together?
From the young man with the burning glare to the present version?
What is aging but the effects of oxidation, gravity, and the lovely thing they always use as an excuse for not paying someone- experience. Don't complain about the money, you are gaining so much experience. So if we follow the money, and there isn't any, do we follow the experience?
We can't go back. We must go on.
As fragile as we may feel in the present, we have no way other way forward except the slow march to Neverland. Except in the real Neverland, we can't remain children forever.
What is so good about being a child, anyway? I never felt free or relaxed as a child. I had the same dense intensity then as I feel today. I remember sitting in my bedroom. I was around 8 years old.
I was angry, I was depressed and I didn't "fit" in. I knew instinctively that I was different.
At least, that was my perspective then.
Today here I am. It is 48 years later, and I am still depressed angry and not fitting in.
But the experiences....
Let me tell you what happened: