Monday, April 30, 2007

the best days of our lives

These past few weeks I've been doing a lot of thinking about what it means to be young, not in the good sense. Not in the "These are the best days of your life" way. I recall hearing that all too often when I was in high school. I thought it was the biggest bunch of bullshit imaginable.

"If these are the best days of my life, why do I bother?"

These are the best days of my life, now, with K and Mr. Kaos. Fixing our home, basking in the sun, walking in the rain, making love into the wee hours of the morning, finding photographs with amazing smiles, eating family dinners, finding a fresh vase of flowers on the table, resting with our cats, listening to music, playing in the park, watching each one of us live and love and learn.

Those were not the best days, I was not the happy go lucky perk filled bright blue eyed girl that so many would have had me be. At heart I was CamiKaos even then, long before someone tacked "Kaos" onto the end of my Cami, but it wasn't something I had come to terms with, embraced, made my own.

I may have mentioned before the never ending stream of black clothes I wore, the dark makeup, even black lipstick. My ever present big black boots stomped along the halls of my school as I looked around at all the others who even without my dour expression and makeup looked miserable, distraught, uneven, unwell, unhappy. Were these the best days of their lives?

I am so much a different person these days that I look back at the me of then and marvel. Was I ever really so sad? Yes. I was. Something remains with me though, my need for self preservation. I was never a kill them all kind of girl, I was never a kill myself kind of girl. I was really more of a live and let live person even then.

So when I was called in to see the school's psychologist one day I was a little taken aback. It seems that I had turned in one too many essays, papers, poems that made someone wriggle, think, fear. The poem in question was about a girl I had known in grade school. At the time there was something about her that made me so sad, made me want to gather her up and bring her home to a better life. Even as a kid of maybe 7 or 8 I think I knew what she was dealing with, her father had been beating the hell out of her. She stopped coming to school one day and I will never forget her.

So it was natural that in high school with all the injustices of the world weighing heavy on my mind I would choose her to write about.

The problem? The teachers, while they thought the piece brilliant, didn't get what the poem meant. Didn't get that I was not projecting. Didn't get that some one my age could feel that level of compassion for someone they only knew once upon a time half a lifetime before.

After speaking to me for only 3 minutes the psychologist made the brilliant assessment that my father was beating me, and he was afraid I was going to hurt someone, maybe myself, maybe one of my classmates, maybe my dad.

sigh.

Just remembering this moment makes me so angry it's hard to express it. At the time I was less angry and more smug, entertained, irritated and agog. My dad, you see, is a lot of things, but abusive would never even enter into my mind. Sure he and I had our problems, we didn't get along at that age but I loved him and he loved me. The most horrible things I can recall my dad doing were grounding me, taking away my phone privileges and telling me I couldn't go to the lake with some boy I liked. The real problem I had with my father is something that I have long since dealt with, he was never there. Not never there because he abandoned our family. He didn't. He was never there because he traveled for his work so much. The work that he did to support our family to keep my brother in black concert tees and pegged jeans and me in black eyeliner and docs.

Even though my dad and I had issues (he didn't like to be seen with me in public looking like Wednesday Adams) he was still my dad, a good man, a good father and I didn't like some guy saying that he had done something that, not only had he not done, but that I knew he would never do.

I guess where I'm going with this is that when I was 16 they pulled me out of classes for the day, made wild accusations to me and my parents and tried to put a stop to something horrible that never happened in the first place to try to prevent me from doing something horrible that I would never do.

I was a 90 pound 16 year old girl with no history of violence but they tried to stop me.

If people went to all those lengths to stop little ol me... why can't we catch a couple of extra nuts before they do something to hurt themselves, or say, a bunch of people just trying to get to the best days of their life?

5 comments:

Mel said...

I have never laughed so hard in all my life as the day the guidance counselor at my high school called me in because a poem I wrote about missing my friends at my old school? Was so OBVIOUSLY a suicide letter.
Um.
No.
I hear you on this one, and I too would have been LIVID if they'd tried to make such accusations about my father.
Nicely done. Great thoughts for today.

mielikki said...

When I was in grade school, middle sister and I were called into the principals office. Older sister had actually made accusations against our father. (She was trying to squirm out of trouble.). I hated how that felt.
I remember you in your 'black' days. Especially the eyeliner. But never did I think you were violent! And NEVER would I have thought your Dad abusive. Idiot people.

julie said...

Oh, but I just remembered... one time in college I got tendonitis on the top of my left foot because I walked about 15 miles (drunk) in wooden platform shoes on Halloween. I went to the student health center because I could barely walk, and I explained what happened. The doctor suggested that maybe I actually had gonorrhea because tendonitis can be a symptom. WTF?

Mr. Fabulous said...

These are the best days of my life, now, with K and Mr. Kaos.

Plus, because we are pals, right? Aren't we pals? We're pals, I'm pretty sure. Will you be my pal?

(I think your Dear Fabby question gets answered tomorrow)

Bubblewench said...

YOUR dad? Mr. S? No way... what were those people smoking???