Thursday, August 2, 2012

Am I Destroying Myself?

A few months ago, in the weekly Plugged In e-newsletter, I came across a quotation from Jimmy Fallon's late-night monologue that read:
"North Korea has officially agreed to suspend its nuclear program. Apparently they watched one episode of Toddlers and Tiaras and realized we're destroying our own society."
Yes, the whole thing was a joke, but a pointed one at that; it's sad that such behavior is to what our society has come.  It's no surprise that many people, no matter what their beliefs are, think the end of our world is coming soon, though Matthew 24:42-44 says that the end will come when we don't expect it.  Still, my understanding of global matters isn't all that great, but I do know one thing: It's a mad world out there.
I didn't bring that up to discuss the affairs of our planet or even the United States, though; instead, I've been wondering for several weeks now if I am destroying myself.  Before you get all up in arms, I'm not talking about "cutting," looking at pornography, drug addiction, alcohol abuse, or anything of that nature; anyone who knows me knows that those issues are just not my style.  Instead, I just wonder if my own habits are causing me to run myself into the ground.  I'd like to think not, but maybe I should get an outside perspective.
First off: My interactions and feelings about certain people.  Let's be honest, folks: We all have certain people we love to be with...and others whom with we'd rather not deal.  I have plenty of friends; not only do I get along with almost everyone at my church, but there have been zero social problems between my co-workers and I since I started my current job last October.  Nonetheless, there are some people who I just don't really care for; something about them just rubs me the wrong way.  I used to consider anyone I didn't like my enemy, but, recently, I've been wondering: Are the ones who I've previously thought to be among my enemies really on my side, and I've just focused too much on their negative actions?
Consider the following: Most of you know that my sister (that is, the one who is still alive) and I just don't get along.  We're equally strong-willed, but that's about all we have in common; I think we've agreed with each other about two times during my lifetime.  Such disagreement has led me to believe that she isn't and never has been on my side...but, now, I'm seriously rethinking that.  Has she said and/or done the wrong thing from time to time? Of course; who hasn't? James 3:7-8 and Romans 3:23 say that there's no one other than Jesus who has never been guilty of that.  One incident that would prove that my sister really is on my side happened several years ago, when the high school group at my church was taking a mission trip to Mexico.  The adults involved with the group, and even many of the teens, felt that it would be a great thing for me to go...but my mom absolutely refused to let me do it.  The most I got to see or hear about it were some pictures and personal testimony from those who did go.  I'll admit I was hot and bothered about it, but my sister said to me, "If you go on that trip, you have to work with little kids." She knew very well that I just don't get along with young children; in fact, I never really have.  I won't go into detail, but, if some of you saw or heard what I used to say about young children when I was younger, you would be shocked.  Despite that, I accused my sister of "twisting around the truth" and intentionally opposing me, and still wanted to go on that mission trip just because well-meaning individuals who lacked a complete grasp of my situation felt that I should go.  Looking back, I realize that my sister was absolutely right; me working with little kids always ends up badly, and my mom's "unfair" (my past, not current, feelings) restriction on it may actually have been divine intervention.  Was my sister trying to help me out, and I completely refused to accept it? In a word: YES!
It isn't just my sister, though; countless others, whom I know or have known, have done or said things with the best of intentions, yet I automatically assumed the worst.  True, some people have overstepped their boundaries; I mentioned before that a well-intentioned teacher at my high school tried to convince me that I should take a trip to a theme park, but it bordered on harassment when she refused to let it go.  Even so, I've always hated it when someone refuses an offer of help from someone else...yet, I've been doing the same thing for years, and didn't even realize it.
The second and third problems kind of tie in with each other: My memories of the past and my realization of my true age.  If you go through the post on this blog or even my Facebook notes, you'll find years-old stories recounted with such detail, it's as if they took place last week instead of around a decade ago.  Many adults, no matter their age, have select childhood memories--whether wonderful or traumatic--about which they can say, "I remember that like it was yesterday!"  With me, it's almost every memory, and I'm constantly reliving them, even in my dreams.  I've always been a bit of a "historian"; my mom has repeatedly told people about me asking her questions such as, "Why did you say, 'Go feed your sister's dogs,' at 10:05 AM on November 5, 1993?" By the time I asked, she didn't even remember saying it, let alone why she said it.  Now that I'm twenty-four years old, I have many more memories under my belt, and it's nearly impossible for me to do anything or go anywhere without being reminded of one or more of them.  Are some of them from entertainment? Yes; in fact, it's harder for me to forget that than real-life experience.  Still, no matter where they come from, they just won't leave my mind; in fact, immersing myself in music, books, movies, and/or television is really the only thing I can do to get my mind off of such memories.
As bad as that is, it gets even worse: The vast majority of those memories come from when I was in school; specifically, from the time I started kindergarten in 1993 to my high school graduation in 2006.  There's one big difference between now and then, though: I was still a kid at that time, and I'm a "young adult" now.  That wouldn't be a problem if those old memories weren't so fresh in my mind that they make me still feel like a kid.
Years ago, we had a family dog who was a basset hound/boxer mix, if you can imagine that.  We also had a cat, who we still do have, and they liked to play with each other.  I used to put the feline in with the canine to watch them play, but my mom said not to do that, because the dog thought he was still a little puppy, instead of the bigger, stockier dog he really was, and could hurt our cat.  I have a similar feeling; I have trouble understanding that I'm not a kid anymore.  People have been bothered by my behaviors that would have been perfectly acceptable...if only I'd been younger.  Of course, my disorder makes me behind in some ways for my age, but I still should be able to understand what's acceptable for someone my age and what isn't...yet, I can't, which completely stinks.
Another problem with the stories is that they just remain stories.  When I started my United States History class during my junior year of high school, it began by us learning about Christopher Columbus.  While the teacher was trying to teach us, the kids kept repeating the old third grade rhyme, "In 1492, Columbus sailed the ocean blue." Eventually, the teacher got so frustrated that he said, "Yeah, but some white guy sailing the ocean doesn't matter if you don't know what it means!"  It's true; knowledge without application is useless.  However, many times, I think about what happened years ago without realizing the implications of what was said and/or done.  Once in a while, I'll think of an old story and realize something I didn't the first 999 times I thought of it.  It's said that our experiences make us who we are; it's true with me as well, but only to a degree.
In conclusion, let me say this: In years past, I would see some item--usually at a yard sale--and just have to have it.  My mom would try and tell me that I should wait for something better, but I would still be insistent; it was sort of a "gimme, gimme" attitude.  I didn't realize what that looked like until I saw a coeval church member (who had some mental issues, mind you) loudly argue with his father over a probably unexciting vinyl record, which Daddy-O didn't want his son to have just because their record player wasn't working at the time.  It was hard for me to comprehend why he wanted it, until I realized I had done the same thing.  A similar incident happened at my local Borders store in late December 2006; my mom and I saw a young lady talking to herself loudly enough for everyone to hear.  (Before you ask, there was no cell phone or Bluetooth headset put to her ear; I checked.)  I had previously done that in public, and didn't realize how it looked to others; seeing it from an outsider's perspective made me resolve to at least whisper in public, and only talk to myself out loud in the privacy of my own home.  My point? Seeing others do the things that I do sometimes makes me realize that I shouldn't be doing them; it can feel completely different when you're doing it versus when you're seeing someone else do it.  Though I don't usually worry about what others think of me--after all, this blog is called "Siobhan Thinks Differently" for a reason--I sometimes wonder if my "different" behaviors are bothering others.  If they are, I should put a stop to them; however, who is seriously going to tell me, "You're annoying the heck out of me!", straight to my face?  That's why I need friends; someone has to instruct me on the way things really are.  Will you step up to the plate and be among them?

No comments: