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different, not less

July 12, 2011

this morning, i found a book at barnes & noble booksellers called please stop laughing at me. 

my mother's talked upon occasion about writing a book with me about my experiences. we'd take turns, each writing a chapter of our perspectives of a certain period or event.

the trouble is, i don't remember my childhood well enough to write about it.

i remember feelings. i remember them better when i see people from my past. i know that i had little interest in life. but if you were to ask me to describe a day to you in detail, i couldn't do it. i've blocked a lot of it, i think.

i get flashes. solitary walks. playing games by myself. torment. flashes. and that's enough for me. i don't want to remember much else.

the author of this book, though, she'd remembered her childhood well enough to write about it. when i'd first started skimming it, i'd thought, thank god my life wasn't this bad. thank god i'd never been invited to parties so i'd never had to call my mother to come get me because it was so horrible.

but of course, then i remembered one from fifth grade. i didn't call my mother. i just left. walked home.

i was never physically attacked. thank god. my peers never thought enough of me to beat on me.

not with their hands. they used words instead. and my subconscious has a great book filled with them.

i was never in the position where i had to choose between two friends because one couldn't handle my  liking the other.

oh, but my friends, the few i had ... they were. and they chose the others over me.

i put the book away. didn't want to read it. couldn't.

i don't want to remember anymore than i do.

and i went on about my day.

at dinner, my father found a story about a woman named temple grandin.

this would be one of those few instances where he succeeded in choosing good cinema.

temple is autistic. and she is treated horribly by her peers because of it. treated by her peers as though she is less because of it. she is moved from one school to another to another until her mother meets a teacher who is marveled by temple's mind. the teacher encourages ms. grandin to enroll her daughter. she finds an ally. she finds a future.

there is so much about this movie, about this story that astounds. claire danes is incredible. julia ormond, catherine o'hara and david strathairn are amazing. it's a really, really good story. it won emmys and golden globes and a whole bunch of other things.

this woman, she's pretty nifty.

and i wish i'd had a tenth of her courage and tenacity.

3 comments :

  1. There are some stories, some books I just cannot read. I remember though - my brother says I just make it up - but I really remember huge moments, mornings, afternoons. And I remember kids being mean because I looked like Buggs Bunny - and they teased me meanly - so I would stick my head in a book so I couldn't see them. I didn't have awesome friends until about 7th grade - and they were awesome - they were blessings from God!

    Your post, so poignant, sparse - touched my heart!

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  2. Well said.
    I think we all harbor demons from our younger years--some small, some enormous. The key is to move past them and become who God intends, not who they labeled.
    Good luck.

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  3. I've blocked a lot of stuff and pray no one else remembers! It's amazing how all the details can be forgotten while a scent, a feeling, or an impression can remain, and in a strong way! Nice post!

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