Trouble Relating

My son (age 5) being silly. He has ‘finger foots’.

I was ‘born old’. Even my own mother marvels at how non childlike I was as a child. She actually has a Polaroid framed of me acting up. I asked her why. It was a silly picture where I have one hand on my hip and one behind my head in a deliberately exaggerated ‘I’m sexy’ pose. She told me because it was so rare that I goofed off like that much less capturing it. I couldn’t have been more than 15 in the picture.

I was one of those annoying kids who knew far too much for their age and worse yet could apply it to real life; complete with giving real life examples. Hell I had adults come to me for advise more times than I can count. I used to joke that I was a ‘walking confessional’ because of the amount of strangers that have confessed their sins to me. Knowing those sins is the main reason I didn’t go into the mental health field. I knew too much too young.

So I guess it’s no wonder that I have trouble identifying with the characters in popular fiction nowadays.

For someone who could read and write fluently by two, and who was pulling Shakespeare and Poe off the shelves of the base library at six, I guess it’s not too surprising that I don’t understand characters who don’t think before they act.

I’ll sit there and read something off of a best sellers list marveling at the stupidity of the characters. I honestly won’t understand why they thought it was a good idea to sleep with a stranger and then have the audacity to wonder that they woke up robbed; or beaten or abandoned, etc depending on the book. I’ll wonder why the hell no one in their lives does an intervention when a character is doing drugs or locks themselves in a room for weeks over a break up. Does the character’s family and friends care so little? Do they honestly identify themselves not by themselves but by who they’re dating?

There’s no joy in reading a book where you’re yelling at the characters to ‘fucking think’ before they act or are disgusted by their behavior. I find myself wondering; do people truly act like this in real life? Sadly I find myself answering yes. I certainly don’t have the patience to deal with them but they’re out there.

Are there enough to justify these sorts of books becoming a best seller on any list? That’s a scary thought.

I never had an interest in partying so I can’t identify with characters who lives seem to revolve around it. I’ve never been drunk and never desire to be. Why would I wish to give up control and most likely do something stupid or potentially damaging to my life? I literally can’t imagine sleeping around; often those characters have no other reason other than because their life is so meaningless to themselves that they think sex is the begin all and end all. I never was interested in drugs; life is hard enough without adding that hardship willingly.

I’ve seen these things destroy lives.

The divorces because one or more were cheating; too numerous to count in a military community.

The threesomes that become twosomes leaving out the couple ending in a failed relationship and hard feelings. If you feel the need to add a third party to the mix you might as well just end the relationship; something isn’t there that should be.

The drugs and booze that end in poor decisions and ruined lives. ‘I told you so’ looses its luster when your friend is being threatened to go back to rehab at only 18 or when she fishes a beer bottle out of a gutter hoping for just a swig.

Your classmate having a child at 16 because she had sex once. She lost her virginity and became pregnant all at the same time. I was one of the few who still spoke to her afterwards.

A coworker who broke down in tears when I told her I was pregnant. Her parents pressured her into an abortion when she was 15, it left her barren with postpartum depression.

Their mistakes don’t bother me as much as peoples unwillingness to learn from them. Mistakes are meant to be learned from; yours and others. The glorifying of these mistakes confuses and sickens me. If you’re going to write about a druggy write about what went wrong and why, don’t write about what an awesome ride it was. I’m sure my uncle who died homeless wouldn’t tell you what a great time it was to do drugs. He would regale you with cold nights and the aches of withdrawal.

As I flip though the latest best seller I wonder; has society always been this bad? My grandmother would tell you no. A survivor of the Great Depression and WWII she would tell it was more moral.

Have we lost our morality? Or have we lost our censorship of it?

In a place where life damaging activities are praised is a wonder that world burns around us?

 

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About Marcia Young

I’m the wife of an active duty Army NCO and the mother of one, home schooled, special needs child. I have won several people’s choice awards for my fanfiction under the moniker MLMonty. All of my current published works can be found via Smashwords and other retailers under my nom de plume Marcia Young. I am currently open to finding a new literary agent and publisher.
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2 Responses to Trouble Relating

  1. rowdyjaner says:

    Oh, Marcia. Drugs have been with humans through the millennium. And people have misused drugs for as long. You’ve read history, the thread of drug use is there.

    People, when they hurt, become weak. If they have low self-esteem they are more inclined to look for something outside themselves to correct that. A couple of shots of booze and they think they’ve become brilliant, hilarious, brave! And let’s take into consideration the fact that the frontal cortex of the brain does not finish forming, on average, until a person reaches 21. Therefore, you have a lot of adolescents running around with poor impulse control. Or, as my brother states, brain damaged.

    Unfortunately, even after their brains are fully developed, some people simply do stupid things. And we have much more leisure time in the modern world to devote to stupidity, which includes drinking, drugs and things like performing jackass stunts.

    Writers have been told to write about what they know… That’s the only reason I can come up with them writing about people making bad choices and doing stupid things.

    And, no, you would not understand any of this because you have not been there. Honest-to-God, I truly believed that God saw to it you were born with your brain fully formed, impulse control and all. I mean, I’m 60-years-old and I view you as a contemporary! And over the years that I’ve known you, albeit online only, I have come to realize that you exhibit more than a few characteristics that I have come to associate with genius. One of those characteristics is your lack of tolerance for fools. It’s not that you don’t tolerate them gladly, you don’t tolerate them at all! This is neither good nor bad, right nor wrong, it just is and is part of what makes you… you!

    So no, I am not surprised that you feel such disgust for the characters in best sellers. I’m just relieved that you haven’t burned the book.

  2. marciayoung says:

    Of course drug use has been around forever. I just don’t understand it. I’ve been through some horrendously bad times but it just never made sense. I’ve battled depression and been prone to violence. I learned to control both through sheer willpower and support of my family.

    I can no more understand the desire to sleep around then bitch when you get an STD than a dog can understand physics. I can no more understand why you’d do drugs knowing it’ll make things worse later than you can teach a cat to fly.

    I just can’t. It’s probably a personality flaw but I can’t understand it.

    I once described it like this to my son’s therapist after he used a tunnel analogy to explain a child’s lack of impulse control: Children view the world through a tunnel; they don’t see the consequences of their actions. I see the world as consequences.

    The problem with that is that it can inhibit your choices and even make you afraid of them. What’s not inhibiting when you can see years of consequences simply by contemplating one choice? I’ve met a few others with the same… condition?

    Ah, well, I guess it’ll just make me limited in my reading material.

    As for burning the books; God forbid I’d burn a book!

    I do what I tell people to do with my books if they don’t like them; I re-gift them to people I don’t like. 😉

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