who was I?(as I digress from my search for who I am)

I enjoy re-living in the past

Dissecting my life as it was has always been more interesting than thinking about the future. What might be over the horizon concerned me only when it came into view. I’d worry about it when it got here. Until then everything would take care of itself. Besides, what could you do? Though I savor my successes or triumphs I also have regrets but I’m beyond wanting to go back to correct my(many) mistakes. That assumes that while doing so I could retain all my present knowledge and I’m not into creating alternate fantasy universes. But I am more than willing, overly eager if you will, to sit down with anyone who was there with me to figure out what we were thinking/doing at the time that specifically caused us(me) to end up here. What I have learned is most people are not willing to cooperate. They make very similar statements along the lines of “that was so long ago!”. For me it seems as if it was just like last week and I clearly recall all those other people being there also.

What’s so special then about this “past” of mine?

Nothing dramatic or spectacular really. I believe the development into whatever I am now can be viewed as a linear sequence of events. I see where I am now as a straight line from where I started. Sharp turns or detours haven’t occurred. The progression from infancy into childhood>adolescence>early adulthood are what (I believe) matters most in forming a person’s identity. I went thru all those phases while living in the stereotypical small town environment. The kids I knew starting in the first grade are the same group I graduated with 12 years later. That’s what happens when you have a single set of schools for everyone in a 10-15 mile radius. The same is true for the townspeople; I knew most everyone and they knew me (still do if they are alive though I haven’t lived there in 30 years). So if anyone can help me understand or fill in the pieces I might have missed at the time it’s that core group of people.

So what did I miss or think I missed that I need to know?

My life up until I turned 18 might be described as “sheltered”. No mental or physical abuse, no real drama, angst or open conflict of any type, living an ordinary middle class existence. However my parents were able to construct and maintain an impenetrable barrier around my sister and I to keep away anyone and anything they considered undesirable, unpleasant or otherwise detrimental to our well being as they saw it. I think I knew we were restricted compared to my peers but I can’t claim to have suffered at the time because of it. What saved it from being an oppressive situation was inside that circle of protection we were allowed free thought with full access to anything we could detect with our five senses. As a youngster(thanks to my parents), I was exposed to the wonders and joys of the library and encouraged to spend as much time there as I wanted. This allowed me to learn about the world that was hidden from me including every evil, vice, crime, fetish or bad behavior humanity was capable of without knowing anyone who actually engaged in those activities. This method was ultimately safer than living some of the scenarios first hand but it was the slow path to learning about the ways of the world. Maybe because of this early unlimited exposure and the time to develop on my own opinions, I think I’m far more open minded than my parents intended. I never felt them trying to drill their set of beliefs into us – most admonitions against wrong thinking or actions were delivered matter-of-factly, as if we knew not to question their word. And we didn’t or at least I didn’t until my 18th birthday. That’s when I really felt I got to know some of the people I’d grown up with for so long. Two years later(age 20 headed off for my Jr. year of college) I was gone.

(read my March 25, 2006 entry for additional juicier details)

Wanting to understand what was going on outside the barrier in the lives of others is the missing part I’m in search of.

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About Marcus

Who me? Introverted, neurotic, self-absorbed, increasingly cynical observer of human nature and part time social critic in hiding. Most of my life spent avoiding growing up. The naive idealistic passions of youth have evolved into the eclectic eccentricities of adulthood. Northeast Florida small-town native, related to people I can't relate to. Simultaneously my own best friend and worst enemy. Politically and spiritually unaffiliated, my personal ideologies put me all over the map or off it completely.
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4 Responses to who was I?(as I digress from my search for who I am)

  1. Our upbringing is incredibly similar, and your interest in exploring your past is eerily like mine. Honestly, I could have written at least 75% of this post, word for word.
    And I agree; not many people are interested in exploring it all in any great depth. It’s not that I have a desire to relive my past, I’ve never wanted to be anywhere (thinking linear in age) than where I am right NOW. But it seemed I had some issues that I absolutely didn’t understand, and what I really wanted were “witnesses” who experienced the same things, who were there with me, to mull and ponder it all with.
    I always thought my upbringing/family was normal and uneventful, but the reality is, I think we all experience aspects of dysfunction that contribute to our formation as individuals.
    Part of what seems to set me apart from many people in my life is that I THINK all the time. I am never not thinking, pondering, analyzing….I’ll bet you know the drill.
    Because of this, sometimes people are…..for lack of a better word….intimidated by me. I have thoughts, and I want to share them. I’m not obnoxious, but I’m very open. AND, I want to know everyone else’s thoughts on any given topic at any given time. I’m fascinated by people and their thoughts.
    Most anything I do, I do to my fullest ability. It’s not a perfectionist-type thing at all. It’s just that if I enjoy something, I want to enjoy it 100%. I know I have not been “blessed” with any special gifts or skills, so whatever I can do, ANYBODY can do. By the same token, aside from brain surgery, airplane flying or some such technically-challenging task, I tend to feel, “well, if SHE can do it, then I should certainly be able to figure that out..”
    Again, most people don’t feel this way. As an example, when we bought our house 12 years ago, there were many landscape beds, but only shrubs and bushes, no plants. A friend came over and walked the yard with me, naming all the shrubs. I didn’t grow up with any gardeners, had no experience whatsoever, and didn’t know the difference between an annual and a perennial. “Huh,” I thought. “If she can know all the names of these things, I can certainly learn about this…” and thus began what has become a true PASSION for me. I am an avid gardener. I have some books, I’ve done some reading, but mostly, it all comes from a desire to do what brings me joy. And now, family and friends seek refuge in our yard; strangers stop to comment all the time. I feel it’s nothing spectacular, but there’s definitely a “positive energy” exuded by our gardens. My point is, anyone could garden like I do, but few people are willing to put forth the effort it takes to nurture ANYTHING. I could repeat examples for my interest in cooking, my 30 year marriage, our relationships with our kids…. all I do is the best I can do, but apparently that’s more than many people are willing to give to anything.
    Whew. Sorry for the length; obviously you struck a chord that resonated…..

    • marcsuttle says:

      Over time I’ve come to view family as ‘non-functional’ instead of ‘dysfunctional’. Sort of ‘blah’. (but much of my extended family grand-parents, autnts, uncles, cousins, have their share of quirks)
      I’ve been criticized for thinking too much.
      Apart from how far in the past it occurred, the other main stated reason for others not willing to spend time going back is how focused they seem to be on their kids/grandkids now. (Sorry, I’m too involved in my kids’ soccer/softball/volleyball/band tournament to even think about scheduling anything else!) Once someone has kids, they cease to exist as an individual. (a subject I’ve posted about and one reader helped illuminate)
      Another reason might be I’ve tried to reach out to as many people I can find regardless if we shared anything socially with at the time. We didn’t really know each other THAT well, even after growing up “together” and may still view the various cliques/social groups as still in place. (i.e. “Why the heck is Marc calling me NOW out of the blue?”)

  2. Interesting. I was raised in a very lively, quirky family. Maybe even a bit on the dysfunctional side. I used to envy my friends that had a sense of stability and always vaguely felt creeped out by my lack of home-life normalcy as compared to others.
    I always thought that the world was a better place because of ‘sheltered’ people. Think about this: if the garden of eden is a metaphor, the human race didn’t run into any serious problems until they wanted to know about evil.

    • marcsuttle says:

      I’ve sat back and claimed to “understand” bad things/behavior based on the situation/background/social conditions of the participants but still to this day, when I encounter it in real life I’m usually shocked. Imagining it is one thing, living it quite another.

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