When I was in high school, I believe I was less than 0. My own harsh view of myself. I was not tough or cool. Never a good student. I tried to be an escape artist with drugs and alcohol. A shame of my life. A rebellion too against a very harsh father. Looking back over the years the only “friends” I had at that time were people that used me for drugs and alcohol and maybe I used them as well. “FRIENDS”? No. We got HIGH together I think. I recall some kind people but do not remember their names. 1 girl/woman wanted me to read my poems to a group and join the group but I was too shy. I wish I could remember her name.
But does it matter?
In May 2017 I thought there was a chance I could die. I reached out to 3 FRIENDS I had when I was a boy. We played, fought and were together. None of them replied to me on Facebook. Yes the people we WERE no longer exist or do so only as biased fragments of memory different in each person’s mind. I felt hurt but it was a reality check for me. Who matters who does not.
Those in the past do not matter because they were in the past. That word, “past” has complex meanings. Behind us in time. A memory. We go PAST something and it is behind us.
I should have learned that long ago. In some ways a slow learner. I have clung to the memory soaked rags of my past inside me. They are rags and fortunately whole garments I wear in the present.
In the USA there is a popular site called, CLASSMATES. You can find the schools you went to and join a list of your former classmates. See how they are. Reach out to them. I joined it for a few years then realized I had no good memories of those years. It was amusing to me that a girl that had once bullied me took a look at my profile. I did not bother with her because she was unsightly THEN and perhaps that is why she was so cruel to me in band class. I was not a fighter. I was passive. An emotional punching bag because that is how it seems I was raised. I realized that all those people in my high school class of 1973 were just NAMES. I still felt some bitterness toward some of them and have had to laugh about it. That was THEN. 45 years ago. Or close to it. You leave high school as a vaguely formed thing and then life and you form yourself. I realized I had no connection with anyone from that class and this past week BEGGED the owners of the site to remove my name. I never went to a high school reunion because for 45 or 44 years I carried the SHAME of what and who I was back then. The stupid self destructive things I did. The thievery against my family for drugs. Over the years I came clean to THEM and went clean. It is reason I am vehemently anti-drug and alcohol these days: Because of what I did to myself!
It took me a long time to realize that … as I sit here and look around in the dark of my home only lit by this computer monitor that… THIS IS IT.
This is all there IS.
Not the memories I carry.
Not the ghost voices I sometimes hear FROM my past.
The blizzard of electronic whitish noise in my head from tinnitus is what there is now.
There have been times I felt resentment toward those I once knew for not reaching out to me or accepting my out-reached hand. I have turned it around and asked myself: “How many people have you been there FOR in all these years? If someone had reached out would you have been there for them?”
At times I wonder, with my diminishing memory and memories if those memories as reality ever occurred. A few years ago I joined a facebook group of my old high school. I think I wanted to show and prove I had changed and was not that stoned drunk ass I was. I was … different. It was silly because I realized the cliques still remained but it was people that had changed as I had and were strangers to each other holding onto the past. A 3 year period of their lives that only had as much meaning as they gave it.
As I gave and give it then realized… it only mattered as much as I thought it did.
It does not matter…
I went to school for some years and got a High School diploma. BARELY but I did. Others did not. THAT is what matters. I got the paper.
What matters is that I went from severe depression, years of severe anxiety to… less of that NOW.
Before my mother died, I told her of my quitting drugs and alcohol and never going back. It was a phone call but I felt her smile as she said, “Scott, you’ve finally grown-up”.
That is what matters, remembering her say that. Better than any diploma. An affirmation confirmation that I had made the great changes and moved on from THAT person I loathed so long ago.