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#442312 - 07/27/13 03:35 AM no one stole my dreams because I never had any.
Jacob S Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 592
(this got long and I don't expect everyone to read it -- I really don't. I know some days I'm not up for reading the long posts so I'm honestly ok if you need to skip this. It would mean a lot to me though if at least one person read it. These are things I'd like someone to know).


I was watching a show about a teen girl who had to give up her dream of going to the Olympics because of neurological damage in her hand. It made me realize how different my teen years were. Any dream like the Olympics, or any kind of prolonged training, would have been seen as selfish, and expecting anyone to spend the time and resources on me to help me develop any skill or talent would have been treated as the ultimate betrayal to my duties to the family.

This was still true long after the CSA ended. Like so many things, it dovetails into the CSA because my whole life I was taught to believe that the more of an empty shell I was, the better I could receive other people's pain and emotional needs. So the CSA was just one more thing to not even think about. Having any feelings at all is selfish.

My mother never showed any interest in me sticking with things. In fact, she'd berate me for not doing more activities but she'd also seem relieved when I quit because that was less work for her. When I was very little, I started tee-ball and then quit. A little older, I started soccer and then quit. In seventh grade, I started football and then quit. (In all three of those cases, there was a fair amount of bullying because my athletic skill was always sub-par. It didn't even occur to me that the other kids had parents who were practicing with them, I just thought I was naturally awful. In each case, I told my mom I wanted to quit and she said fine without even asking me why. With tee-ball I would have been 7 at the very oldest. Who lets their 7 year old quit the first time he asks and doesn't even ask why?) I did debate in junior high but quit once I entered high school and it got serious. There just wasn't a lot of motivation in me because I was never doing any of these things with a sense of what I truly wanted but rather just what was it that a "good" kid would do?

So by ninth grade, the only thing I had was writing. I did love to write, but even that was tainted. I remember my mother at one point telling me that if I didn't write something every single day, I wasn't really serious about it. At another point she told me writing anything that other people wouldn't pay to read was a waste of time. So even my writing became about making an impact on other people instead of it being for me. But I would still do it.

A typical ninth grade day for me: I'd get up and throw on some clothes. Most days I wouldn't shower or have breakfast. I'd make it to homeroom and try to imagine myself somewhere else, because the verbal bullying would start immediately. It started with only a couple of kids whispering to me about why I was so gross, but the whole room soon picked up on the fact that the teacher could hear them and did not care. So before the year was half over, the entire 15 minutes of homeroom became a little daily torture session of kids trying to top each other in what kind of disgusting nasty things they could say about me. There was one kid who was the clear leader and most did nothing but laugh, but it was really those kids who hurt the worst. Its one thing when you can identify someone as a jerk and villain. Its another thing when the kids you can tell aren't all that evil sit back and don't do anything. Its make you feel like you aren't worth saving.

P.E. was miserable. I was bullied pretty routinely by a completely different set of kids, big black dudes who saw the gym as their domain. We did a lot of team sports. When I was on the opposite team, it wasn't that big a deal. I'd like to say I stayed out of their way, but actually I got in their way on purpose. I didn't mind the physical pain of getting knocked down and there wasn't a lot they could say. I've always been able to be brave when it came to physical pain, mostly because I've always felt that the worst that could happen would be death and that didn't seem all that bad. It was when teams were reshuffled and I was on the same team as them that things got truly miserable. Nothing I could do was good enough and they constantly let me know it. Volleyball especially was incredibly stressful. There was no where to hide, no way to let someone else take the shot. I hated to let anyone down, even those jerks. It was just another piece of evidence of how worthless I was, and they let me know it.

The rest of the school day would be spent writing and pretty much ignoring the teachers. I was a smart kid so in every class except Spanish I could pull off C's without paying more than a minimal amount of attention. For me, Spanish class became "Self-Directed Study in Methods of Cheating 101." I'd make a point of arriving late on test days, so as I walked to my seat at the back of the room I could take a quick survey and get a pretty good amount of the answers. A "false alarm" (where I would act like I was done but change my mind just before handing in my paper) gave me two more passes to glean the rest of the answers. So that took care of the written grades. The oral portion I'm pretty sure I completely flunked. I have no memory of that. Even though I can speak to a group if I focus on the larger concept of what I want to say, focusing on syllable-by-syllable pronunciation has always triggered panic attacks in me. I have a speech impediment and had speech therapy for a while somewhere around 4th grade and throughout my whole childhood I was always mocked for how I said things (After 9th grade I switched to a school where I could take ancient greek with no oral portion). Sometimes I wonder if there is more to it than that, because to this day being ridiculed for the way I say things is incredibly and horrifyingly triggering for me.
I can't even think about that too much. Its so stupid but very real (Ok, calm down . . . time for some lateral eye movements . . .)

Lets move on. The summer after freshman year, I went on a missions trip to Albania. An older teen girl and her brother had kind of taken me under their wing and they were going, so I decided I'd rather go with them than spend the summer with my family. Again, I was only able to get up the motivation to do it because it was a missions trip (for other people). I wouldn't have even considered it if I had perceived it as being something for me.

That time in Albania was an intense summer. Spending two months away from my family did me a lot of good in recognizing the dysfunctions of their life. Looking back I'm not sure I would call the trip a "healthy" experience. In many ways it was like an overseas version of what they showed in the documentary "Jesus Camp." It was very much about emptying yourself of your own ambition and listening to God. Which I suppose could be very helpful to a normal self-obsessed teen who needs perspective. For me, who already hated myself and felt worthless, it was just more confirmation that learning to know the real me would be a bad idea.

But it did give me something else to focus on: God. So after I got back, I switched to a Christian school and kind of reinvented myself as a super religious nerd. I still had a hard time motivating myself to be hygenic, but I usually managed it because I now saw myself as doing it for God. Or rather, doing it so I could be the best possible witness for God. Don't get me wrong, I wasn't a fraud. I wanted to be authentic. But I think I defined authenticity as being consistent in my behavior all the time -- not in connecting my external expression of self with what was inside me.

My motivation to serve God, unfortunately, also made me feel even more guilty than ever whenever I spent any time doing something that wasn't "service." So I would try to fill up every spare minute with service clubs or bible study or even just really off the wall projects.

My mother, being bipolar, would be more than willing to spend an entire night or two helping me with a project, like when I was a sophomore in high school and I had the crazy idea of starting my own christian sports newspaper and we went to kinkos in the middle of the night because our printer wasn't working. But any idea that lasted more than a few days wasn't just frowned on -- it was a moral crime, a sign of how selfish I was. I thought I knew what I wanted to be. I thought I wanted to be a pastor. But looking back at that now, that "dream" was built up around trying not to be a bother to anyone. There were no weekly practices to be driven to. My younger brother (only one year younger, mildly autistic) was on the soccer team and I wanted to be on it too, but I didn't join because I didn't want to crowd him. There was always some reason why I would just have been a bother. And I can't say that was all my parents fault. I didn't want to go to anything like boy scouts or athletics -- anything that was going to be a large group of boys and men. Freaked me out. I actually had no problem speaking in front of groups, as long as that group was made up of mostly women or that in some way the guys were "passive" -- like in church or chapel (I went to a christian school where we had mandatory chapel). In religious settings, my male peers were so bored and turned-off, it was actually the only place I felt comfortable being around them.

But the whole future-pastor interest wasn't really my "thing." I did it because it was safe and because it didn't require a lot from my family. It kind of backfired, because my mother would use it as a guilt trip whenever I was exhausted and she wanted something done. But I didn't see that as backfiring -- I saw that as me deserving it. I wanted to spend my life helping people because I was such an awful worthless creature that a life of service was the only way to "break even" in my debt for taking up space and resources. The idea of going after something I loved because I truly loved it was not a thought I ever had, nor would I have been encouraged to have it.

And even though I'm a lot better now at enjoying life day to day, sometimes dreams are still beyond me.
_________________________
Like a spent gladiator
crawling in the colosseum dust
who can count on his remaining limbs
all the people he can trust.
Like the one who stands behind him
cheering him on
Estatic when he stands defiant,
wild with abandon when he's gone

just stay alive.
do whatever you need to.
you are worth it.

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#442314 - 07/27/13 03:59 AM Re: no one stole my dreams because I never had any. [Re: Jacob S]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3086
Loc: O Kanada
this is how i accomplished my "dreams"...

step 1: start with the vision of the end product.
step 2: make the personal private commitment to achieve the goal and make a public statement.
step 3: create a budget and a schedule with a dead line.
step 4: ignore all the naysayers and negative influences that try to stand in my way, or hold me back.

do it for you.
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#442317 - 07/27/13 04:22 AM Re: no one stole my dreams because I never had any. [Re: Jacob S]
Jacob S Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 592
I appreciate that. I have no long term vision. I do have little things I look forward too. Right now its still about believing I'm worthy of having dreams.
_________________________
Like a spent gladiator
crawling in the colosseum dust
who can count on his remaining limbs
all the people he can trust.
Like the one who stands behind him
cheering him on
Estatic when he stands defiant,
wild with abandon when he's gone

just stay alive.
do whatever you need to.
you are worth it.

Top
#442332 - 07/27/13 09:37 AM Re: no one stole my dreams because I never had any. [Re: Jacob S]
BraveFalcon Offline
Greeter
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 02/25/13
Posts: 1092
Loc: The ATL

Hi Jacob. Wow, it's amazing how much I can identify with a lot of what you have written here. Especially the bits about quitting everything and being bullied. I've been a quitter all my life as well, although perhaps for different reasons. For me it has always been more a sense of getting frustrated with things immediately when I can not do them well. Whenever I looked around and saw that others were better than me at something, I figured that meant I was no good at all and never could be, so I fucking quit. This was true for sports, music and anything even remotely competitive. That's probably why I'm not good at anything.

I'm sorry you feel like you never had any dreams. I guess I can identify with that to, although again, for different reasons. I had dreams myself but never realistic ones. When I was little, my dream was to be a astronaut. When I was a teenager, my dream was to be a rock star. (Although I didn't practice the guitar that much because I couldn't get good at it fast enough and others were better at it than me, so, I got frustrated and quit.)

I just said to someone else in a PM that I really appreciate threads that help me get to know my fellow MSers better and this is definitely one of those threads. Thanks for posting it. I hope it helped to get some of this off of your chest. Take care. Peace,

Ken

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#442375 - 07/27/13 06:08 PM Re: no one stole my dreams because I never had any. [Re: Jacob S]
ThisMan Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/22/13
Posts: 767
Loc: upper south
Hi, Jacob. I wanted you to know I read your post. Completely. I can relate to a lot of the bullying from the guys during the teen years myself, and hating p.e., lord was that ever a disaster for me as well. But the great thing about the high school years is that we made it through.

I find it sad that you have a hard time developing a dream. In my younger days, I was like you in that everything I did, I did for the purpose of taking care of someone else.

How do you develop a dream? We can do it the formalized way but a dream is not a project. A dream becomes a way of life. Sometimes I sit with pencil and paper and write down just a few things I want to do or achieve. Sometimes I just daydream of things I wish to experience. Thats how my art shows came into being. I dreamed, and then I just made it happen.

Dreams change as life changes. Always fluid, always in motion. Have a dream for tomorrow. Or for next month. Or for life. Just for you. Be willing to swing with alterations and situations, but just dream.

A dream is nothing more than a vision. And a vision is necessary to feel what is in you and around you. You can do it. DREAM.... and let us know what dreams you develop for yourself.


Edited by ThisMan (07/27/13 06:10 PM)
Edit Reason: too much info
_________________________
For now we see through a glass, darkly.



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#442392 - 07/27/13 09:50 PM ! [Re: Jacob S]
Smalltown80sBoy Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 03/25/12
Posts: 2217
!


Edited by Smalltown80sBoy (02/28/14 09:07 PM)

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#442398 - 07/27/13 10:23 PM Re: no one stole my dreams because I never had any. [Re: Smalltown80sBoy]
victor-victim Offline


Registered: 09/27/03
Posts: 3086
Loc: O Kanada
you are already living your dream.
you can make it into whatever you like.
in german language... "mach" = make and "macht" = power.
to make is to use your power to create.
your imagination is infinite and fertile.
it is your dream.
it is within you.
wake up to it.
it is yours.
claim it.
live it.

Originally Posted By: Smalltown80sBoy
One of my dreams is that you will find a dream.

i feel the same.
_________________________
Victor|Victim

War
Love
Poetry

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#442592 - 07/30/13 05:33 AM Re: no one stole my dreams because I never had any. [Re: Jacob S]
Jacob S Offline
Member
MaleSurvivor

Registered: 01/01/13
Posts: 592
thanks guys.
_________________________
Like a spent gladiator
crawling in the colosseum dust
who can count on his remaining limbs
all the people he can trust.
Like the one who stands behind him
cheering him on
Estatic when he stands defiant,
wild with abandon when he's gone

just stay alive.
do whatever you need to.
you are worth it.

Top
#442684 - 07/30/13 09:35 PM Re: no one stole my dreams because I never had any. [Re: Jacob S]
Human Offline


Registered: 03/14/12
Posts: 62
Loc: private
I read it, twice!! (no lie)

We all sound so similar, hmmm...

I have dreams and I've accomplished quite a few of them. Recently I re-injured my lower back and spent a month in the hospital (almost fricking died, whoa...) and now I'm faced with possibly completely re-inventing my entire life and surviving, not just emotionally but financially (not easy when I can barely type due to back pain in the hopefully healing stage, arg!!)

My mother and father (divorced of course) can and will help, but it won't be easy at our ages and especially after I barraged them with a kajillion questions and answers just before I re-injured my back (lousy timing, omfg!)

I have a dream for an art project and need help writing letters and such...perhaps you'd be interested in helping if I pursue this dream/project. I'd rather ask for help HERE than bother parents who're older and going to be taxed as it is with helping me (and show much of the traits you described your mother as having) so I'll friend you and if it comes down to it, maybe you'd be able to help me out with the writing of the letters part.

Thanks man...life is short and life is also long, Human wink



Edited by Human (07/30/13 09:41 PM)
Edit Reason: edited to second what Smalltown80's boy said/quoted.

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