Some may say that this is a fairly big undertaking, please bare with me. I’ve had this theory for a while, and I’ve found some people who believe, and even agree with me. My theory is that there is no set definable construct that everyone can consider “reality.” Just as I firmly believe that there is no such thing as “
normal.” There are certain things that are different for every single one of us, and none of us experience the same situation the same way.
Even siblings, who have presumably the same upbringing, with a few differences, view and experience things in different ways. Every experience that’s ever happened to you makes up who you are and how you see, interpret, and therefore experience everything. That’s why it’s so hard for most people to be able to understand why anyone else would do the things that they do, it’s not a part of their reality; that in combination with a debilitating lack of empathy or even just sympathy. Worse yet, there are a surprising amount of people who don’t understand why being able to understand others points of view is an important skill, or even necessary.
This is a really horrible example, mostly because I myself am not quite sure how it even happened, but I was babysitting for this couple who went to go see A Beautiful Mind in theatres (yes, I’m old…ish). When they got back I asked them what it was about (If you’ve never seen it, this is absolutely NOT what it’s about). They told me that it was a true story about how a guy worked for the government and they tortured him and made everyone think that he was crazy so they wouldn’t believe him about what he was working on. Um…no. I’m not even sure how they walked away with that, at all. It’s the real life story of a man called John Nash Jr., a Nobel Laureate in Economics who has schizophrenia. So what actually happened in the movie is he had actually NOT worked for the government, and that people treating him were just doing a really poor job, at time time it’s all they had though, of treating him for his illness. So, in every situation there are apparently multiple ways it can be interpreted. (Like I said, that’s a bad example, because in this case they were so wrong I’m still trying to figure out if they were joking or not…).
In my reality that movie actually sort of saved and definitely changed my life. This guy is a super genius who *actually* sees and interacts with people who are legitimately NOT THERE. If he could find a way to deal with it and still live his life and manage, why couldn’t I? I just wanted to die. That’s not nearly bad as imagining entire parts of your life. I honestly can’t even imagine how terrifying that must be, for those that have moments of lucidity enough to realize that it never happened, anyways. That was the moment in my life that I realized *I* wasn’t the one who wanted to die, *I* didn’t want to hurt myself. That was the depression making me feel like I was thinking and feeling those things. I was able to create a detachment and get a better understanding of the difference between what I actually wanted and what I was being made to feel like I wanted.
That’s my reality. Being in a constant mind war with myself as to what’s actually me, and what’s the depression/anxiety/mania/etc. Sometimes I get sick of fighting and having complete control, you may recall when I bought my car about a month and a half ago…I only sometimes regret it, but I do love driving that car, so it’s mostly a win on that one! I’ve also let myself go almost a week without actually showering, I’m not sure that I actually got away with it, and it’s not an accomplishment, I just really didn’t feel like taking a shower or washing towels or clothes or changing my sheets, so I didn’t make myself. Even now, all I want to do is eat some cake (not pie) watch my Supernatural and stare at the ceiling till 4 am feeling nothing; but I’m making myself keep the schedule I set for myself and this blog. I am making myself accountable. Doubtful it’ll reach more than 5 people, but still, I’m getting my thoughts out and hopefully helping others have a little more insight into what it’s like to be not-them. Sometimes seeing things from other people’s points of view can help one discover things about themselves that they didn’t know and they can grow into muchier versions of themselves.
Another thing that makes me different is my upbringing; I’m even different than my sister when it comes to this because we (my mom and I) tried so hard to keep her away from it for so long that she never saw my dad the way we did; and even I see him differently than my mom (really I would hope so!). She’s only recently started to see and think of him the way I have for the better part of 20 years. For us it was
normal for a dad to not be home during the week and be drunk all weekend. My sister and I would be sent to bed after dinner and the stereo would blast the night away. (To this day, once I’m comfortable in a place, I can sleep through just about anything.) I know what it’s like to have to be able to sneak from room to room in my own house and pack go-bags for three people. When I was big enough, I would half carry my sister out of the house to the car and wait for my mom to be able to get away so that we could drive somewhere else in the middle of the night so we could be safe, because he wouldn’t and never wanted to follow us; he knew we’d be back. I remember being about 6 and telling a guidance counselor at school about what had happened one weekend, when we were late to school one Monday because we had to drive back home from out of town, like it was just another weekend. I wasn’t upset about it, I didn’t cry, I just told her point blank what had happened and what we had to do. She cried, and I didn’t know why, I asked her and she told me that children shouldn’t have to go through things like that. I was confused because, being in the developmental stage I was in at the time, I just assumed everyone knew and went through the same things.
Still to this day I’m still confused when people are surprised when I tell them about it. “A father should be someone you can trust, someone to look up to,” that’s what people say. In my reality, that’s just not the case. I used to hate him, so much so that I would fantasize about killing him. I even wrote about it for a prompt in 6th grade, (not sure how that escaped the school’s attention, but it was the 90’s…) the prompt was “If you were a killer bee, who would you kill and why?” I can’t recall exactly what I wrote, just that I would kill my dad. Might just be me now, but that’s not, or at least shouldn’t be,
normal. It’s my reality; not everyone’s I’ve come to understand. Some people have loving, respectable, healthy fathers; I don’t know what that’s like.
All of that being said, the only thing I would change about my life is making my mom get a divorce sooner than she did and saving us some of those years. Maybe certain other things wouldn’t have happened to make things the way they are today the way they are. (I’ll probably write about it later, but it has to do with a court case and my dad loosing a job because of his public record.) Everything that has happened to me has made me the formidable force I am today, and I’m grateful to be a self-sufficient, independent, albeit strong willed and stubborn, woman that I am today (You’ll rarely ever catch me calling myself a “woman,” there’s just something unsettling about the term for me. I’m not a fan…but nothing else really worked in this instance).
I got a little carried away with the life story stuff, but I hope I got my point across. Everyone experiences things differently and because of that there can be no measurable sense of reality, and the same goes for “
normal.” You may notice that I always cross it out and/or put it in quotations. I hate the word, it doesn’t have any real meaning, it’s all relative to people’s opinions, and is used to make people who aren’t like others feel ashamed of the fact. It’s absolute bullshit.
Everyone has their own reality that they live in. Only those of us who are fortunate to be able to see and understand that other’s have had different life experiences can fully appreciate the fact, and the strength it can take some people to let others have a glimpse into their reality and sometimes invite them in. To me this seems like the most simple concept, but there are others who (to be quite general and down-right rude) have such a limited way of thinking that they can only see the world as they know it and want to force everyone else to think and believe the same way they do.
Learn, love, and live in your own reality; love you awesome nerds!