Thursday, October 30, 2008

Physiological Change II: Maturity

Maybe physiology isn't the right word for it, so much as 'maturity', but since the jury's out on what percentage of maturity comes from genes and what percent comes from the environment, I'll just call it what I want for now.

I was thinking about how slowly I grew up and how being way behind my peers in maturity caused certain kinds of change to be inconceivable. I mean, in high school - right up to my junior year, at least - I still thought it was perfectly acceptable to stalk a guy junior-high-style. Sitting at the park outside his house on weekends, having a picnic. Going to band early to creepily stand around, listening to him practice. Faking a photoshoot for art class just to have an excuse to take a picture of him. And, faced with him, straight out, asking me who I have a crush on? Lying. Lying right to his face, because the concept of telling a boy that I liked him, at the age of sixteen even, was flat-out unimaginable.

This was clearly behind the curve for my age group. Everyone else had already figured out the concept of subtlety, that always having an excuse to be near someone, no matter how valid or proveable the excuse may be, still suggests to that person that something weird is going on, because that person isn't an idiot.

Everyone else had also already figured out that crushes were not the be-all-end-all of life and that it was okay to air them out in the open - that it was a risk worth taking.

I had not figured this out. I didn't figure it out until college. And as much as I sat around in high school, writing emo entries in my diary 'whyyy doesn't anybody lovvvve me... what can i dooo about it... i've tried eeeverything...' I couldn't change then - couldn't dooo anything about it - because I couldn't see the source of the problem. I had no other viewpoint to compare myself to.

I mean, I was the girl whose application essay for admittance into fucking Reed College was about an experience I had watching people smoke pot and feeling like it was wrong and weird. Reed College! Pot was wrong and weird! It was really dramatic, too, like that Coke can bong had altered my life in an intractable way. I didn't know my audience, obviously.

It's like when I was too old to admit here and was listening to the song 'With a Little Help From My Friends', when the line 'I get high with a little help from my friends' came up. I asked my mom, "Do they mean... drugs?"

"Yeah," she said.

"Wait, the Beatles did drugs??" I gasped.

My mom had to leave the room to keep from openly laughing at me. I was a true graduate of D.A.R.E. I mean, it and all its misinformation totally worked on me. I actually couldn't distinguish between heroin and marijuana for awhile - I would mix it up and call them 'maroin' and 'herijuana'. That's what D.A.R.E. taught; all drugs are equally evil and terrible. And I didn't have the comparative capacity yet to learn to distinguish them myself. Not until I was seventeen.

A few times I tried to write short stories about crime, or life on the street, or abusive parents, even though I had roughly the same understanding of these topics as I did of drugs. I thought they were really deep and hard hitting, that I could write from any point of view I chose and understand everything about it. It took until college to realize that fallacy.

But I couldn't know that I needed to be more educated until I was actually more educated enough to know that. Or until my brain had grown enough to encompass that. Either way.


Becca said...

you made me laugh 3 times in that entry :)

Nor said...

me too, and i'm at work! it's a little weird to have to explain to my boss what's so funny..