Perception is a funny thing.
Take two people and show them the same event. They’d both give you different versions of what happened. Coloured by background, past traumas, opinions, beliefs, they’d each notice certain things, gain certain knowledge and sure as hell would have two very different counts of events--right down to what someone was wearing.
I’m not sure where exactly I started thinking of this, although it’s funny as X recently started pushing me to focus more on perception for art. However, this isn’t about art. It’s more about life...
It seems that families are only brought together for two things: celebrations and tragedies. Or at least that’s how it is with my family. Unfortunately tragedy holds more weight and therefore it brings us closer together--much to my dismay. So I suppose it shouldn’t have shocked me to see that many more people attend this particular day than any other day but it did.
Now anyone who knows me, knows that I’m not the warmest or most affectionate person generally--let alone with my traditional family. I can be quite unforgiving and this has lead to a certain ... standoffish attitude when it comes to family. I won’t say that I don’t crave it--evidence from my small time with X’s family has attested to that, however I guess I’m a bit of a black sheep within my own clan and it has left me cold towards them.
This doesn’t change the fact that I’m constantly surprised by them.
I suppose every family has dirty little secrets or skeletons in the closet. However as a child you’re given a certain innocence card that no one wants to mess with. So you go through life--and family dinners pretty blind to facts until someone lifts the proverbial curtain.
Now once that innocence has slipped, you can’t regain it. I suppose some people may call it growing up but I can certainly say that it changes your attitude towards your family--for better or worse.
This was made even clearer after an offhanded comment by one family member about another was brought to my attention. After hearing it, my thoughts and attitude towards them were deeply coloured. I started picking up a different vibe from them and my actions were changed accordingly--although I doubt anyone noticed.
Sometimes being normally awkward and stand offish works.
It was after this event that I brought it up in casual conversation to be told “[they] were always like that” and I guess my childhood innocence manage to mask that and give me a certain ideal that I assumed families held up in one sense or another.
Unfortunately families aren’t the only things that get coloured.
Recently a certain ex of mine has gotten back in touch with me. Although the conversations are polite and short (perhaps why they’ve stayed on the polite side), I never really had much in way of a conversation with them lately.
Now for background, this ex and I did not have a good break up. We attempted to be friends but due to circumstance and no closure it was evident that this would not be constructive. Normally, two people would have seen this and realized that it was time to back off and go our separate ways.
We were not these people.
Being relatively kids at the time and both supposedly desperately in love with each other (or the idea), we stuck it out. It quickly devolved to the point where we’d have heated arguments and spent a lot of the time trying to hurt one another the best we could.
So you can imagine my surprise as to why this person would all of a sudden want to be friends again. They cared for me and wanted to be a part of my life in some way, shape or form. I suppose it isn’t -that- shocking as I’m awesome, but still--I had barely thought of them much since we stopped talking.
Today, as with many old friends we ended up talking about the past--having had some years to get out of the ‘heat of the moment’ it seemed like a relatively safe-ish topic.
However, what -did- surprise me was the way he remember our relationship.
When I think back on it I picture a war zone. I can feel the hot tears, the anger, the bitterness. The feelings of wanting to hurt this person as badly or even as half as badly as the betrayal I had felt by them leaving me. Any argument was an excuse to dredge up any and all reasons why they were a bad person. Any comment about other people brought on insane fits of jealousy. Any small detail of happiness was just another reason to be bitter and vindictive. Everything was fuel for this fire and hell, I was going to go out in style with one big ass bonfire.
I was like twenty and very naive and young. So sue me.
So, you can imagine my confusion when all this ex could talk about was the fact that while we had our (obvious) problems, it was one of the happiest times in his life. ‘A golden period’ I believe were his words. While in my head living with him had been hell and the reason I knew I wasn’t ready to be that committed with anyone for a VERY long time.
I guess that’s the thing about growing up... time does change your views on things. My perception of myself is very different than me of even two years ago. Even one year ago. I can already tell you that I desperately need to grow up more and that I don’t know everything. That there are going to be mistakes, that I can learn from my old ones. That maybe that guy -wasn’t- right for me, even if I believe(d) it then and maybe even now. That maybe those jeans don’t make me as fat as I thought. That maybe I’m going to be alright after all.
Sometimes that curtain reveals a disappointment.
Or perhaps you just need some time to really understand the true lesson behind it.