Log in

No account? Create an account

Previous Entry | Next Entry

28 Up

[personal profile] tehomet picked 28 as the age I should chronicle in the Age Meme. It was a banner year in my life.

I lived
--The first half of the year, in a cockroach-ridden dump just off the Portland State University campus in downtown Portland. It was horrific.
--The second half of the year, at a boarding house on the Rue Alfred de Musset in Guéret, France.

I drove people crazy? There have been 20 years of my life during which I drove a car. This wasn't one of them.

I was in a relationship with I take it this means a primary or sexual-type relationship, so, the usual: nobody. There was this one French guy, though. Antoine. Taller than me, which was unusual. Lived in Paris. Took me dancing. One of my more picturesque memories: translating the lyrics of Cyndi Lauper's "Time After Time" into his ear. Damn. I really am getting old.

I feared Intimacy, apparently.

I worked
--The first half of the year as the dogsbody and general factotum for the University Honors Program at Portland State University.
--The second half of the year as an English teaching assistant at the Collège Martin Nadaud in Guéret.

I wanted to be Better. Stronger. Faster. Thinner. Prettier. Cooler. Almost anything other than what I was. I did not foresee that self-acceptance would take another 28 years. But it did. Children, don't let this happen to you. Except the slow dancing in a Paris nightclub part. Definitely let that happen to you.

If you want to play, tell me your age and I'll pick a year.

Crossposted from Dreamwidth, where there are comment count unavailable comments.


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
Apr. 24th, 2013 01:39 am (UTC)
I was all, EWW COCKROACHES GAHHH...ooooo, France!!

Apr. 24th, 2013 02:11 am (UTC)
So that's how honey-mustard vinaigrette feels being snorted out the nose!
Apr. 24th, 2013 02:15 am (UTC)
Oh my dear, *so* sorry--but at least it wasn't ranch! ;)
Apr. 24th, 2013 02:19 am (UTC)
LOL! Yeah, I know how sorry you are...

(There was blue cheese in there, though.)
Apr. 24th, 2013 02:28 am (UTC)
*clings to you*

*massages your nose*
Apr. 24th, 2013 07:49 pm (UTC)
That sounds like a fascinating year you had. Makes me all curious to know more, jsyk. (Since I'm just a stranger on the internet I'm gonna womanfully restrain myself from pestering you with questions.)

Coincidentally, I am 28 now and, except for the thinner part, this describes me pretty much to a T:
I wanted to be Better. Stronger. Faster. Thinner. Prettier. Cooler. Almost anything other than what I was. I did not foresee that self-acceptance would take another 28 years. But it did. Children, don't let this happen to you.

But how to prevent it? I've been working on it for a while, or at least trying to, via things like meditation and practicing gratefulness, but that Holy Grail of self-acceptance remains elusive. *sigh*
Apr. 24th, 2013 08:09 pm (UTC)
I'm almost positive that 28 years ago, if anyone had given me any advice about being happier, I'd have been unable to hear it. I had my beliefs about what would constitute happiness, and those beliefs were wrong. I'm pretty sure they were foisted on me externally.

I'd like to think that someone your age, with (arguably) less exposure to monolithic media messages, has a slightly more open path to self-acceptance. Certainly a much wider variety of images and stories are available. Concepts of what's "acceptable" seem very much broader.

You're welcome to "pester" with questions and comments--that's why I post publicly.

And I'd love to read your response to the meme! How about when you were 15? Fifteen is a weird little year...
May. 4th, 2013 12:09 pm (UTC)
Hi, so sorry I didn't reply sooner, but for some reason LJ failed to inform me about your response, so I didn't see it until now. WTF, LJ?! Which might mean you'll never read this comment neither, but just on the off-chance and since you asked, I'll go ahead and fill in that age meme. Fair warning though: Those'll likely be some really boring answers. My youth was far from exciting. But here we go anyway. At age 15...

I lived
- physically, with my parents and little brother in a flat in one of the Plattenbau settlements typical of East German cities.
- mentally, at Hogwarts and in other fictional places a good deal of the time. (Reading has been my escape from that pesky thing called reality for most of my life. Not a healthy coping mechanism, I know.)

I drove people away with my shy, awkward temperament. (I didn’t actually learn to drive a car and get my license until I was 25.)

I was in a relationship with our sweet Lord and saviour, Jesus Christ. No, just kidding, I’ve never had any nun-ish aspirations, but religion did play an important role in my life back then. In preparation for my confirmation, I spent a lot of time with my church’s youth group, attending services etc.

I feared
Dying from rabies. (Bad attack of hypochondria.) Failing math class. My own sexuality. Being ugly. My boobs growing into balloons. Never finding a boyfriend. Suffering another humiliatingly public fainting spell, for instance on stage at one of my high school choir's performances. (Luckily never happened.) Losing my two best friends. (Unfortunately did happen.) And many other things I can’t remember now, I'm sure.

I worked
Apart from schoolwork, I didn't. Growing up, my family didn't have a lot of money, but we weren't poor either and my needs were always met. (Though, looking back now, I really have to wonder how my parents managed that, what with my dad being unemployed for long stretches at a time and my mom's salary not being all that high.)

I wanted to be...
Umm, I'm pretty sure at 15 I didn't have the faintest idea about what I wanted to be, career-wise. I've never had any clear dream job and was quite directionless for a long time. All I really knew as a teenager was what I didn't want to do: work a mundane, pointless 9-to-5 office job serving the interests of some corporation. I recall having naive and very vague notions about doing something meaningful and helping to change the world for better in some way. Not sure what my 15-year-old self would've thought about the job I've actually ended up in (I'm a librarian), but I imagine it to be something along the lines of: Lame!
On a personal level: somebody else, much of the time. I wasn't exactly a happy teenager.

So, that's me. If you're snoozing at your screen now, remember: It's your own fault for asking, really. ;)
May. 5th, 2013 04:51 am (UTC)
This was fun and interesting. I had no idea that you're German--is that an incorrect assumption from the text here and your location in your profile? If you are, I'm deeply in awe of your language skills.

One of my regrets in life, small but rather bitter, is that Hogwarts didn't come along till I was over 40. I'd have been SO deep in Harry Potter fandom. I envy you that you had Hogwarts to imagine. (Me, Narnia was about it.)

Thank you for sharing so much of yourself here. I really enjoyed reading it.
May. 7th, 2013 05:18 pm (UTC)
No, that's right, I'm Teutonic, and have the terrible accent to prove it. But nevertheless, thanks, and right back at you re: foreign language skills. Living and working in France for half a year (or longer?) - now that's really impressive in my book. I studied French in highschool and while I enjoyed it, I also found it much harder than English. Sadly, I've lost most of it by now, after years of near-disuse.

Harry Potter was my initiation into the world of online fandom, though it took me a couple of years to discover that such a thing existed. And even then, I never actively participated in it. Well, I hardly do now.

I'm glad you enjoyed this a little. To be honest, it was ridiculously difficult for me to write and took an embarassing amount of time. Not so much because of the language barrier, but because trying to share something so personal, even if it is "only" in this anonymous forum, fills me with oodles of anxiety and self-doubt, making it almost impossible to think straight. So, thank you for providing a challenge!
May. 7th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
Two books in the last couple of years have changed my own feelings about privacy and "publicness". The first was Connected by James Fowler and Nicholas Christakis (which I've written about a couple of times) and Public Parts by Jeff Jarvis (I briefly reviewed it--and the author commented!).

Between them, they persuaded me that I'm part of something much larger than myself, and that not only is it okay to share personal information online, but that doing so is one of the very few ways I can make a difference in the world.

Whether it's safe...? Well, that's always going to be a very personal decision. Jarvis acknowledges that it doesn't feel safe, but that the benefits outweigh the risks, and I've found that to be true. When I stopped disguising personal details like my age, my weight problems, and my struggles with depression, my online life became richer. I was very afraid of being dismissed for all those things, but lo and behold, they connect me with people. Every now and then someone tells me that something I wrote was helpful to them.

None of this is to try to urge or persuade you into anything! Just to say, in a long-winded and hyperlinked way, that I do really value your response. If you were to post it on your own journal...well, that would cool!

(Final parenthetical thought: I did see "The Lives of Others" and I can only try to imagine the gulf between our two cultures when it comes to feelings about privacy.)
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )



Latest Month

December 2018


Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow