Loc: settling in the USA again
as a kid, i wanted to be old enough to be on my own. i loved orphan stories and envied them. couldn't wait to get away from home because that's where lots of the abuse happened.
as a young adult i looked much younger than i was and wanted to look my age. it wasn't till i was nearly 30 that people thought i was old enough to be in a bar or buy booze.
now that i AM "older" i don't feel my age - i often feel more like i did as a teen or young adult. but then again, sometimes i feel about 100 years old. what i regret is not being able to start my healing process until so late in life.
i don't know where this is going - guess i'm just as messed up as you, Poorsoft - just in a different way.
"My experience has shown me that I all too often tend to deny that which lies behind, but as I still believe, that which is denied cannot be healed." Brennan Manning, "All is Grace - A Ragamuffin Memoir"
When I was young I wanted to get ollder so I could overcome the hopelessness of abuse. I was always looking older than I was. Also, I took on responsibility way beyond my age. At 14 I was tutoring in the projects (before I even knew what a project was. At 15 I was heading up more than 100 kids registering minorities to vote. We registered 4,000 people in Virginia during Mississippi Summer (twice as many as were registered in Mississippi).
At 16 I had my first federal grant, I was able to walk into an Alcohol Beverage Control facility and buy booze without being carded. I would leave my house at 6 am and get home at 10 pm at night for most of my high school. I was operating with little sense of having to be a child so I didn't a sense of loss of my childhood, I just thought I hadn't had a childhood. That was a method I had to not acknowledge I had loss. After all if I hadn't had a child hood, I couldn't have lost what I never had.
Now I am 64 and around 62b I finally got it that I had had loss. Now I am trying to greive my losses. (and to stop minimizing it and telling myself I was complicit in sexual and physical abuse.)
Mixed bag here, as everyone else has indicated. I wanted to be old enough to drive, get in to clubs, get the fuck out of an abusive home, etc., and it felt at the time like it took forever. Others' perceptions of me were different..."older" voice because I had the broadcast training, but younger look (STILL) because of genetics, my activity level and no snow/winter environment...and attitude. In a good way, I seem to have become stuck somewhere in my 30s. So, I'd have to answer yes, I looked forward to getting older in some ways as long as it didn't involve getting completely outta shape, wearing a suit and tie, perpetual griping or becoming overly serious.
And there's something to be said for NOT operating on hormones.
The big change has been my perception of time. Feels like it now goes too fast for my comfort. I'm also aware I'm considerably "younger" than many of my contemporaries. Haven't lost my sense of fun, irony, or bullshit detection. otoh, given my chronological age I've reluctantly concluded I won't be competing with the Cornhuskers Mens Gymnastics team - still funny to me, even months later - but I can deal on the same business level as the grownups. I'll admit my inclination to vomit when I see my contemporaries wearing lo-rise or skinny jeans - wtf? - or multiple piercings (even Morgan Freeman's ear ring bothers me).
When I was twelve or thirteen, the sexual abuse started and I sometimes wore charcoal beards. I wanted to be a bearded mountain man rather than the hairless mouse I was. If I was older and bigger, I figured I could say "no" with authority and "no" might actually happen.
I just turned 59 ... I can't believe it ... but I am 59.
As a child I lived in several different worlds ... each requiring a 'select me', ... believing early on that something was wrong with me very wrong and lost ... and that I would get older and understand.
I was moved around several times ... each time knowing that my new realty would be worse than the last. I wanted to be older so I could stop feeling like a piece of furniture ... one that didn't match anything else in the house, and was totally out of place everywhere else. As a teen I was trapped in a hopeless hell of bullying ... until I developed 2 trains of thought ... 2 mantras... "I will never be like them ... I will never hurt anyone on purpose" and "Hang on ... this will end ... this will be over ... you will get a chance to make a good life for yourself." Only time .... age ... can fix this.
Yes ... I was desperate to be older ... and when I was ... everything I had hoped for came true.
I lived a very good life until I was 36 ... and never really thought that much about getting older ... other than I wasn't going to go quietly. I nearly killed myself with solitary exercise ... way overdoing the gym, martial arts (defensive only), cycling, walking ... anything to keep myself 'looking' young, not just for vanity ... but to ensure I could continue to attract the sexual interest of other men. I kept myself very attractive ... and there were a LOT of men. That was my legacy ... the addiction my perps hooked me on. I was 'Me' and 'Him' ... me existed to serve him ... time didn't matter. I didn't think of age ... really ... I was just determined not to look my age.
At 50 it was obvious I was fighting a losing battle ... the fight against time. In the gay community when you reach 40 you get a one way pass to the Old Fags Home. I got a 10 year extension on 'life' ... at a huge cost but it worked ... I made myself not look old.
But ... life caught up to me ... I didn't feel old ... I didn't think old I didn't even want to be younger ... I just wanted to still be wanted ... 'like that'. I wasn't.
Now I don't want to be anything ... I just want to be left alone. I have nothing of value anymore. I'm old ...
And it's a HUGE relief. I don't have to maintain 'old' ... it's a natural progression ... I only have to live to get old. I don't want to get any older.
I spend a lot of time now reliving my life ... examining it ... dissecting it ... putting it in categories determined by my age at the time. Time is age.
I didn't remember my abuse ... not until I was 36 ... life before and after has been much different.
What I think about now is not about the abuse ... that's a done deal ... it has been since the very start. It's about the part it played in my life. Hindsight is not 20/20. I play a painful game of ... 'what if' ... 'if only' ... 'but if' ... 'why if' ... 'because if' ...
A child ... a teen ... a young man ... a mature man ... an old man ...
Time ... age ... hasn't helped.
I still don't know what the fuck happened to me.
Experience is a brutal teacher.
I am probably just echoing a lot of what others have already shared but this is kind of a tricky question. When I was a kid and a teen all I wanted was to be older. The very idea of being old enough to drive, or buy cigarettes, or vote, or buy alcohol, or be independent was so alluring to me. I thought that it must be so empowering to be able to do those things. When those times finally came, it was empowering at first, at least until the novelty of them wore off.
Now, at 38, I FEAR getting any older. It's seems like such a contradiction for me to want my youth back or to be able to hold on to that youth somehow, because my youth FUCKING SUCKED!!! I wouldn't relive my childhood for a million dollars. Nor my teen years, nor my young adulthood. Those were horrifyingly terrible times. Why then do I cling so tenaciously to youth and hate the prospect of getting any older so much? It doesn't really make any sense but it's not only the way I feel, it's a big part of who I am, how I live my life and how I interact with others. Not that anything I've ever done in my life has made any sense. Peace,
Longer answer: It's complicated. I would not want to go back and revisit any of my past except perhaps as a "fly on the wall" observer. I know there are a number of MS members older and younger than me. I like being in the middle. It's comfortable.
My childhood was happy, my teens---with one notable exception were good. College was great. My 20s sucked. I mean sucked. I had no idea what to do with my life--even with a degree and a job. I really didn't grow up until I hit 27. My 30s were great. All the maturity and youth...together in one decade. Hitting my late 30s...the CSA stuff along with the Sandusky crap all came forward. Just hitting 40 has been of philosophical interest. I can't speak beyond where I am now, but it like to slow down the clock a bit. Being in a hurry for anything is overrated.
Being in the middle is comfortable. The realization that I am higher on the demographic pyramid isn't always awe-inspiring. Sometimes it is a bit scary to look back, down...and up.
I think I need to do some of these awesome replies some justice and add a bit of weight to my original post and explain my view on the subject.
They say that children lve in the moment, they grow to learn to mourn and to fear or eagerly anticpate the future. I think the reason I don't remember so much from childhood aside from the obvious, was that I was never really living in the moment. I remember planning things, where I would be at what time and I became hyper attentive to the behaviour of everyone. Everyone in the house, friends, school and I remember knowing what it would mean if the door bell would go off at a certain time, what my brother was doing later that day just based on how hyper or how moody he was. I would be able to work out the movements of everything and everyone, constantly observing.
I always appeared to do this process with worry in mind though.
From about 10 onwards I would convince myself I was still young and I could still be classed as a child if someone was to do something to me. It became a strange obession, but one that lead to a paradoxal process of mourning the childhood I was living.
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