Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Screwed up is NORMAL

If you meet someone who appears completely well adjusted they are either repressed or false...  somewhere, in some way, we are all screwed up.  I used to think I was pretty well adjusted but the older, and more self aware, I have become the more I realize that I was just glossing over my eccentricities, phobias, and sensitivities.  I'm nearly a basket case if you really catalog my oddities!  But so is everyone else!

I am frightened of flying things -  can't handle them being too close to me - is this because of my brother's 47 budgerigars (parakeets) that used to fly free through our rumpus room?

I have some level of separation anxiety, ok quite a high level...  is this because my dad left when I was nearly 6?    I suffered horrific homesickness as a kid - Dad said it was because I was too close to my mother - but I had an overwhelming fear of something terrible happening when I wasn't there - maybe I was just an incurable sticky beak or maybe it was a control issue?

I'm thingy about my things.  Mum used to call me "Black Jed" and said "Nothing comes between Black Jed and what's hissun." -- I have no idea where she got that saying, although knowing mum I would say it was a line from some old movie.  I even googled it without result.  Interestingly I have spent the last 13 years getting rid of stuff - my possessions have been broken, stolen, lost, abandoned, withheld, auctioned, destroyed, sold, given away, and sued for...  I suspect short of blasting my possessions into orbit with a satellite or vapourizing them I have covered pretty much all potential aspects of dispersal.  I flew home from the states with 6 suitcases, drove to my new tropical home with a sedan full of stuff, and aside from a few things that are still stored somewhere at my brother's place, that's it.  Sometimes I just need to get used to things, like getting used to TLOML taking off in my car and calling it "our car". This, by the way, is fine with me, but I do know that I have an emotional response which I need to manage intellectually.  I hope that people can be forgiving of that moment of non-generosity that happens before I get my emotions under control.  It is just a touch of Gollumitis "mine mine my precious".  In other ways I am incredibly generous, for example with my time, labour and expertise...  I will help pretty much anyone to do pretty much anything with no expectation of repayment or return.  But stuff... stuff is an issue...  Actually I became quite philosophical about this after several years of repeated losses... for example just recently I bought my 6th cordless drill having had the other five taken from me in one way or another over the last ten years.  I have taken a zen approach in deciding that this is clearly part of my life lesson...  In the words of Deepak Chopra "Let it go".

I can't stop listing my problems without talking about crowds, queues, and social anxiety...  I can get quite close to a panic attack in a crowd or when trapped in a queue.  This has become worse since I have had FMS - I should say since FMS started to really impact on my existence because I think I have always had it probably - but now the panic to get out of the queue is exacerbated by the pain of standing and the desperate need to get off my feet.  I'm a very socially successful person, I can talk to pretty much anyone about anything and yet I am quite freaked out by strangers and groups of people.  One on one I am fine in a group I can't have my first few drinks fast enough to make these situations tolerable.

I'm not about to list other people's issues but I do know that no matter how smooth and unencumbered with complexes people appear they have got some areas of weirdness.  I think we are all twisted, it is part of the human condition, part of the wonderful diversity that makes us all individual!


  1. Oh, Displaced, you and I are so alike! No wonder we were friends when we were children!

    I too had the separation anxiety. My Dad left when I was two and boy was I ever clingy with Mum. I think there was a part of me that was terrified she'd leave too.

    Homesickness. Tick. I used to get miserable about getting on the ferry to go to school in the mornings. I'd be in tears some day. Knowing I was an hour away from home by public transport was the reason.

    Thingy about things. Tick. I still have a lot of my childhood stuff tucked in boxes at Mum's house (God only knows she has the storage for it). My heart goes out to you for the list of terrible things that have happened to your possessions. I know they're 'things' and not people but even so... we grow emotionally attached to our 'things'. Having been taught by my Mum to never borrow and never lend, I still feel a bit odd letting a friend borrow one of my possessions - after all whatever it is, I've worked hard to pay for it. I then feel a bit of remorse at feeling a bit odd. The curse of the self-sufficient and the outsider.

    Sociophobia? Tick. Like you the thought of crowds can freeze me. Smaller parties I'm okay with once I've met everyone.

    So what's 'normal'? People would meet you or I at a party and think us both perfectly sane at first meeting. We'd also be careful not to show our hidden depths. I think everyone must have those hidden depths, those fears, those intrinsic things that make them, them. "Normal" doesn't exist. Thank Herbert.

    1. Polonius said it "Neither a borrower nor a lender be"... yes I was taught that too and I was also taught to be frugal and careful with things that cost money but I do know that I'm not the most generous person in the world... I happen to live with someone who is incredibly generous... hopefully we balance each other out and I don't just look like a stingy cheapskate! Send your mum a g'day from me!

  2. Oh, Dear Displaced. I feel for you. And I completely agree- we all have our own little eccentricities.

    I am with you on the stuff issue. I know mine comes from everything I had as a kid was taken and broken by my brother and then never repaired, replaced, or respected either. So, as my husband likes to say I "stuff guard" (like food guarding for dogs). In my brain I can let it go and tell myself it's just stuff, but, like you, I feel I worked for it and with it being mine that should mean something. Even through years of losing, moving, replacing, and lending has depleted my wares and my hold on most of what remains- I still have this almost visceral impulse.

    My husband is working with me on this one. I've gotten to the point now where he can drive my new truck without me going completely twitchy. Although I do admit to still giving him admonishments to not park too close, and be careful. Which is hilarious because he's the most careful driver on earth!

    Ah, we are who we are. And, if we are lucky, we find others to accept our warts- as we accept theirs. So there we are at the end of the day: a mass of warts, happy with each other nonetheless.

    Hugs to you and your warts.