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First Person Personal

My personal views on a variety of matters ranging from popular culture to quantum physics to religion to politics to history to bushido to ... well, whatever I feel like, really. Warning: we all have agendas. Trust no one totally, myself most specifically included. Email me at wbrerwolf at gmail.com

Saturday, March 19, 2005

To all the girls I've loved before - grade school

“To all the girls I've loved before
Who traveled in and out my door
I'm glad they came along
I dedicate this song
To all the girls I've loved before
To all the girls I once caressed
And may I say I've held the best
For helping me to grow
I owe a lot I know
To all the girls I've loved before.”

“FOR ALL THE GIRLS I’VE LOVED BEFORE” – Willie Nelson
Courtesy of http://www.seeklyrics.com


In some ways, I verge on the superhuman. I am extremely intelligent, well educated, widely read with a very powerful body, good reflexes and a talent for violence. That is to say, I am a superior individual.

However, I am substandard as a member of a social structure. I am often on a different page from everyone else. Whether or not my page is superior to their page is irrelevant: I fail badly at being part of a larger organization.

The most telling and most painful of my social failures involve my relations with the opposite sex, or, rather, my attempts at relationships with the opposite sex.

I will follow tradition by blaming as much of this on my parents as possible. Both of my parents were extremely solitary people, so solitary that I often consider it miraculous that they not only stayed together long enough to produce my sister and me but actually lived together for over forty years. As far as I can remember, our social life was non-existent except for visits to and from relatives. In addition, we lived in a fairly isolated area and there were very few children of my age within walking distance. Things did not improve when I entered school. As I have said before, I am extremely intelligent with a talent for violence. This quickly promoted me to the position of class bully. Further, my interests tend to be solitary: reading and writing. Thus, none of my interactions with other children was on anything approaching equality. I never learned how to interact with a peer group because I did not have a peer group.

This is where I can no longer blame my failures on my parents. The fault lies not in my parents but in my self. While physically brave, I am lacking in moral courage. I am very reluctant to this day to open myself up to another human being, a reluctance that approached abject terror in adolescence. I do not greatly fear pain or death. I am terrified of humiliation and disgrace.

Much of early sexual interaction involves the risk of humiliation and disgrace.

Thus, I was afraid to approach girls. Further, most girls did not interest me very much, or, it would be more fair to say that most girls interested me and repulsed me at the same time. There were very few girls around who interested me both sexually and personally.

I met L in first grade and from very early on we were both in the advanced classes, she with considerably better results than I achieved. By middle school, L was a gymnast and eventually became our class valedictorian. As far as I know, she is an English professor on the West Coast today. She was in many ways the perfect girl for me from my point of view.

And I could not bring myself to approach her.

Hormones might have eventually overcome my moral cowardice, but fate and my stupidity intervened.

I was twelve and wanted to impress girls, particularly L, without sticking my neck out. L was every bit as smart as me and considerably more socially sophisticated, so both brainwork and charm were out. Further, I was looking for an outlet for my aggressive impulses. So I fell back on a cliché: I tried out for the football team.

I have always been larger than most people my age and am fairly powerfully built. So instead of playing on the middle school team with other twelve and thirteen year olds, they put me with kids of my own size: the sixteen and seventeen year old high school football players. However, even though a twelve year old might be as large as a sixteen year old, he is not as strong and as solidly built as a boy four years older.

So I played with a group of young men while I was still a boy and broke my ankle: a compound fracture of my left ankle, both ends of the bones digging into the dirt of the playing field. I spent almost a year in the hospital getting my ankle rebuilt. When I broke my ankle, we were just at the edge of dating, when I got back, on crutches, everyone else was playing the dating game, a game I could not even get a rulebook for.

L was dating J, a guy who transferred into our school from another state. Not unsurprisingly, I detested him. I thought he was a conceited jerk who was not particularly intelligent or even very good-looking. However, he was very well dressed, had money, social skills and charm, all of which I lacked. Ultimately, they married only to divorce three or four years later.

My sister once commented to me that she considered herself fortunate to have an older brother because she felt that girls who did not were unduly impressed by guys simply because they were guys. L did not have a brother. I doubt that I would ever have married or even seriously become involved with L, since she had been exposed to my shortcomings as a human being ever since I was a particularly unpleasant five-year old. However, I feel that I failed both her and myself by not making the attempt to date her. My strengths and my weaknesses were not J’s strengths and weaknesses, and by failing to bring myself to her attention as a potential mate, I failed to provide a contrast to J, and thus denied her an opportunity to make better choices in her life. I also failed myself. I failed to do anything to build my courage, my ability to face my fears about dealing with my own emotional issues.

So, this was my social adolescence: a failure that I was at least able to recognize as a failure. It would be many years before I could begin to apply the lessons which that failure taught me.

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