Taking It Back

3/24/15 4:30 PM , , 0 Comments

   So, it's been a while since I have made a substantial post here at No Disintegrations, and when I came up with the title "Taking It Back" for the first entry into ND version 3, I immediately thought of this quote:

"Yeah, but you know what? This one, this one right here, this was my dream, my wish, and it didn't come true. So I'm takin' it back. I'm takin' 'em all back." 
~Mouth, The Goonies

Now, I'm not a big fan of The Goonies movie (I've only seen it once or twice all the way through, and only as an adult), but that scene definitely conveys the emotion that has prevented me from writing here more in the last three years, and why I'm taking it back up now.

   I think "dreams" and "wishes" are the "stories" we tell ourselves about our lives that we want to come true. In this scene, Mouth feels like his story won't come true. So, he's going to take back the sacrifice (coin) he made to make it come true, and he's also going to get retribution for everyone else whose story hasn't come to pass by retrieving their sacrifices (coins) as well. Most likely he's doing this out of anger, disappointment, revenge, sadness, and a bunch of other emotions.

   As someone who saw the story or "dream" I was working to achieve get wiped away, I can relate to this extremely well. Now, I'm not going to detail the drama, cheating, lies, and indecisiveness I lived with for over a decade that led to that story disappearing - and I'm not planning on taking any retribution. My fear of trying to write anything  else and that information pouring out is the reason I haven't posted here in such a long time. I know there are at least three sides to every story of a relationship - one for each of the people involved, and somewhere in between or in combination of those two sides lies the truth. My side of the story has never been fully told, but I know the other person's side is probably out there - along with pieces of my side, other people's opinions, and maybe even a few grains of truth. I don't know if I will ever tell my side (unless I write it in a longer format, like a novel or something, which will be so unbelievable it will classified as fiction by people reading it).

   But, I do want to talk about what I've realized about the "stories" and "dreams" people have for their lives, and specifically the stories and dreams of my life as a result of what I went through. Maybe it will help someone else, or maybe it will just let me get some of what I need to say about it out so I can go back to writing about other things on this blog.

“If you don’t turn your life into a story,
you just become a part of someone else’s story.”
The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents
    What did I learn? The quote above from The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents, is the basic gist of what I've learned. The main story most of us face goes something like this: grow up, get a job, meet someone, fall in love, get married, and have children. (You'll notice that I'm making this non-specific to gender or orientation, because in my ideal story, those things don't matter). Movies, TV, books, parents, friends, and society shove this story down our throats on a regular basis. In fact, this story is so ingrained, that many people go to extreme lengths to see the story to its end. They stay in bad or abusive relationships, and they give up other pieces of their lives to make this story come true. In fact, most people just assume that this is how everyone's story will go. Case in point, I recently had a doctor's appointment and the doctor, trying to make small talk, recommended that I move to a specific location because it had good schools for raising kids. Never mind the fact that I don't have any kids. 

   All of my life, I tried to live up to this story. For the sake of my family and fitting into socially acceptable society. I sacrificed where I wanted to live, my career, my happiness, and even, in the end, my own story to try to make this "acceptable" story happen. Instead of living this story, I became part of someone else's story. Of course, the longer it went on, the harder it was to change the story's ending.
   You see, in this story that wasn't actually mine, I wasn't the narrator, and the narrator telling my story was, at best, unreliable. The story kept changing. The backstory and history of my character was rewritten and revised so many times that I started to forget who my character was and what I was supposed to be doing. The worst part was, I began to realize that in this story, I wasn't the hero. Hell, I wasn't even the hero's sidekick. I was the villain. I wasn't even a cool or particularly evil villain. I was just something for the "hero" to rage, plot, and work against throughout the story.

   As the villain of this story, all of the obstacles the hero had to face were all my fault and all concocted by me, or so that's the way the story was told. At turns, I was a mean villain, a crazy villain, or even a villain that isolated the hero from his supporting characters and made it impossible for him to change and grow on his journey. In the end, just as the tale usually goes, the hero defeated the villain and journeyed on to find the next princess to begin the next chapter of the story. No one was the wiser that this story featuring me as a villain may have been the greatest work of entirely contrived fiction ever told.

Here's an example of what the story looked like to me:

   That story made no sense, right? Now you know how I felt when the "story" about my life, told by someone else was told to me.

   After a tale like this, when your natural state of being is laid-back, supportive, and non confrontational, you begin to question yourself and the story you're being told. So slowly, I became an introspective villain protagonist. First, I had to figure out how I became the villain of the story, and how I could possibly return to being the protagonist. It took a long time, but I finally realized that I became the villain by letting someone else be the narrator. I was so focused on the story I thought was happening, that I didn't realize everyone else was hearing a different story. I even went to great lengths to not make the narrator look unreliable while the story was happening, so only one version of the story survived. When I finally decided to retell the story from my point of view to a few people, they were shocked. At this point, I decided it was time to start telling my own story.

   First, I had to take some time to figure out what the next chapter of my story would be. Would I continue to try to fulfill the commonly "accepted" story that I saw so many others reaching for? Was it worth the sacrifices I'd previously made and was still making to continue that story? After a lot of thought and careful consideration, I decided that the answer is:
"Hell no".

   I've always been different, maybe even a little weird. My story is about experience, not marriage and family. There's an endless list of narrators to tell that tale, and I have no problem with them telling it. But, I'm starting to realize, as I grow older, that there are a lot of people that seem to have a problem with the story I want to tell. I'm not sure why being unmarried, childless, and straight is such a problem for some people, but it seems to be. Basically, because I am these things and approaching 35, "there must be something wrong with me" is the general consensus I get from "society's" feedback.

   Guess what? I don't care. I'm going to tell my story for me from now on. I have a feeling that when it finally ends, it will make a lot more sense than the story I was living, the story I just told you about Magnum P.I., or the last episode of Lost.

Here are a couple of random quotes I found on the internet that will give you an idea of where my story is probably going:

"Perfect heroines, like perfect heroes, aren't relatable, and if you can't put yourself in the protagonist's shoes, not only will they not inspire you, but the book will be pretty boring." ~ Cassandra Clare 
"The main question in drama, the way I was taught, is always, 'What does the protagonist want?' That's what drama is. It comes down to that. It's not about theme, it's not about ideas, it's not about setting, but what the protagonist wants." ~ David Mamet

   From now on, I will live my life for me, and pursue my own dreams and wishes. Right now, that boils down to enjoying what I'm doing and who I'm spending time with at work, home, or anywhere else. If someone doesn't like my story, that's fine, and they don't need to be a part of it. No matter what challenges I must face in my story, I'm taking it back for me.


“If you don’t turn your life into a story, you just become a part of someone else’s story.” – The Amazing Maurice and His Educated Rodents