Monday, September 12, 2011

Reality Versus My Reality

Deb: Recently a friend shared a recollection with me, my husband, and a group of our mutual friends about an event that we all shared. He was so passionate about this memory and so very detailed that it was stunning.

It was stunning because it barely resembled the truth. The rest of us involved in the event all remember it unfolding in the exact same way and yet it was nothing like our friend described it.

What made it most interesting to me is that on the day the event unfolded, he was the bad guy in the piece. By that I mean that we all feel he made some selfish and self-serving choices that day. The most fascinating part of the whole thing is that clearly his brain set to work on spinning the story that very day. His brain realized that he could not resolve himself to be the bad guy and so his brain set about the task of having the incident rewired. And believe me, when he recalled this event at our social gathering you could tell, really tell, that he believed every single word he was saying. He was truly not trying to pull the wool over our eyes. The event had become history to him, his history. But it was quite a distance from the truth.

And it made me think about perception, point of view, personalizing and spinning. I am the queen of it. I have memories that I hold dear and memories that shock and sadden me, but I wonder: Are they real? Or at least, what part of them is real? Do we all do this?

Is there any real event with one point of view?

Life is like the telephone game. We take, we add, we embellish and we pass it on. It got me to pondering specific moments in my life, old family lore and scandalous stories from days gone past. How much of it is true? Do some moments from life get spun so fast and furiously that they end up without a shred of truth in them?

I know that I like to embellish. I have always liked to embellish because I have been a storyteller since I was a kid and I always wanted to go for the “awe” factor. Ramp it up, keep it interesting, hook ‘em in. I never meant any harm. I still don’t. But I know I do it constantly and without even thinking. If someone says, “Wow, I bought three little bags of groceries and it cost me $120.00! Invariably my story will come out of my mouth as one bag, no meat or fruit––$150!!!  Can’t help myself.

I have been thinking of this lately as I have a dear friend whose husband calls her out each and every time she exaggerates. He feels it is beneath her, and maybe he is right. My husband does not call me out, bless him. I say "bless him" not because I think I am correct in doing this, but because I would be really embarrassed if called out in front of people. Had an old boyfriend who made it his life’s work to call me out.

But it made me wonder if I shouldn’t start to monitor this myself?  And then came the night when our friend recalled this unrecognizable event and I thought, “Yeah, I better.”

Barbara: I’ve always admitted I have a terrible memory, so I’m usually not surprised to find out I’ve remembered something wrong (or forgotten it altogether). But I am often surprised to hear stories through more than one perspective and to hear how much they differ, like in your story, Deb.

As for your friend’s skewed perspective of the past (hisstory, as it were ;-) ), I think this is at the heart of most of our skewering: in order to accept our weaknesses, we alter the truth to turn them into strengths, buffering our psyches with padded costumes.

Siblings will probably have the most opposite memories of childhood events because our immature psyches will twist events as we process them. My mother and I were just talking about that the other day. She was bemoaning the fact that grown children often talk about these catastrophic moments in their upbringing that “scar them for life”, and that their parents usually have no idea that anything profound even happened. As we compared notes about what we remembered from her perspective as a parent and my own as a child, we ended up laughing uproariously at how she’d completely forgotten things that “haunted” me (me sticking my tongue out at her when I was five and she slapping me soundly across the face––I actually remember feeling I totally deserved this), and I’d completely forgotten things that haunted her (calling me a “stupid goat” at much the same age in front of a neighbour—my mother does not and never did think I was a stupid goat … even when I was/am). 

41 comments:

  1. I'm sitting here painfully sick to my stomach and having been up since about 4am dealing with feeling gross in every direction and trying not to get dehydrated. I know this is in large part due to stress and fear, but I've also come to the conclusion that I must've picked up a pathogen from someone at work this weekend. So, if I'm already sick, I may as well discuss sickening things, right? And, this post immediately brought to mind 2 of them.

    I stayed in the house and fought for my marriage, fought for my son to have an intact family, for months after my ex-husband announced his decision to destroy our family. I didn't want my son to have a broken home, and, also, we didn't have Biblical grounds for divorce. Actually, during one particularly nasty afternoon of him being completely hateful, my exact words to him were, "If you want a divorce, walk out that door and go stick your dick in the nearest warm orifice." But, anyway... One of the cruelest things he did during those months of terror (a phrase I do not employ lightly - they were months of terror and threats to my safety) was to rewrite our history. Every good thing, every happy event, every loving occurrence, every beautiful moment, he had to tarnish. "I didn't mean it." "I was lying." "I was pretending." "I didn't really want that." It wasn't enough that he was destroying our present. It wasn't enough that he was destroying our future. He then set to desecrating our past. He couldn't allow that we had ever been good together, that we had ever been in love, that he was destroying something that had been worthy. He also couldn't allow that he had any responsibility for any decision that had been made during the marriage. (He even abdicated responsibility for when we'd had our son and for the house we were living in.) His constant rewriting of history really started messing with my head after a while. People close to me, people who had witnessed many of the good things he was ruining, kept telling me, "He's lying to himself so he won't feel guilty. He's telling himself whatever he has to because deep down he knows he's the bad guy here and he's fooling himself to convince himself otherwise." I knew what they were saying was true, but I couldn't feel it. All I could feel was the betrayal and the loss. Basically, he had a scorched Earth policy. He had to destroy every element of our marriage, even the past. And, for me, the grief was unbearable because he was trying his hardest to take absolutely every good memory away from me.

    This made me question myself, my judgement for a long, long time. OK, who are we kidding? It still does. I find it hard to fully believe in good times, good things happening. I keep waiting to find out later that the good was all a lie. I wait for the darkness to show itself. Outside of my core of Beloveds, I also have trouble believing in good people. Are they really, or will they betray me?

    There's a second point to be made, but I can't type anymore right now. You'd cringe if you knew how many times I'd run off to be sick just during the time span of typing these paragraphs.

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  2. This is such a basic tenent of psychology. I actually really love it, but it can be hard to adapt to people who are particularly adept at rewriting events. My daughter really honestly remembers things totally different from how they happen. We went through lie trauma for YEARS before I convinced my husband she is just really adept at this alternative history thing.

    And he and I go round and round--I have that same bad memory, Barb, but he doesn't believe that when I DO remember, then that was how it happened... he thinks forgetting and misremembering are the same, and they're not.

    I actually LOVE using this in books--different perceptions. I think it's a great way to 'honestly' mislead readers so you can suprise them. (Look at Harry and his perception of Sirius through most of PoA, and his perception of Snape through the whole series)

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  3. Very interesting blog today. I have done mediation for divorcing couples and you see this discussion all the time. In mediation there is her side, his side and then the true side that runs down the middle. It can't be seen by anyone but is there nonetheless. By the very nature of birth order and family circumstances two siblings can be raised in what they think are identical settings and each one will think it happened exactly as their story dictates and both stories will be like night and day. I think everyone wants to think their story is the correct interpretation when in fact it lies somewhere just next to it, near it on not at all. Very interesting topic for today. Once again, you both are so great at choosing words to pass along to all of us and get us thinking.

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  4. Rigel! I hope you get better soon! (I'm putting my money on a bug -- I know stress can manifest like stomach flu. but this sounds way more flu-like). I hear your distress over your ex's rewriting of history. I'm glad you know that he is doing just that REwriting. PS Good people are everywhere, that I can promise you.

    Hart, I love the connection to writing with this in mind -- I've done it myself. Almost everything I've written has more than one protagonist -- for EXACTLY this reason. One of my favourite examples is The Remains of the Day. Brilliant brilliant depiction of how a person's perception does not match up to reality.

    Madge, thanks. And, oh yeah, divorce will always be the classic case of he said, she said, what the hell actually happened?!

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  5. I actually had to read this post twice to fully grasp it. Blame it on the Mondays. :P

    I too have a tendency to exaggerate when it comes to recounting events. My mom picks it up especially; I'll be telling her one of my many college tales and I'll say something like, "Oh, I had to wait a million years for X thing/food/some sort of event." And she'll says, "Well, you REALLY don't have to wait a million years." huh huh huh, Mom, very funny.

    I don't think exaggeration is a bad thing (I personally exercise it for humor's sake), but I think that a line needs to be drawn...somewhere, as I can also relate to your story, Deb. Very much so.

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  6. I think that we all do this. I know that I have. I think telling a story is kinda like puzzle together, it may not all come together right now but it. Will come together once you get people to help you than all the puzzle will come together. I don't honestly that If you embellish a story that it is a bad thing I just think that some people really do think that It happen a certain way. Maby it makes some people feel more powerful and maby some people think that it puts more power into the story and if it does that than more people will listen to it .

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  7. This is not saying that I totally agree with it it's just my opinion. I forgot to say that in my comment. Oops

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  8. Rigel I am so sorry you are ill and I hope you feel much better as the day goes on. Rigel I think you state a classic case here and I am sure that this "re-writing of history" is at the core of every ugly divorce. Take heart my girl, you know the truth and clearly so do many of your friends. Hart you are so right and I loved the Harry reference because I was indeed shocked. So maybe what we are saying is that it is great in literature, not so great in life? :-)

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  9. I am on a set today and got called away for a few minutes. After responding to Rigel, I came to yours Madge and you spoke about the divorce issue and confirmed that this is the order of the day in most circumstances. And you are so right Madge, generally the truth lays somewhere in the middle doesn't it? My brother and I mostly agree on history but to your point, there are a few moments which are "wha?"
    Holly you are right, it's great for humour which is why I started doing it as a kid. Stretch the truth, get a laugh. I must have done that a BILLION times!
    Lyndsie please don't worry my dear. When we post our comments,we always assume that it is the opinion of the person writing. And you are always so respectful. And I agree. It can make the story more powerful can't it?

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  10. Lyndsie: what Deb said. But I want to add that I also agree with what you say so beautifully here. I love the analogy of the puzzle and everyone puzzling the past together.

    The only history alterations that really irk me (because I love a good embellishment myself) are the ones that re-cast the bad guy as the good guy. That's MY personal pet peeve.

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  11. Oh yes yes yes. I have a memory of a long-ago NY's date as being a disaster ... but looking back in my journal written the next day, you'd think the guy was a prince and I had the time of my life! It's weird.

    Also my son Everett will swear on a stack of bibles that I said things I've never even THOUGHT in my life! But kids can interpret our words in ways that would never occur to us.

    In speaking to a mental health counsellor once I asked how they know who is telling the truth, whose perspective is true, when they are working with a couple who agree on next to nothing about what is going on between them. She told me that it isn't important who's right and who's wrong, who's being realistic and who's rationalizing or whatever; the process of treatment, of working through issues, is the same for both. That was an eye-opener.

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  12. Kate: 3 gems here --

    1. the fascinating question of whether your past day self was embellishing because she WANTED that date to be be really good and the present self understanding the truth. Or the opposite...

    2. oh, the difference between the parent and child perception

    and 3. the expert's response to your question. Surprised me too, that one. So interesting.

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  13. we all invent stories to help us make more sense of our lives. but they don't come out of thin air--they are mined & honed from our past experiences. we build our stories with other stories, by taking on the legacy left to us by the actions and lives of others. I am particularly fascinated with your friend's "invention" that differed so thoroughly from yours, not because it was so starkly different, but because he was so convinced of it. I think that a great deal of our life's work is learning to accept other people's reality as.....reality. To him, that IS what happened and he didn't invent it that way to make excuses for his actions. in essence, he was trained to construct his own individual reaction to events straight out of his conditioning. and, in doing so, he continues the legacy of creating his own reality--whether or not everyone else agrees with it. the luckiest among us wake up from the dream we call reality and realize that our perceptions are just that. but many many more go through life convinced that there is a right and a wrong--rather than many ways of seeing the truth. I have at least one person in my life who "challenges" me to check my own reality and my own reactivity because they aren't awake enough to theirs. I know I can't do anything about the way they see the world (and the way they act because of it). I can only change my reaction to it.

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  14. Lori I love and try to live by what you said."I can only change my reaction to it". Kate, I was fascinated by the expert's take on things. They are right, it's really about the working it through isn't it? And maybe just maybe you wrote such wonderful things about him in your diary because at that time, for whatever reason, you needed it to be great. OR maybe in case one of your girlfriend's read it and you wanted to be smokin'.

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  15. In the middle of reading this, I was ambushed by several first-year students who wanted me to answer questions about human rights. oops (hey, it was for one of their classes).

    Sometimes I tend to exaggerate...a lot. Most of the time I'm not even aware of it, but maybe I should be. Maybe we all should be. My BROTHER is also very bad at exaggerating too...but I think he's aware of it. Drives my mom nuts.

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  16. This topic discussion makes me thing of the great
    Winston Churchill quote:
    "History will be kind to me for I intend to write it".

    We all have our own narrative of past events and we do that to either protect ourselves, absolve ourselves or to make sense of what could have led us to our current state. It's always amazed me how people could have the same intimate experience and come out with different views or memories. And it gets fuzzier as you get older or the lie replaces the truth. I'm a huge Beatles fan and if you watch the doc Anthology all four them get their stories mixed up or saw it differently, either to protect their ego, or in George's case because he cared more about gardening now. But once again I agree with Lori, we can't stop people having negative reactions or views about us, but we can stop having negative views about ourselves. It takes courage to really look at yourself and not become a victim. Once you're a victim, it's somebody else's fault and you're ALWAYS right. So yes, the TRUTH always lies somewhere in the middle. Great topic Deb!

    DMac

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  17. Kelly I hear ya. But it ain't easy. I have tried trillions of times to stop.

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  18. OK, now that I've laid on the couch curled up in a tight ball and sweated my hair wet for 3 hours (*sigh* I am getting NOTHING done today. *grrr*), here is the 2nd thing. Don't let someone else write the story. Don't let someone else have enough power over you that they can manufacture your reality. I was seriously involved with a man my entire final year at university. We were both graduating seniors, and we even went so far as to meet the parents and to have marriage minded conversations. But, there was a lot of drama like breaking up and getting back together, and things never once felt as safe and secure as they should've. I should've known it wasn't going to work out because a) he was a mama's boy and b) he wasn't openly affectionate, huggy, snuggly, cuddly, warm on a regular basis. (I'm sure he could've listed 2 of his own big hesitations about me.) Those 2 should've clued me to walk away, but we did truly love each other. And, we enjoyed each other's minds; there was a mutual intellectual stimulation. Plus, we had some nice adventures together.

    But, whatever positive fondness I may have once been willing to remember about him went out the window after we graduated. Right after graduation, we worked for the same nonprofit. He'd been with them for a while, and I was just coming on board. He was my immediate coordinator, the first rung of the ladder above me. I really hoped this wouldn't be a problem because we both respected each other's skill set and knowledge base. We both knew that the other knew his/her stuff. Also, we had ended our personal life on a decent note (even going so far as to whisper I love yous on graduation day). It seemed like we were sliding into what would evolve into a long friendship. Well, it didn't work out that way.

    My project contract was 3 months long. I was doing rural healthcare outreach. (And, 3 nights a week, I'd do the long commute back into the city to work a part time night shift job at a hospital.) And, all 3 months, what I kept hearing out of him was how horribly I was doing, how close I was to getting fired by the big boss, how I shouldn't come into the office whenever I was back in the city because it was safest to make myself scarce, etc. He always talked about how he was fighting to keep my job for me but that I was hanging by a thread. Every phone call or meeting with him would leave me needing to hide somewhere while I cried and felt my guts twisting up with panic. All summer long, it was like psychological torture. I was frantic. I knew that the project was coming together nicely. I knew that the community I was working in appreciated my work. I knew I was meeting deadlines and goals. I couldn't figure out what I was doing wrong. I couldn't figure out how I was failing. It was confusing, upsetting, and demoralizing. It was an awful 3 months.

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  19. I tried to find solace in things like, "OK, well, we got 2 people with diabetes diagnosed. We may well have saved their lives." Or, "We found that woman's ovarian cysts. Now, she's getting treatment that will take away pain she's felt for so long." I thought about, "I found W's son right after he'd hurt his eye and drove him to the hospital in the city." I tried to focus on what counted and feel that, at least, my time on the project wasn't wasted time, that I had counted for something. But, it was so hard to feel positive about my work with his constant litany of scorn and verbal abuse and threats raining down on me. I never, ever could figure out how I was a failure when it seemed so much that I was succeeding.

    At the very end, when I'd already gotten a job and my year of being able to relax and play lined up for North Carolina, a mutual friend of ours (from the same college at university) who worked in another department at the nonprofit called me and said, "We're getting pizza." I thought he meant I was supposed to come over to his and his wife's apartment to eat with them, but when I called back, his wife told me to meet him at a pizza place on the south end of the city. (They knew I was in town for the day.) Turns out, he was wanting to (lovingly) fuss at me. It all started with, "What the hell is going on?!?" lol He'd left a video tape his wife had kindly made for me of some TV press I'd done because he thought my family would get a kick out of it. He'd left it in one of the secretary's desks weeks ago, and he knew something had to be wrong if I hadn't come into the main office for that long. I was at my snapping point emotionally, and G and his wife were people I felt comfortable with, so I just spilled my guts. G then promptly set me straight. He called bullshit on my exbf. He told me that the exbf was on a power trip. He told me that he heard nothing but good things about my work out of everyone in the office except my ex-boyfriend. He told me that he'd heard the big boss talking about how pleased he was. He told me all these things that were in complete contradiction to what I'd been told all summer long. G completely rearranged my reality. And, then, as if to confirm this, when I went back out into my rural service field, the mayor's secretary had said to make sure I was at the town council meeting before I left town at project end. I thought it was just business so I gathered an end-of-project report and got ready to give a statement. Nope, turns out, they had a commendation from me, and the mayor and city council wanted to present it and thank me on the record in the minutes.

    Blew my mind.

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  20. Anyway, weeks later, I settled in in North Carolina. And, all that had come before faded from matter. This may sound pretty shallow on the Christian front, but it was easy to forgive the exbf because he just didn't matter anymore. I had a new life, and I was having new adventures, and it was so much better than what had come before.

    There's a lovely coda to this story. Several months later, I was back down in Alabama for 2 interviews in 2 cities. One was only an hour from my college town. So, that evening, I drove over to spend time with friends and sack out at a friend's place to rest up before the next long leg of the trip. As I was coming down the highway, I passed the old office and turned in because I saw both G's vehicle and the big boss's vehicle in the parking lot (but not the exbf's). There were hugs and merriment. Then, the big boss, (a lovely man who'd always been like a strict but loving grandfather to us all) took me into his office, closed the door, and we had a long talk. He'd pieced together bits and pieces of the drama from the previous summer, and G and I had come forth and straight out told him some things. (The part where my exbf then started trying to hook up with 2 other women on staff was something big boss probably should be made aware of, don't you think?) I straight out told him the whole story. First off, he knew my pay was direct deposited, but he wondered how I could've gotten my other money if I wasn't in the office. I told him that exbf had threatened me if I tried to file for a mileage check (this was in the hundreds). He EXPLODED and said he'd write me a check right that second! I told him, "No, I know your grant money has almost run out. I'm in touch with G and the others enough to know that things are really tight and bad around here. Don't make it worse by writing me a check I'd given up on long ago. Keep that money and consider it my donation to the cause. Do good with that money." He grumbled, but he respected my wishes. Then, he told me that he'd always been pleased with my work, that, actually, he'd thought I was one of the best they'd ever had. He said I was good, and he listed off the many reasons I was good. The big boss couldn't believe that I'd ever thought he was just waiting to fire me when, instead, he'd always seen me as an example of someone who was doing her project job exactly as it should be done and was excelling. He'd praised me to others. Again, my reality was rearranged again. It was the warmest, kindest conversation. It ended with me getting to coo over pictures of his latest grandchild and a big, rib cracking goodbye hug.

    I slowly began to allow myself to take pride and a sense of satisfaction in my work that summer. I knew I had done some good in the world on that project. I knew I had a made a difference. I let myself enjoy knowing how very, VERY hard I had worked on that project, and that I had pulled my part off quite successfully. The bottom line was that I'd played a role in saving lives. And, big boss's validation had felt so good.

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  21. Oh, funny side note, I was hanging out with G's wife and baby that evening when G got home. He busted out laughing when he saw me and asked me if I knew what was so funny. He explained that exbf had come into the office while I was there. He'd seen my car in the parking lot and was agitated. He asked where I was, and G pointed at big boss's office and the CLOSED DOOR to the office and said, "She's in there." He described in detail the blood draining from exbf's face and the panic that immediately seized him. G and I guiltily indulged in a little wicked glee over that tidbit. But, on a deeper level, it told me that the exbf knew he'd done wrong and knew to fear the truth. And, that freed me to believe the real truth even more.

    Tying back to the first point, years later my experience with that exbf was part of how I knew that the soon-to-be ex-husband wasn't telling the truth, that he was rewriting history and that I didn't have to believe the lies he was telling himself and me. But, that didn't lessen the grief any.

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  22. I know I've gotten some facts wrong regarding both marriages, and I know some things are rewritten history on my party. But, as you've stated, Deb, who wants to make themselves look that bad?

    I look back on one particular weekend many years ago. To me, it was hysterical! Who finds a septic system exploding and having to dig eight feet out into the yard in the POURING rain to find the septic tank funny? Turns out I'm the only one who did. But it involved the group of 10-15 of us, one of the last times we ever got together, and I believe that's why I look back on it with such fondness.

    It also makes for a great story, and that's another reason I think the rewriting takes place. Who won't go for the humor if they can? It's based in truth, but maybe there's a SLIGHT bit of exaggeration. (Look, when you have parents who are both losing their hearing, watching them have a conversation can be funny. Who won't take advantage of the humor of that?)

    Humor, memories, self-protection... any defense mechanism in a storm.

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  23. Dawn -

    You are awesome! Thank you for making me smile. :)

    Love and hugs,
    R

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  24. As if I haven't babbled enough already (yes, Barbara, yes -- in my head I am hearing what you said that time), there's something else important about that 2nd thing I described. I was just getting yet another shower in attempt to pull myself together before going to get my son from school, and, of course, I was thinking about that project as I had just written about it.

    There was one thing about that summer that I always, from the day it happened, felt good about. And, no one, not even the exbf, could take that from me. The bulk of my job during the project was advance work and follow up. I was by myself for the bulk of the project getting ready for the others to come and then tying up loose ends after they left. The week the 30something other people were there was actually the easiest week for me. lol Most of my advance work was along the lines of getting the word out about the cause, encouraging people to come make use of our resources, lining up donations of goods and service, making housing and food arrangements for a week for 30something people, doing radio, print, and TV press, doing stump speeches at churches on Sunday mornings, lining up a free, public site for the accompanying book fair that came with the free health services, tangling with some jerks over in the county seat *grrrr*, meeting with town officials, the school principal, and anyone who had any influence in the town, etc. Between this full time job and commuting many miles back to the city for a part-time CCU EKG telemetry job, I ran myself into the ground that summer. I was exhausted.

    But, my ongoing frustration was that I hadn't been able to cross racial lines. I hadn't been able to get an in with the "black side of town." *sigh* This was the rural, Deep South, afterall. :( Finally, one day, I got mad. REALLY mad. I ran off 700 fliers, drove to the "black side of town" and stomped my way door to door. (That was the first day of a few.) By God, anyone with any skin color was going to have access to what we were offering. I refused to allow segregation to deny people health care! The first challenge happened before I'd even walked away from my car. I'd parked in the back parking lot of a black church. I was gathering my fliers and stepping out of the car and fumbling keys, etc. A black teenage guy walked up and barked at me, "What're you doing here?!?" He was NOT happy to see me. In that instant, I had a choice to make. So, I put on my best PR face, reached out my hand toward him with a flier in it, and did my spiel about the project. I explained that if anyone in his family needed help with transportation, we could see to that, too. I invited him and his whole family to come to the clinic, and I mentioned the book fair for any younger children in his family. He was stunned. He just stared at me with his mouth open. Finally, he took the flier and mumbled something about, "I'll tell my grandma."

    I went down all the back streets (carefully avoiding guard dogs) and knocked on door after door after door. I gave my spiel so many times.

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  25. One time, I had come up the steps of a house to the screened front porch. An elderly woman sat just inside the open front door of the house. She hollered for me to come on in. She was a beautiful, wizened, dignified old black woman with a warm presence. She seemed quite happy to have company for a while. :) I explained what was going on, gave her a flier, and everything. But, mostly, I just enjoyed her company, too, for a few minutes. She was a dear. Just as I was leaving, as I opened the screen door from the porch to the steps, a car screeched to a halt just in front of the walkway. Some people (turned out to be her family) came barreling out of the car and up the walkway at me, none too friendly. "What're you doing here?" "What're you doing with Mama?" Really aggressive. Now, I can respect that. A stranger was at their elderly mother's house. A white stranger. I get it. But, it scared the piss out of me! lol So, having already gotten my head on straight when faced with the earlier hostile teenage boy, I put on my smile, handing a flier toward them, and launched into my spiel. I added that if they needed help with elder transport for their mother, I could arrange that, too. The biggest guy, a walking brick wall, had taken the fore in the group. I think he must've been eldest son. He stared at me. Stared at the flier. Looked behind me at his mother to make sure she was OK. Finally, he spluttered, "You're here." I was like, "Yup. Trying to get the word out." He was dumbfounded, "But, your white." I made a big show of looking down at my arm before saying, "Yup." He went, "And, you're here." I made a big show of looking down at my feet standing on the ground. "Yup." And, then, he let out this big whoooooosh of an exhale and exclaimed, "But, white folks don't come here!" And, I looked him dead in the face and grinned, "But, I do." Now, this may have sounded daring, but I was quaking inside. I really thought I was in over my head, but I had to balls it for the greater good, you know? All of the sudden, he stepped up to be beside me, laughed a big belly laugh, and put his arm around me squeezing me so tight he pulled me up onto my tippy toes. And, suddenly, I had a new friend in town.

    Not even the exbf could take that from me.

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  26. I know it's not right to embellish the truth when telling a story but is it so wrong to have Different opinions . It keeps interesting . There are times That I listen to people tell a story and I know in my heart that it went a different way, but who am I to say different . I just sit a listen and wounder like when reading a book. There is always that suspense of what will happen next.

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  27. Thanks David, also didn't you think that George was bitter in that doc? I am also a huge Beatles fan and when we saw it we just thought he seemed tired of Paul's bullshit, Ringo's the peacemaker and John of course...
    And I loved what you said "It's someone else's fault and you're always right!"Yes that can be a pitfall and I have seen that person all through my life. My kids on key, the choir's flat.

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  28. Dawn-Humor, memories, self-protection... any defense mechanism in a storm. So true, so so true. Rigel what an epic tale and a great example of personal history being written in all forms.

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  29. Yes Deb! George was like "you're not my Dad Paul" Paul is the classic revisionist historian and egomaniac. But he is a musical genius so can be forgiven. Paul always wants the credit, and it's true he was into all the "arty" stuff well before John, but got labelled the "silly love song guy" and John got the weird arty peacenik, when he was quite a childish prick too. But I digress. Back to topic. The thing with victims is that it keeps the cycle going, you think you should get a self-righteous free pass because you're the victim, the "he or she started it argument" but when does it end? It ends when you show empathy and compassion for those who've hurt you and mostly for yourself.

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  30. Oh Believe me David, I know that John was no saint on any level and could me a mean and cruel bugger and I know Paul to be brilliant and frankly, love them all for different reasons. But I can only judge them by how they have touched me in my life. My sadness of late is that Paul has become so cloyingly aggressive, that I have cooled to him. Proposing that every song they wrote together under Lennon/McCartney be checked for "lead Writer" and replaced as needed with "McCartney/Lennon, finished it for me. You are Paul McCartney. Settle for that my friend. It is considerable. Let your ego go and your heart soar. I love Paul the Beatle and Paul the musician and Paul of Wings and Paul the brilliant songwriter, but Paul McCartney? I love him but I would love him more if he pulled his noggin ou' of 'is touchie'
    As for John, we will never know, will we?

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  31. Were you eavesdropping on me over the weekend?!?!? My friends and I had this exact same conversation!

    Having all gone to high school together, we were amazed at how time and our brains had remembered the same situation we were all in differently ... and some not at all.

    I know there are many situations where I have done a little "spinning" to make myself look less idiotic, but what your friend forgot was the cardinal rule of fudging it: Don't do it around people who were actually there!!!!!

    Thanks for yet another wonderful post, ladies!

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  32. just found this quote while going through old papers: "you cannot maintain a point of view simply because you like it or because it accords with your preset metaphysical or emotional prejudices. if your view of reality is based simply on fantasy or conjecture, there will be no possibility of your being able to cultivate that view to an infinite end." Dalai Lama

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  33. walking here with a smile. take care.. have a nice day ~ =D

    Regards,
    http://www.lonelyreload.com (A Growing Teenager Diary) ..

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  34. Tammy isn't that so funny? Well I guess we were tapped into each other. And you are so right,do not fudge the story around people who were there. Unless of course you have come to believe it as the truth. Thanks Lori, always love to hear wisdom from the Dalai Lama.
    Mr. Lonely. Thanks, I will.

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  35. I have a tendency to recall things that have occured throughout my life. In such cases I remember things that nobody else does. Which might mean in some cases that such events never happened. Case in point, when I was about 5 or 6 years old my parents decided to play their first April Fool's Day joke on my sisters and me. They had gathered us up in the play room and announced that we were going to the Zoo that day. We got excited, then they said 'April Fool's', even though none of us knew what they meant by that. My sister's don't remember it, and my parents deny having done so claiming that they would never do something so mean. I still think it actually occured, but I guess I could always be wrong with that. -Apey

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  36. Oh Apey I cannot tell you how many of those I have. The most interesting one that still stays with me is that I remember very specifically being at a kids birthday party in their home and a photographer who seemed professional (to my child's eye) taking pictures of us in our little party clothes, hats and plastic baskets of candy. I remember seeing the next year a kids "Golden Book" and seeing us illustrated in the book. I swear it was us. I even had my favourite dress with the turtles on it. My Mum did not know what I was talking about. I swear I still look for that book everywhere I go.

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  37. Deb- It certainly gets frusterating trying to convince others that such events actually took place. I remember it so vividly, while everyone looks at me in such a way that says I've gone crazy. Now, they simply make a big joke out of it and bring it up every April Fool's Day. They have offered to take me to the zoo, since clearly not having done so back then seems to have damaged me. I'll keep an eye out for that book as well;) I'll be sure to let you know if I come across anything. Try doing a search on ebay, everything seems to show up on there.

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  38. Deb, we HAVE to try and find that book!!!

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  39. Any recollection as the what was on the cover or the approximate year? This'll become a project now;) I've already found several results on ebay, just need to know what to look for more specifically. -Apey

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  40. Deb ... I swear I remember coming to my grandparents' home (they were in the train station house next to the train tracks at Margo, my home town) after dark on Xmas Eve when I was three years old or younger, and seeing Rudolph's nose shining red in the sky, and hearing the bell on his collar!!

    But okay, your memory of the picture in the book is weirder. And more likely true. But still ... I saw! I heard!

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