The Cousin’s Question ……. definitely maybe me!
An interesting question was posed to me about two months back by Suze’s cousin who used to be an English History teacher and it was in October, and we were down at the Zetland Arms, a lovely pub/restaurant on the coast near to where we live, celebrating Suze’s 58th birthday. It can take me between a minimum of 4 weeks to a maximum of twenty odd weeks to fully think some questions posed to me through. I get asked a lot of questions on a regular and oft frequent basis by friends, family and also by readers who email me privately.
The question was ‘were their moments that defined who you were at the time and have molded you into the person you are today, be this through music, books, films, moments and or memories?’ What definitely made you, maybe?’ I love questions, many of you know this … but of all questions, l love to be made to think, l like to be able to bite into a question, shake it around a bit, masticate for a while, chew it over and then both pondercate and deliberate an answer.
One of the beauties of composting or rather whilst working the turning and flipping of the compost, rather than gardening is that you can switch off and think about all sorts of things. Deep and depth filled questions have many a time been answered whilst l have composted. This was one of those questions – it’s all too easy to say ‘yay or nay, we can all do that and we all do that … such is the speed of life, speed of our lives, speed of our time, our times, our timings… that many a time we flippantly answer questions posed to us without thinking, and yet many a time always back to time, have you noticed that? But, many a time we don’t think, when we should.
Sometimes, a question will only be partially answered and l will act on that .. for instance, l am piloting a new series in the ‘Have a Great Day Folks!’ called ‘Down Memory Lane’ and it’s been sort of ‘well received’, but mostly not, perhaps it is one of those series that will just flop as some series do, or l have not got the formula right and the ingredients needs work, who knows. Time will tell, it always does!
Melanie of Sparks from a combustible mind and Angie of King Ben’s Grandma tried it out last week and were happy with the results, and l was able to fine tune it, and ‘get’ the ingredients worked on. I came to realise that really, it needed to be it’s own standalone feature rather than simply tucked away and hidden as a ‘first day post feature’, so l will work on that a bit and launch it this month as a new series and see if that appeals more.
Which is why this particular post is important. A friend of mine, you know her too Ursula of An Upturned Soul– well she said, that sometimes it would be easier to not just ask questions of the readership but to answer them as well. I started doing that all of this year, you may have noticed, l ask a lot of questions, but l answer them first, then invite you to answer the questions your own way.
Anyway, l digressed … when do l not? But back to the cousin’s question What definitely made you, maybe?’
I have had to think on this, very hard indeed .. – l was born in 63, that defined my birth year. But what years or decades truly defined me, and what defined me? Books, films, music, moments and memories? But which decade really cut the shape of me?
Which decade did not? Might be the truer question – l think it is easier to say that the first half of the first decade did nothing to define me directly – although genetically my father defined me with the autism genes, my mother defined me with her bipolar genes. My grandparents defined me in so far as as science would declare it now through my diet and their eating habits!
So where does definition truly begin of a person?
What defines a person anyway?
According to Wikipedia: A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a part of a culturally established form of social relations such as kinship, ownership of property, or legal responsibility.
What defines an individual?
Again, according to Wikipedia: Individuality (or self-hood) is the state or quality of being an individual; particularly of being a person separate from other people and possessing their own needs or goals, rights and responsibilities. The exact definition of an individual is important in the fields of biology, law, and philosophy.
What therefore defines your identity?
Aye, Wikipedia again: In psychology, identity is the qualities, beliefs, personality, looks and/or expressions that make a person (self-identity) or group (particular social category or social group). Categorizing identity can be positive or destructive.
Which is all very informative, but what defines me as in me, from you, from them, from us, from are, from?
Well that’s the big $64,000 question isn’t it? It was that question from the cousin that stopped me and made me think, then create and deveop a feature which is piloting … because the individual, the person, the persona, the identity is a bloody complex entity and l am not asking that, and neither was she … in order for me to sometimes answer the most simplistic of questions, l have to go remarkably deep into depth itself to reach a simplicity – an answer – what moments defined my life? What decades meant more to me over others?
Oh, oh right! so THAT was your question dear cousin!
Right, then in that case …. three decades were profound to me 1980 – 1990/1990 – 2000/ 2010 – 2020 and it is NOT that 63 – 70 or 70 – 80 and 2000-2010 were NOT profound or distinct or significant or unlearning because they were – but did these decidedly shape me in an astonishing way? No, not really not in comparison to 1980 – 2000 or 2010 – a decade later.
In 1980 l was 17 and in 1990 l was 27, 2000 l was 37, 2010 l was 47 and next year l will be 57. I have lived by my own accounts an extraordinary life filled with good, bad, sad, destructive and beautiful moments all. LIFE is a truly beautiful gift, that we don’t often truly appreciate.
I used to joke to myself l was a failed killer! I have 26 suicide attempts under my belt – not 26 ideations …no. 26 actual attempts. In May 2017 l nearly jumped off a cliff with a drop of 200 feet. But l didn’t … that was an ideation, not an attempt. It was my last thought on suicide, l have not attempted again, and l’ll not, l kicked some seriously fucking aggressive demons who l had carried around since 1987 predominately, but also from my childhood. I carried demons from my marriage. I was in an abusive marriage, my wife hated me and she wanted to kill the unknown Asperger’s in me.
Neither of us knew l was on the spectrum … but she was heinous towards me. The girlfriend that followed did know of the autism, and she too was equally as heinous! These two women, really defined me! So from 1995 – 2009 two women shaped a part of me – quite memorable l have to say!
In 1987, l lost people close to me in a car crash, it destroyed me – literally, l went off the rails, l wandered down many darkened alleys looking for death, and if not that then taking risks that might ‘kill me’. I must be gifted, or a survivor or a muppet because l am still very much alive. But these years, these dark years as l refer to them as, shaped me, defined me. I discovered things about me.
My childhood was at the hands of a narcisstic Aspergian father, and a bipolar mother, and was not easy! So when does one say what were specific, defining moments in a person’s life? Every day defines us, every month defines us further, each year shapes us, every decade reminds us of our journeys through definition.
The seventies defined me personally as a geek, the eighties defined me as a music and film lover, the eighties and the nineties defined me as a lover, the eighties to the milleniums defined me as a go getter, a risk taker, afterwards life and the journey’s further defined me as a person, an identity and as a true individual that just can’t stand bollocks and bullshit from people, that’s a patient soul but tested and cynical, but still believes in people and gets a kick out of seeing people happy … but cannot always handle the emotion of doing so.
However that aside … that’s the depth l initially travelled to in the pregnant pause that followed her question to me … but after a few moments l answered with, l’ll get back to you on that, but for the fill in …. the decade of the 80’s and the 90’s made me who l am, everything after that was a learned curve of adventure, still fun, but it was those 20 years that l really started to understand me for me.
1980 – 2000 – the music, the films, the women, the adventures, the reading, the parties, the discoveries, the life!
Defining films 1980 – 2000
There were many excellent films in the 80’s and we can perhaps never pin point the exact moment that a film left an imprint upon us and for what reason, but these were the films that made the most significant impression upon me and they changed me forever.
Defining Music 1980 – 2000
In the commercial 80’s l danced and bopped but l transitioned to a more distinct musical me by the 90’s where l raved, and tranced and danced all night to much heavier beats!
1993 – 1995
The 90’s were basically a mixture of trance, rave, house, garage, jungle and acid!
Defining Books 1980 – 2000
As to the books …. l read perhaps in those twenty years an average of 100 books a year, never mind any documents for work, or training modules l had to create and never mind all the words l wrote myself … authors made me think like Stephen King, Guy.N.Smith, James Herbert, Jane Austen, S.E.Hinton, Roald Dahl, Robert Bloch, Harper Lee, Alice Walker, Carl Sagan, Eric Van Lustbader, Peter Straub, Terry Pratchett, DH Lawrence, Marquis de Sade, Tom Wolfe, Stephen Hawking, Salman Rushdie … the list of authors and their incredible works and remarkable reads were endless. Were there any defining books that really made me sit up and think though?
Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen, The Outsiders – S.E Hinton, To Kill A Mockingbird – Harper Lee, Lady Chatterley’s Lover – D.H.Lawrence and 120 Days of Sodom and various other works by the Marquis de Sade, these did make me think. As said, there were thousands of books read between 1980 and 2000 – every time l read a book, it leaves a trace element with me anyway. That’s the beauty of reading another’s mind isn’t it?
So, the cousin’s question, made me deep think, it inspired me write this post today and it motivated me to create the Down Memory Lane series, and more so this post today made me see more clearly how the feature can work, the ingredients it needs to maybe encourage you to create your own, perhaps, definitely maybe … you too!