Tuesday, August 28, 2007

Looking Back

Sometimes I look back and wish I could change so many things about my past. I wish I had done a lot of things differently. With school having started back, I've been thinking about my own time in school. In particular, when I was in high school. I was talking with my brother the other day about how much I loved middle school, but then how much I hated high school. He told me, "Well, I was looking through one of your yearbooks a few weeks ago. You looked weird back then. The way you dressed and brushed your hair, and your glasses. You just looked weird. It's no wonder people treated you different."

I then responded, "It shouldn't have mattered how I looked back then. People ought to not base how they treat you by your looks."

He then countered, "But that's not how things are."

"I know that," I reluctantly muttered.

I was weird back then. I looked weird, I acted weird, and I certainly felt weird. I didn't know how to relate to other guys. Especially the older guys. I was quiet a lot of times, and pretty much kept to myself. I didn't get involved in any school activities, or hang out with anyone. What few friends I did have were girls, and in hindsight, I wonder how much they ever truly knew me. Did they know me at all? I really do wonder about that sometimes, because I don't think they could have. I never let anyone get close to me back then. The moment I thought anyone was getting close to me, I'd usually just push them away. I would ignore or avoid them in order to weaken the friendship. Funny, because now I wish I could make friends. Perhaps the reason I'm having trouble with that now is because of how I acted in high school. Maybe I pushed away too many.

I wish I'd known how to be friends with other guys back then. I wish I'd known how to dress like them and look more like them. I wish I'd known how to fit in more. Thing is, I didn't know. I had no teacher. I've always had to teach myself on a lot of things. I wish I knew more about cars, and tools, and things of that nature. I tried to get my dad to show me how to change the oil in my car several different times back this last winter, and I never could get him to show me. I still haven't learned that one. The car just gets took to the shop. But there's just so many other things like that. I couldn't get anyone to teach me. And I've rarely felt comfortable enough to ask anyone to do that.

Why can't I figure out some of these things? Why can't I get Dad to show me anything, or to spend more time with me? Why can't I be more like other guys? Thing is, in the last couple of years, I've found that I'm not as different as I used to think I was, but I know I'm still different. I still feel different, or weird sometimes. I look back to my time in school, and I wish so desperately I could go back and do things differently. I wish I'd been treated differently. Why couldn't at least one of those older guys befriended me, or at least tried? Why wouldn't anyone reach out to me back then? Why did I always have to be so alone?

5 comments:

The said...

Hey Brandon,

Thanks for sharing! When I read your post, I also thought of my own life. I was born in a family of 5, one sister followed by 4 boys. My brothers are all loud and kicking. I was a little more sensitive, perfectionist, fastidious about things. I was weak and thus usually was excluded from activities.

In your post, you made a lot of wishes. Yup, things could have been different. I was just thinking about my own situation, I was excluded because I was not 'up to standard'. I don't know if you ever felt likewise. I'm sure each individual has one thing they are good at or absolutetly interested in. Sometimes those things just don't happen to be similar to those of the people around them and thus they were isolated.

This directs me to a so-called 'mission to the isolated'. In a congregation, a church, a college, I try to reach out to the people whom most people neglect, who are considered weirdos. I just hope my own experience in this matter helps me to bring healing to many others who going through the same path.

Well, just a few thoughts for you! God bless!
Beast.

RikFleming said...

Brandon,

I have had a lot of regrets and as I looked back I wish I would have done things differently. Peter probably regretted denying Jesus. I think the Apostle Paul probably wished he had never persecuted the church. But it was those past sins that made them understand just how much they needed Jesus and His forgiveness which is why Paul, after mentioning his past and that he is the least of the apostles, says, "But by the grace of God I am what I am." (1 Cor. 15:10)

Now, it is time to stop looking back. It is time to start looking at the present and then decide where and how you want to go from here to there in following Jesus. The pain of regret is only good as a reminder of God's grace and an incentive to "never do that again." Other than that, dwelling on regrets is only self-destructive.

By the way, you're still a little weird. But I love you that way! "Weird" is now the new "cool." Back in the 80's "big hair" was cool! Now look at those old pictures, THEY were weird! Look at the "cool" people of the 1970's. OH man! Too funny!

Love ya man!

Rik

Brandon said...

Thanks for the comments guys.

Rik, I think you're right about dwelling on the past being self-destructive. I know I have a bad habit of doing that sometimes. The last couple of weeks in particular. With school starting back for a lot of the guys I work with, I can't help but think about a few things from when I was in school. But I know I have dwelled a bit too much.

And I suppose you're right about times changing and what once was cool being ridiculous now. I don't know if I'd ever really considered that with my own situation before.

Beast, I like your "mission to the isolated". I think that's a great idea, and I'm glad you do that.

Love ya, guys.

Brandon

Jay said...

I wish I'd known how to be friends with other guys back then. I wish I'd known how to dress like them and look more like them. I wish I'd known how to fit in more.

Why? Do you define your self-worth through others? Fitting in isn't all it's cracked up to be, trust me. This may sound flippant, but you really need to try to find people who accept you for who you are.

That means the weirdness, the quirks, the issues, the problems, everything. It's not easy to find friends like that, but here's a hint about how to go about it: be yourself.

That doesn't mean sacrifice your beliefs and give in to every emotional whim. What it means is to be open. Let people see you and know who you are immediately. Be loud, be bold, be unafraid and unashamed. You are in Christ, so what do you have to fear from what mere people think of you?

Again, I know this sounds flippant. I was raised to be proud of who I am because my parents (bless 'em) are artists and have always pushed my brother, sister, and I to be individualists. I realize that many people weren't raised this way, and I didn't start listening to my parents' advice myself until a few years ago. It changed my life, though.

Be bold, friend. Be free. Don't give a d**n about what people think of you. You don't need to change how you look or act, really. The main thing that needs chaging with you (and everyone) is how you view yourself.

Brandon said...

Thanks, Jay. You know, I think I'll agree with you. The problem I have is just wishing I'd tried to be more open back then. I wish I had tried more to make friends back then and hadn't isolated myself as much as I did. And as far as fitting in, I just wish I could have figured out how to communicate in ANY way with other guys back then. Seems like all throughout high school, I just didn't know how to know other guys. I felt alienated or astranged from them. Which, goes along with what you said there at the last, about how I needed to change the way I see myself. That's something I've been trying hard to do the last couple of years, and things have improved a lot because of that.

Thanks again for the comment. Great shot of encouragement. :)

Brandon