When your memory and somebody else’s memory don’t match, it’s crazy making. When my mom says we were an ordinary family, that her husband was a smart and sensitive man with a good heart, it makes me feel I am the crazy one, especially when my dad doesn’t recognize me anymore and he is much easier to deal with when I am not his child but a nice stranger who visits him.
We rewrite memories to survive. That’s fine. I do, too. I’m glad you had a happy marriage, Mom. And you guys did your best. But it’s not my story. You may not rewrite mine. It’s mine, not yours. I am not responsible for yours, neither do you.
Netflix/Amazon Prime binge watching is my choice of drug. Once in a while I medicate myself with streaming mindless films for hours and hours and stay numb. When I can’t tolerate feelings, mindless B horror movies or super violent action movies with serial killers, monsters, vampires, zombies, and werewolves are the most effective sedative. I fall asleep with a horror movie playing.
Netflix learns. If you watch Evil Dead 2 and like it, then they recommend Amityville Horror. They recommend films I didn’t even know existed. I click on one, watch 1 minutes, then move on to the next, till I stumble upon a movie which fits my numbness of the day. Eventually my “You might like these” list looks like something a disturbed teenage boy would like.
When my friend apartment sat, she binge watched Netflix/Amazon. After her visit, Netflix started to recommend something like Beckett, Elizabeth, etc. Since I don’t watch those intellectual films often, it eventually stopped and my Netflix personality returned to the normal.
Yet, the list does not represent who I am.
I guess our brain is like Netflix recommendation. If I keep focusing on traumatic experiences of the past, my brain’s Netflix list will be filled with traumatic titles. Eventually I would believe there are only traumatic experiences in this world. It’s not true.
When Netflix recommended Sharknado and Human Centipede, I asked myself.
“What have I done to my life?”
Well, I chose not to watch Sharknado.
What’s wrong with the girl who kicked at a pigeon?
A group of teenage girls were walking down the street. It was an early afternoon in the late spring. A couple of city pigeons were picking up pizza crust scraps on the sidewalk in front of a neighborhood pizza place. An ordinary pleasant day in a relatively quiet street in Upper East Side.
As they pass by a girl in a plaid skirt kicked at a pigeon. The pigeon trotted away. “What’s wrong with you?” “Gross!” other girls said. The girl who kicked at the pigeon didn’t say anything. They walked on, talking as ordinary teenage girls did. Nothing noteworthy happened. Just another day in their teenage life.
It was a five second clip too familiar for me not to pick up from the cutting room floor. It was the nonchalant way the girl kicked at the pigeon that caught my attention.
I was the girl who kicked at pigeons.
When I saw a yellow fluffy dandelion flower on the sidewalk, I stepped on it to squash with the heel of black pumps. My friend said, “What’s wrong with you?”
I tell you what’s wrong. That’s how the girl is treated in her family. That’s how she has learned to treat herself. It’s so natural that she doesn’t even think something is wrong with the way she reacts to the sight of pigeon, a vulnerable and unimportant creature just doing what pigeons do. Nobody cares.
The sight of innocent and vulnerable creatures like pigeons and dandelions exposed and defenseless made me feel uneasy. It’s dangerous to be innocent and vulnerable in the open without fangs and claws to fight back. I can’t tolerate the prospect of the pigeon-dandelion being attacked, being kicked, being squashed. So I will be the one who kicks and squashes, so that I don’t have to feel my vulnerability.
I hope the girl who kicked at a pigeon will learn what is wrong is the way she has been treated.
And dandelions are not vulnerable.