May 3, 1997 Saturday
I was awoken this morning by a fitful Nicole, across the room. My sister had lain in her bed for an hour before called out to me, “Will, can you come here?” She had wanted to go to the bathroom, yet was scared of the spider what was outside her door. What could it have been that made her so afraid of spiders? She thinks they are all poisonous, and out to get her.
To continue this narration, she kept asking to kill the spider, and I would repeat, “It’s okay, it’s not going to do anything to you.” Finally I did get up to dispense of the terrible spider-monster, only to find it was a small dust ball on the wall. Nicole had been afraid of a dust ball. By this time, Mom appeared, having heard Nicole’s begging to save her. Nicole, still having to go the bathroom, but totally committed to Mom, stayed in her like she was now told. I just don’t understand; sometimes there seems to be a void of logic around here. I’m not mad because of what I witnessed, I am slightly distressed because it occurred at all.
We did have baseball this morning, but I had to drive over with Mom, so she could have the car to take Nicole to Girl Scouts (just one of the joys of having a single car at two people’s disposal). It was a low-key, quiet practice, which was caused by the dour weather. On a good point, the sun did come out for a while.
After practice I walked the two blocks to Casey’s General Store to call Mom for a ride home. But no one was home. For approximately 45 minutes I waited at Casey’s, absently browsing the candy aisle again, or pacing along the outside, until finally appeared.
Education is the cornerstone of success, I know, but I have been a witness for quite a while to an exception to the rule. Mom was once similar, in some respects to Sidney, when she as young. My mother would continually excel at academia; in fact, she says the only B she ever got in college was because the professor asked the class to give him the grades they thought they deserved. She just couldn’t give herself an A. Mom was a scholar this, and an honoree that. Granted, she did become the only thing she ever wanted to be, and she loves being a teacher, but she is not happy. I saw this first in junior high. At the time, I was about fifth or sixth in my class or well over fifty people. While I put forth an effort in most things at the time, by my raw ability I was able, for example, to take a test and get a B’s. This is difficult for me to write, but necessary, but I know it makes it appear that I don’t care. I do–but for some reason I would always think, “Will this make me happy? Is this going to make me successful?” I would think of my mom, and all of the effort she put into a near-spotless student record–and for what? Again, please do you believe I am denigrating education. I love to learn. But it is important to view this perspective the younger me through his perhaps distorted but questioning eyes. These were the examples my life was given to view, and perhaps emulate–but to what extent? I wasn’t sure. Could I be assured I would have a future, even with a college education? My driving force is to be a success, but not just for my own benefit. I want my future family to be proud of me, and be completely provided for.
One of Mom’s favorite sayings is, “That’s life.” Admittedly, she uses for last resort reasoning, the parental trump card of hackney advice, I know. It’s used as a throw-away line of dime store philosophy, I get it. Still, I have never heard such a weak phrase, and I despise it. That is not life, and it will not be mine. I will not be happy to settle into my lot in life. I will not be assimilated into middle-class morality. I will not simply head for the bunkers. I will be what I want to be–but my happiness will not come from the sole idea I have “succeeded.” My joy will come from using my potential at best as possible, once again. In my early high school career I didn’t really understand the best way to juggle the workloads, but now, with a 4.4 average this year, I have been trying to bring up and cancel out my underclass slackings. I do not belong in 20th place. If it was not for my younger choices I could easily be in the top 10. In terms of shear, God-given potential, only Willa, Sidney, Lance, Chase Johnston, and maybe one or two others “beat” me, if you understand my meaning. I let me others, with less ability, pass me by. Late last year I began really trying again, like in the old, old days, and I have not reached what I consider my potential.
Older self, please dismiss some of my stringent words one day, if they seem a bit much in the moment, as they might be. But do not cat out all of my words and feelings. There is very much worth remembering. The last page was free and flowing thought, that I just had to get out.