This rambles a lot. Just skip down to the pictures. Or just skip all of it. I really want to edit this (or delete the whole thing), but I am too tired. So, save yourselves!
Dear All of You and None of You,
I (15 years old, or not?) am starting this letter over and breathing.
I need to breathe.
1. Twenty’s letter had me up all night thinking.
2. And then stuff happened today that was upsetting and brought back a lot of memories.
So, number 1: Thinking too much
The more this writing project (blog) delves into the past, the more I realize that there are so many of us in here. So many different ages.
And we’re all entire “people,” not just these caricatures.
I, at age fifteen, was not just a grumpy emo hiding in my room and studying all the time. I did other things, like play in the school orchestra. I had a guinea pig that I would take into the back yard so it could eat the grass. I went to math camp and really liked it.
There is so much more to me.
The image of a girl hiding in the closet crying is just a sliver of who I am. And she isn’t me, Fifteen, I think she’s Thirteen (13 years old). And she also isn’t Thirteen, because she’s more complicated than that frozen moment in time.
And when it comes to “the Fall,” which was such a momentous event that we’ve split ourselves into “Twenty-Two Point Five” (22.5 years old) and “Twenty-Three,” (23 years old) because the year “Twenty-Two” (22 years old) was completely divided into two polar opposite halves. Twenty-Two’s whole life was turned upside down.
After that, there was no way she could go back to being the way she was before.
But earlier in Twenty-Two’s year, she also was in treatment, and then she went back to school. So there could be:
Twenty-Two and Zero-Thirds (22.0 onwards) in treatment,
Twenty-Two and One-Thirds (22.33 onwards) back at school, and
Twenty-Two and Two-Thirds (22.66 onwards) in the midst of falling, and then Twenty-Three (which is also Twenty-Two and Three-Thirds: 33.00) in deep depression after “the Fall.”
But then Twenty-Three also has drastic stages. I won’t do any more fractions, just stages:
1) Lying in bed unable to get up
2) Working two jobs, taking night classes, writing constantly
3) In summer school, hanging out with new friends, going her first road trip ever, making up for lost time, etc.
There are just so many little nit-picky things and differences.
Who I/we were in each of those instances were so different, they could be their own people (as far as assigning names for this project is concerned).
But this is getting too complicated.
There are just so many of us. What are we going to do, go down in fractions? There could be maybe 80 of us if we do that. Would we even get anything done? Or does skipping over them not get anything done? Are we just not going to get anything done at all?
I’m thinking about this all in terms of integration (calculus).
I haven’t taken calculus in forever and maybe this is all wrong, so don’t take my word for how this works.
When you want to calculate the area under a curve, you break it up into rectangles. If you use big rectangles, it’s not as accurate and it’s just an estimate. But it is the most efficient: quick and dirty.
If you use little rectangles, it gets more and more precise.
As you approach infinity, that’s when you will finally know the true area under the curve.
It looks something like this:
Big rectangles = imprecise estimate. Small rectangles = more precise.
The goal is for the entire area under the curve to be pink, no white spaces.
I’m thinking about our assigned blocks of time in terms of those rectangles.
Right now, me “Fifteen” was originally just supposed to stand for me at 15 years old, but it’s becoming apparent the assigned title of “Fifteen” is supposed to stand for multiple ages, between maybe 13-17ish. “Twenty” covers maybe 18-21 instead of just 20. And so on.
Those are huge blocks of time. So many things happened in between.
Me, “Fifteen” who is representing all those years, cannot possibly represent it correctly. The way to most accurately capture our history is to break our age blocks up into smaller and smaller amounts.
So, “Fifteen” (my label) should only encompass the year when we were 15 years old, and the other years get their own names as well (Thirteen, Fourteen, etc).
Until we do that, we’re just getting a very choppy, chunky, inaccurate representation of what really happened in our past.
So many things happened during my assigned block of time, that I sometimes don’t know what to write or how to respond. As we’ve been delving into this, I feel like there are three or four or five different ways that I feel because there are that many “people/younger selves” within the ages I’m supposed to represent.
It’s a bit paradoxical, but only by breaking my parts into smaller and smaller pieces can a smooth, continuous whole be achieved. It’s like a softening of extremes. No more sharp edges.
Another way to put it: I can also think of myself/life as a circle.
A circle has an infinite number of sides. If I just break up my life up into five or so segments (or however many we have now), I’ll have a pentagon.
As I increase the number of sides, the representation becomes more and more circular. Only until I have an infinite number of sides that I will truly be able to represent myself/life.
All of this just has me on the verge of hyperventilating because that is just too much.
It’s too much work. This project and the number of younger selves is already hard to keep track of sometimes. How am I supposed to keep track of this? Who is even speaking or writing this right now? What age am I?
At the same time, creating more “selves” is also comforting.
Trying to figure out how to write from this age when there are so many conflicting ages within that block is frustrating sometimes because I feel like I’m making myself more extreme or something. Like if I’m being forced to play a certain role within a play.
It’s going to be a lot of housekeeping, though. Which is boring and tedious.
I’ll have to maybe make a timeline to take stock of what was going on at each year in my life so I can determine who I was then, as well as major events or changes that might have caused fragments within a single year.
I’ve already had some success using Pinterest.
I’ve created a board for each age and then pinned things that remind me of that age. That’s actually what kind of got these wheels turning, because conflicting pictures were going onto the same board when they should have been kept separate.
I’m so tired after all of that.
OK, so number 2: Stuff that was upsetting
I/we went to the hospital today for the health check needed for a work visa. So many memories came back. I was kind of shuddering a bit sometimes, but mostly just a bit zoning out. But then, when I had to go into the dressing room to put on a gown, I just started shaking and almost started crying.
It caught me off guard.
Everything happened so long ago. It’s been over 2.5 years since I was a patient in a hospital. I thought a lot of that baggage was gone.
This kind of made me feel a bit… I don’t know the word. Disappointed?
I thought I had moved on more than that. That this thing still has a hold on me makes me so angry and sad. It’s not fair that it took away so much from me at the time, it continuing to do so is so painful.
Maybe it’s because everything in the hospital was all in a foreign language and I was just sort of in a state of confusion for a lot of it not really knowing what I was supposed to be doing and sort of bouncing around from room to room and then people giving me instructions and me not knowing what was happening and then them unexpectedly touching me and it all being so fast and brisk that it happened and then I’m just like, wait what? What did you just do? And then being told it’s over, NEXT!
Having to put on a gown was another thing. It felt so degrading and all too familiar.
I had to do that in treatment every morning, put on a gown and step onto a scale backwards. Today, I had to take off my clothes and put them in a basket. There were men there. I don’t know why, but it made me uncomfortable that they were there. I don’t know why. I just didn’t like it.
Now I need to go out and be social.
Yes, social. As in be a person. Some people I met want me to go with them somewhere.
I’m just so tired, I just want to curl up into a ball with M&Ms and cry.
But I also don’t want to be alone. These people are foreigners like me. It’s weird to be around people like me after so long. I feel afraid because they can see who I am and know if I do something weird and not write it off as cultural differences.
I am just going. This is stupid. Enough with the dramatics.
Let’s do this.