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11:42 p.m. - 2004-12-07
Searching for \"The Story\", Part I
First of all, to all the people who keep Googling "How to Beat Jewel Quest"'s not complicated. Sit there for hours playing the stupid fucking game until you get lucky. And don't close it, ever. You lose extra men that way.

Next. (Skip this if you're not addicted to America's Biggest Loser...) I have thought that Mo was gonna get kicked to the curb for like the last three weeks, and it hasn't happened yet. Watching the dynamics on this show is so interesting. Before now, it hasn't been as much about the "game" as it has people all supporting each other. Now, though, we're beginning to see some of the issues these people have. We're beginning to see them really being shitty. Which is cool, in a way, and sucks, in a way. The reason I started watching this show was that I'm doing the weight-loss thing. The reason I got addicted is that I identify so much with what they're saying. But the whole supportive atmosphere vanishing is really an interesting development. Here's why. I think that, as a whole, fat who are trying to lose weight will give props and support to other fat people trying to lose weight. At the same time, though, you sometimes, just sometimes, succumb to schadenfreude. You want to succeed, but you also want to see them fail. You want to see that they are struggling and that you are doing better than they are. This is an evil junior high impulse, and in the real world, you would never voice this, and it would pass. On this show, though, it's definitely a double-edged sword that is starting to cut deeper and deeper. All of them want to lose. All of them, deep down, want each other to lose and want everyone to achieve their goals. However, because of the contest factor, they have to listen to that little demon and vote based on what it says. Up till tonight, the people they got rid of were pretty much the ones who needed to go. Now, though, it's not cutting off dead's cutting off live flesh. (Okay, that's this week's pondering on ABL, now back to my original programming.)

BFRB shared a story tonight that, as well as I know her, I've never heard. I'm not going to repeat it, because it's not my story, and she can tell it in her own diary if she ever wants to. What it did, though, was make me really think of a quotation from Claudia Shear's Blown Sideways Through Life: "Everybody has a story. And everybody has at least one story that will stop your heart."

For the last week or so, some of the folks I read regularly have been posting some very heavy shit. Childhood shit. Things from the past. Stop your heart stories, in other words. So, of course, this has me thinking. If someone asked me to tell them my heart-stopping story....could I? Reading all these reflections and memories has made me realize that, as horrible as I thought my childhood was at the time, and as awful as I thought it was through much of my early twenties, I really didn't have it that bad. Which, in turn, makes me wonder if I'm just succumbing to the rose-colored glasses of age and experience (that is, blocking out the bad shit and only remembering that I was not beaten, molested, starved, or neglected, so it must be okay, right?)

I've never really allowed myself to contemplate this before. I clung to the idea that wounds from the past, deeply inflicted, have produced the scar tissue that makes me who I am. I have embraced the idea that I have overcome the huge obstacle of my childhood and become this strong person that I am. The problem is, the longer I live, the more I realize that, while my earlier life experiences may be equivalent to say, a few first-degree burns, with the occasional second-degree thrown in, the experiences of many others would be analogous to third degree burns over much of the body, complete with skin grafts, infections, and permanent scarring.

I guess that, no matter how bad it was or was not, I was the one who lived it. At the time, as a child, you have no frame of reference.... no matter how many books you read, no matter how many friends whisper their darkest secrets to you at three a.m. with the light from the TV flickering across your faces as it plays a movie you're not supposed to be watching.

Amy Hempel wrote a short story called "The Harvest" about a girl who exaggerates the bad experiences of her life in the retelling. Of course, the cynic in me wonders if that's not what's up in a lot of diaries...people making the stories of their lives more heart-stopping, when really, it's more like a minor atrial flutter. But the other part of me reminds the cynic that perception is reality. If the events that happened in your life were perceived and remembered a certain way by you, that is what shaped who you are. Even if the things that were said or done by family members were not perhaps meant the way they occurred, the perception in your mind is what does the damage. It doesn't matter if someone goes back and tells you later that the reality was very different. It doesn't matter if you hear a story that might cause instant fatality rather than a touch-and-go recovery in ICU.

I'm not going to write about my contenders for the heart-stopping story tonight. I'm not even sure I want to write about them at all, truthfully. I need to. I need to face those skeletons in the closet. I need to smell and see and touch and taste them. I need to realize that maybe they're not as bad as I've made myself believe....or maybe they're worse, and I need to know just how far I've traveled up that river in Egypt. Right now, though, it's almost midnight, and I do need to sleep at some point (although I'm guessing that may require some assistance tonight, because I'm in one of those "brain won't shut up thinky moods").

So stay tuned for previews from tomorrow's episode.



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