Wednesday, February 3, 2010

At A Loss

Some people are social butterflies. I am a snail. Or maybe a tortoise. I’m not slimy, but I’m not convinced that slow and steady wins the race, either.

My misguided philosophy as a teen was shit or be shat on. Don’t steal that; I want to put it on a t-shirt. The attitude served me well in grade nine when we were all sizing each other up. Looking back, I see why adults tried to enlighten me about the colour grey.

Grey is beautiful. It makes my eyes pop. And there’s that whole vast-world-between-black-and-white thing, too. We all live there, though we don’t always know it or like it. Murder can be self-defence, stolen food can be fed to hungry children and adultery can stem from a loveless marriage.

Grey can be dark. It’s why gay couples are still denied the same rights as other couples in many parts of the world; it is racism passed down from generation to generation; and women in burkas.

Those abstract ideas and those moral decisions, easily debated over coffee, were the closest I got to grey in my teens. I never had to shoot a gun in self-defence or fear that going bare-faced would evoke the inevitable lust of a man.

I had the energy to think about that stuff because I thought daily life was black and white. She was a bitch to me, so I’ll be a bitch to her. He lied to me, I have to dump him. I skipped too many afternoon classes and I was kicked out of biology.

Then, on the cusp of adulthood, I got sick. A grey-green twister ripped through my life, pulled me into the air and kept me suspended for years. On my best days, I didn’t have the energy to maintain a social life and on my worst days, I didn’t have the capacity to understand intentions. It was hard to make new friends.

I’ve always been a tortoise, though, so I can’t blame my illness for that, just for the stagnant years in my twenties. I was a bookworm, not a hop scotch princess. And when I was seventeen, my girlfriend told a woman that Biggie’s song ‘Me and My Bitch’ was about a dog. I whispered to her, “really?” She rolled her eyes and answered, “ No, not really, Jenn.”

I had a long way to go before I got sick, and I’m way behind now that I’m better.

The twister left me at a loss. My teen strategies are pathetic and ineffective. When I’m insulted, I know snide comments might announce my frustration and possibly make me feel better, but won’t resolve anything. The urge to insult back is the karma crusader in me. Since I vowed to fold the cape, I have to come up with a different strategy.

Grey currently represents a mystery illness that takes away my brain and body functions one after the other. I am terrified to go back into that dark funnel. But I’m not sure that black and white exist.


  1. There are other colors to go toward. Blue. Or yellow. Or pink. Perhaps one of those will be brighter.

    Straight From Hel

  2. I'll go for pink, as long as it doesn't represent the sunset ;)