Thirty Days of Truth: Day Eight

Thirty Days of Truth. Thirty of them. Today is Day Eight, and it contains a swear.

Day 08: Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

It's pretty safe to say that no one has literally made my life hell. I can't even picture how any person could summon the alchemical wit to refurnish that random stream of events locked down by my consciousness into a metaphysical region for the punishment of souls. That doesn't make sense.

It's equally nonsensical to talk about someone treating me like shit. No one's ever pushed me out of an anus or flushed me down a toilet. No one's buried in me a pit in a field or run me through a waste treatment plant. No one's ever thrown me bodily into the Halifax Harbour. No one has ever tied me up in a plastic bag and taken me to school, like Dave Gallagher did one day on a bet.

If I interpret the phrase more loosely to mean someone who has treated me poorly or made me miserable, then we find a small but dedicated crowd spread out over the years. Some were bullies who thought, just because I was an undersized know-it-all brat, that I deserved a bit of terror and low-grade humiliation on my walk home from school. Some were friends or girlfriends or roommates whose occasional missions into shitty territories were more than redeemed by moments of laughter or friendship - and in the case of girlfriends, their endearing habit of having sex with me.

Now all my girlfriends are exes and undoubtedly regretting all the moments that they could have had sex with me but chose some unfathomably selfish act instead, like going to sleep or leaving me. Who's laughing now, ex-girlfriends? Jimmy Fallon, that's who. Every time he stares at the camera and laughs at one of his own jokes before he gets 1/3 of the way through the joke I wonder if someone has taken the thread of my life and woven it into a net for evil souls sharking through the ether.

The first person who ever made my life hell was my teacher for the first half of grade three. Her name was Sharon Houghton, and in my memory she is forever caught in the disco amber of 1979, standing at a chalkboard in our high-ceilinged classroom, wearing a light purple polyester pantsuit and pearls, teaching us all the benefits of cursive writing and telling everyone in the most precise of tones that #2 pencils, and #2 pencils only, were to be used in her classroom. She pronounced 'majority' as 'majurity', marked no assignment higher than an 'excellent minus' and despised the entire stinking lot of us.

I think, although I cannot be sure, that she had a particular dislike for me because my parents insisted that I was a gifted student who needed special instruction. Something deep in Mrs. Houghton's core curdled at the presumption of these people who believed that their child was in any way exceptional. So she went out of her way to tell me in front of the class that I was not exceptional, and that in fact I was not nearly as smart as my parents believed. None of this stopped the school from testing me and giving me advanced English language study, which made Mrs. Houghton ever more disgusted. I don't think it made her angry so much as it dug a moat of flaming pitch around the castle of her misanthropy.

She told me that I was slow in front of the class one day, which sent me home in confused tears. The funny thing is that she was right in some ways - I was slow. Not in the sense that I was learning disabled, but it took me forever to do the simplest things, from writing a line in cursive to tying my shoelaces. Mrs. Houghton was only satisfied if we fell into line and performed precisely in accordance with her program. My slowness probably struck her as stupidity or laziness, and my advanced work, which was neither assigned nor graded by her, probably felt like an insult. Which I hope stung her like a spoonful of bees.

I couldn't explain it then, but I lived differently in time from everyone else. What seemed perfectly paced to me was minutely slow to an outside observer. My actions were and are so interleaved with interior moments, with reflection and reimagining and random invention, that it's hard for me stay present. Instead I arrive late for wandering off the path, and it is my hope that in those wanderings I find new paths to take.

***

Day 01 → Something you hate about yourself.
Day 02 → Something you love about yourself.
Day 03 → Something you have to forgive yourself for.
Day 04 → Something you have to forgive someone for.
Day 05 → Something you hope to do in your life.
Day 06 → Something you hope you never have to do.
Day 07 → Someone who has made your life worth living for.
Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.
Day 09 → Someone you didn’t want to let go, but just drifted.
Day 10 → Someone you need to let go, or wish you didn’t know.
Day 11 → Something people seem to compliment you the most on.
Day 12 → Something you never get compliments on.
Day 13 → A band or artist that has gotten you through some tough ass days. (write a letter.)
Day 14 → A hero that has let you down. (letter)
Day 15 → Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.
Day 16 → Someone or something you definitely could live without.
Day 17 → A book you’ve read that changed your views on something.
Day 18 → Your views on gay marriage.
Day 19 → What do you think of religion? Or what do you think of politics?
Day 20 → Your views on drugs and alcohol.
Day 21 → (scenario) Your best friend is in a car accident and you two got into a fight an hour before. What do you do?
Day 22 → Something you wish you hadn’t done in your life.
Day 23 → Something you wish you had done in your life.
Day 24 → Make a playlist to someone, and explain why you chose all the songs. (Just post the titles and artists and letter)
Day 25 → The reason you believe you’re still alive today.
Day 26 → Have you ever thought about giving up on life? If so, when and why?
Day 27 → What’s the best thing going for you right now?
Day 28 → What if you were pregnant or got someone pregnant, what would you do?
Day 29 → Something you hope to change about yourself. And why.
Day 30 → A letter to yourself, tell yourself EVERYTHING you love about yourself