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Sunday, February 14, 2016

i am a sociopath

I am a sociopath

Hello all, my name is Jason Thomas and to some degree I’m sociopathic. Here's my opinion of what that means from my perspective:
I don't know that I feel, but I think I know how to feel.

I am verbose and wordy, there are times when I won't or can't stop talking (it takes a good three drinks, sometimes a buzz). You would never know the inner dialogue happening in my head that doesn’t end. Less than 1/10 of the words thought or conversations created internally ever reach my vocal cords.

I am this way due to the tragic loss of my mother from our family when I was 11 years old and in the seventh grade. She didn't pass on a leap year, but sometimes I wish she had, instead of on February, 28th, just so the day didn't come around every year.

Some back story: my sister and I had wonderful childhoods, we just had to grow up way too soon. My parents both met and retired from the USAF. Mother was a lab technician, to some degree she worked or ran the lab, and I say that because I have at least three bad memories of mom bringing me to work a few times.

We lived in Nebraska on a street with a hill, I remember walking up that street on a pretty day, and walking down it on a snowy winter day. Apple trees in the backyard, we had two dogs named Christie and Noel, one a beautiful dalmatian the other a spunky little black terrier.

That's when my earliest memories are from, from making noises in my crib? And just playing with low noises in my vocal cords until mom or dad would come pull me out. Mom would often start drinking a cup of coffee, she'd make me a small cup of lesser strength to drink while she drank hers.

I'm not going to lie and say I wasn't, but I was and still to some extent today am a momma's boy. My friendship with friend's mothers is different than my and that friend's relationship.

Mother retired and father continued to be active because he had joined much later than she had. He spent a year in south Korea, when us three remaining packed up and went to south Louisiana to live at grandmother's for a year. 

After that we spent 3 years living in paradise at Hickam air force base in Hawaii. Most days you had to go swimming at the pool because the beach was a little bit farther away, but every day was beautiful. 

From there my father was reassigned to Barksdale afb in Bossier City Louisiana.

I don't know how long my mother had been a smoker, but I think it was ultimately what led to her cancer. She didn't wean herself off cigarettes until we began living in Bossier City, because by that time she'd outgrown her addiction to them.

Before we knew what she had, my mother would get piercing, blinding, headaches from anywhere to 30 seconds to a minute. After she got those headaches, she went to the doctor and was diagnosed with breast cancer. I could have been no older than 9 by the time that happened. Maybe 8. My sister and I were never told how bad her diagnosis was, but often times I think she didn't have good odds from the beginning. My mother had a mastectomy performed to remove her breasts, and I remember days after she came home she began losing feeling in her feet. You see, the cancer had spread throughout her body, and to my knowledge what was responsible for the loss of feeling was a tumor or growth on her spine.

My favorite person in the world lost the ability to walk. The next many months she would spend time between at least 2 rehab centers on the south side of Shreveport. My father drove that thirty minute drive every afternoon after work, at least that’s what my memory remembers. I wish I had gone to see her more often, but I preferred to spend my afternoons riding a bicycle around neighborhoods. No hands on the handle bars, just hands in my pockets balancing, going nowhere in particular. Chasing an escape almost, wanting to be in any reality but mine. In her hospital room, I had learned how to hold a wheelie in her wheel chair much the same way I’d cruise up and down streets on the bike. No hands required, just focused on pursuit. In those afternoon to evening visits, we'd sit together and I was playing around the room in her hospital issued wheel chair.

Mother was there until her doctors decided to let her come home to pass peacefully.

I helped my father demolish his bathroom before she came home to retro fit it to make it handicap accessible. At that time and in that place, I really enjoyed destroying that old nearly seafoam green shower tiles. Standing in the shower with a hammer and just destroying it. It was a labor of love, and one that required hard work and I enjoyed doing it.

Mother came home, I would go to school. She'd been a fan of Star trek and the show series Highlander all my life, and I think she would watch her shows while spending a little bit of time with each of the three cats we had at that time.

I have some awful memories of not helping my mother enough at that time in her or my life, I was angry about my dying mother and happy to ignore her when she'd ask for help with something. That thought today makes me angry and sad, that I could have done more for the best person I ever knew.

Family had collected around, and my mother's best friend who I call Aunt Sue (no relation). One night my father's father asked me to spend the night with him at his RV, and I jumped at the opportunity. I'd said goodnight to my mother before leaving and she was still Darlene LeBlanc Thomas that night.

I didn't know that coming back the next day, after a great night hanging out with Papa Tom, that  would never seen the mother I'd known all my life again. My beautiful mother, covered in freckles and with a smile that'd light up a room.

I know why I'm sociopathic. Because during my formulative years my heart was broken.
The morning mom passed, I woke up and had the feeling you have when you’re the last person to arrive to anywhere or thing. I woke up intending to go to school, but instead woke up to hugs and crying about somebody who's life had left her slowly and then quickly over a span of maybe two years. Dad offered the chance to skip school that day, and I jumped at the opportunity. I’m almost certain I wouldn't have made it at school that day. My world as I'd known it had been snuffed.

That day I remember her passing, having the chance to not go to school, eating Mexican food for lunch with Dad and Papa Tom, and a softball game that evening where my sister played shortstop or second base. She had gone to school that day and told her friends about it, and when they saw me they immediately hugged me. It's a warm thought. It was getting dark and the game wasn't engaging as an audience member, and I told my father I'd decided to walk on home to where Aunt Sue was hanging out. I remember walking home from what was then my middle school, an every day occurrence after school, and walking home down the long road of Waller avenue, which wasn’t the normal afternoon route. I remember feeling empty on that walk home.

By the time I'd made it home, I think I had cried myself out and decided what would become instinct over the next many years. Saying "I'm alright," and doing or trying to a mask on. Sue was sitting on a couch when I walked in, we might have talked a little bit, but I don't remember any of that.

I pulled into my shell at that time, to protect me I imagine. 
My father did the same thing, probably for the same reason. 
My sister, 14 at the time, turned to her friends with less than alright results. Drinking and getting drunk at every chance, and smoking cigarettes as a way to escape the pain she felt. (Stop smoking Sarah, or I'll kill you before they do.)

My dad doesn't like to drink very much and I have an alright understanding of why. It's a good reason. 

I discovered his unused collection of booze early into high school and would drink it to try and feel something. (No I didn't drink your booze that night Sarah saved me when drunk. I had emptied your cabinet months in advance, and over a longer period of time.) I remember my freshman year homecoming dance, I'd brought a flask to the dance and showed some guys and we all had a little drink in the bathroom at least twice that night. My favorite teacher in the world is a wonderful Egnlish teacher who had the misfortune of landing me in her class that same freshman year, at least thrice I’d brought alcohol to school, gotten drunk in first block, and suffered through until lunch when the food sobered me.

Earlier up I mentioned wearing a mask. I do do that. My personality changes to gain favor or sway with people. It’s easy to do that when you’re an emotional blank wall that applies color to wash it off when a new color is preferred.

In an environment with people I don't know like the back of my hand, I critically think about every word said they say, how they say it, their inflection and pauses, and excitement or lack of when speaking. I keep a running tally of what my over-thinking brain assesses when it's said. Talking or not, I critically think about what you say and how you say to think of how I can change my tone, angle of speech, or choice of words to get what I may want out of you or from you.

I don't think that's bad, but don’t see it as necessarily good either. That's what the young me did to make it through one day to the next.

Why did I write this? Because I wanted to. It felt necessary to tell a little bit of a story I keep bottled up, from my perspective, and I wanted to get it out in the air.

1 comment:

  1. It's always great to write. So glad to have gotten to read this. Keep on writting Jason. About everything. We will keep on reading.