This one is not planned; the first two were. It took me so long to get it just right before; so many memories that needed to be told delicately. This one’s gonna be from “the seat of my pants.” I don’t exactly understand why that one was the usual said to me when I didn’t use my brain like they do. This one is about my love of books and my obnoxious sense to tell others what I have read, since 5.
Many of them were in the free box outside at the library. The one’s my friends would recommend, you know, the librarians. Others were purchased during the annual book sale. My first was the DSM-4, now DSM-5, because my mom was diagnosed, and I wanted to know why; always the why. This is your last chance to give up and not read the rest of this crazy.
If you dare, you must finish to the end, or you won’t get the reason for the “rant” of this title. So here I go:
When the world decides that it has had enough of you, where do you go? What space can you fill without the feeling of being in the way all the time. “Be useful or be still,” still ringing in my little ears. Books are where I found my space. My own world inside a not always, small package. The need to find my peace of heaven.
You read that right, peace. It’s supposed to be all gold roads and “Hallelujah” but what space can I occupy there that will allow me to flail my body or jump around for no reason, but that my salad is yummy? Or the space where I can cry because I need to from being overstimulated from loud noises? This list will continue throughout my life to grow longer as I realized that my space isn’t within the constructs of this world; it never will be. Y’all like to call us, “Old souls.”
My mind: best place to hide things because everyone is always saying it’s empty knowledge. Spouting statistical facts is empty knowledge when it’s not relevant; I was hardly relevant. So, I became useful and relevant when reading the books no one else wants to read but need to read to get the job done. Teaching myself things no one at the age of 6 should. Like baking, hunting, anything to do with car manuals and music lyrics.
The craziest to date is completing a BAR exam at 12, submitting said exam and eagerly waiting for my results. They actually did send a letter. Said I needed to wait a few years and not use the book next time; funny it was only a prep book for the test I took. The prep book led me to read 10 other books relevant to the prep book, because honestly, I didn’t get the questions without context. So, in one summer, I passed the BAR but never completed the years of education to go with it.
Then comes the shutdown of my pre-teen years. The people in my life that didn’t want to hear about my day of books. I would sit in my room, sit at the park, sit at recess and read. I started to write down my own form of slam poetry after watching it on MTV late night by junior high. My first two years of high school, i attended Coalinga High, and they were my toughest crowd.
These people dealt with my crazy weird questions and obnoxious statistical facts for over a decade before the year I left. Many just ignored me but I was that lucky to have an asshole teacher two years in a row that ended my life in Coalinga, three months into my junior year. He pushed me to my limit, and I snapped. I put my mind to it and did everything I never did before; skipped school, smoked, drank, did drugs and gave no fucks. No one ever got to read my stories then, not until my second high school.
I took creative writing the rest of my junior year, attending Nevada Union in Nevada City, CA. At this time, I was dealing with passing out due to a miscarriage; I had no idea was I pregnant. Nothing about me was normal, my menstrual cycle was top 5. Books don’t really explain the logistics found in a high school library. I was just trying to survive the level of expectation on me at that time.
Walking miles by the end of the day, big ass school, then miles to get back to town to hang out with friends. Classwork wasn’t easy either, too many jumps from AP classes in Coalinga to upper education AP classes at NU. The books were heavy and required daily usage, though I never used them in class. During that creative writing class, I thrived. Oh yeah, when I say BOOKS, I mean everything; comics, manuals, poetry, but nonfiction was my favorite.
That class rocked. I mean, I got to write some of my favorite stuff for assignments that took me 15 mins off the top of my head. Most of it is plagiarized if you count lyrics of pop songs in the late 90’s. The one that got me pulled into the principal’s office and guidance counselor was the hardest to share. A story of a girl cleaning up her own blood after her rich abusive husband knocked her teeth out.
This one was emotionally charged but exaggerated to the extreme I was tasked to do in the assignment. By my junior year I finished a book of short stories and slam poetry. I put my ass out there and published it for my senior project. Overcompensating without having a clue that I had to have the book okayed by a teacher and it wasn’t in the end.
Instead I created a skin tight skirt out of used material and applied to a fashion designer school. Then there was the longest shut down of my life. Slowly throughout my relationships, my reading became an issue. If it wasn’t for the lack of trying, I quit; I stopped reading all together. I tried even harder to join in the groupie life and start being a part of the party.
This killed me so I started listening to self-help books in my late 20’s while driving; totally alone. These podcasts can be found on spotify. Singing at the top of my lungs doing warm ups on the way to karaoke every Wednesday night after working all day in the bar. These helped me find a new peace.
A place within myself that allowed me to heal that parts of me others wanted to stay damaged goods. By my early 30’s I was doing for those I had done for so many; giving them a shoulder to rest on while pushing them to continue. Find their peace within their own madness and defeat their demons or leave their toxic significant other. An escape from the reality they have awoken too after years of depression, anxiety, pent up rage and any other reason you’ve had enough of yourself and those who put you there. These moments are the hardest, alone.
I have recently self diagnosed Autism Level 1 disorder. This has been on the back of my tongue for years with developmental issues as a child that are surfacing now as I unpack my many layers of this dead onion I stuffed in my forget box. This is one label I take with pride, my missing piece to my peace. The final “why?” answered with a list of disorders to boot. Formally known as Aspergers, named after a horrific man and a sad story I’d rather not share with y’all.
I want to end this where it started. Ask yourself, what is your peace within yourself? What do you do to unwind the twine from around your throat that you’ve allowed others to drape you with. How do you take back the power you loaned out to those who “pop in and see how you are.” These are the assholes we let dictate a portion of who we are on a daily basis.
These assholes want nothing more than to poison the well of confidence they see in you. Grab your peace and show them that there is no fight with you. As music can “soothe the soul of any a man” I share with you the beautiful lyrics of a beautiful soul, EMMY and her hit song, STUPID BIG TEETH.
“When you first met me/ that girl wasn’t me/ She had my same blue eyes and my stupid big teeth/”Spotify
and that’s just the beginning. The song goes on to talk about how someone who is growing and changing is not a competition.
So I will leave you here. Searching deep within yourself for your peace and see you shed the weight of self care. We all need our piece of the pie, or your Graceland. We all need to know that when shit hits the literal fan, we can find a space in the world that will bring us joy before this floating rock does its thing. Take the time to appreciate why your so fucking tired all the time; roll in bed a few more times and let the world do its thing for a minute.
Oh, yeah. The title is based on my favorite shit talking smack down. I am 6 foot tall. It’s shut down a few “Big Billy” tough guys for years. I now usually say it to actual 12 year old’s. Hope that was worth reading the whole thing.
Until the next one…
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