flashback to a warm spring day in eureka. i am in the second grade. this day is an early dismissal day. that means all grades get released a the same time. finish setting up the scene, one block south from school on a grassy patch, corner of park and john hill.
for some reason unbeknownst to me, to this day, i beat the crap out of my best friend greg. i had a year on him; at that age that makes quite a difference. i just sad on him and wailed on him. our friend jesse needed to be constrained by two sixth graders, thank god for that, otherwise i would have been the one on the bottom being beat to a pulp.
i left victorious feeling like a champion boxer, running away with my arms upraised. a rub down awaited me upon arriving home to the neighborhood.
as i tried to put distance between what happened in that triumphant moment in the days that followed, i could not put out of my mind what i had done to my near defenseless friend.
i vowed to change. i pledged to myself to never inflict pain like that again. i also promised to become passive.
fast forward two or three years, neighborhood kids being neighborhood kids play fighting. not being scofflaws, the thought of wrongdoing barely entered our mind. joey, a boy two years my junior and i were just screwing around. then the play turned more serious and i found myself in an all out fight.
joey didn’t possess great strength or speed. if i wanted to, i could of easily fought him to a draw or likely won. i flashed to my vow, my promise, “never inflict pain.” on top of that, passivity kicked in. the results were the same, just the names were different. i now found myself on the bottom getting the crap beat out of me. in retrospective i can say i became passive to a fault.
since that day, my passive vow has centered around my emotional well being. if an emotion i experience could be potentially hurtful if expressed to someone else, i return to the bottom of the fight. the emotion goes unexpressed because it might be construed as hurtful. it gets held in, hurting myself. in my struggle, i once again become defenseless and let myself get beat up, by myself in this instance. the emotion, whatever it is, gets stuffed away for unsafe keeping. through this process i wound myself again and again. and with each lost battle, i convince myself further and further, that i am incapable of sharing emotions. my emotions become a steaming pile, and i find less and less value in them. with that, i sink further and further into depression.
at times i’ve thought of trying to track down greg, some 43 years later, to make amends for that fateful day. the thing is it is probably me who got hurt most by that day since it still haunts me with nearly half a century gone by.
this passivity born out of that spring day in eureka is one of the keys to my depression. though at times, i have made some progress in this area, the key remains lost on the corner of park and john hill.