Well, it's taken me almost two moths to hit post #1000 after post #999. This is due to both the fact that I've basically turned into a lurker because I've been busier than normal lately and because I've been putting off writing a landmark.
My given name is Darryl Arthur Armstrong. I was born in Lancaster, Pennsylvania on November 13, 1980 and have lived around that city my entire life, although I love to travel whenever I get the chance.
Growing up I never had many friends. When I was young, my parents were never controlling, but they were very overprotective. When I entered grade school, I can't say that I knew anyone outside of my family. My lack of social skills and my speech problems (I had trouble pronouncing six letters and it wasn't until third grade that I could finally pronounce the letter "R." This was particularly embarrassing because I'd always introduce myself as "Dawil.") allowed me the priveledge of serving as the class punching-bag (even a couple of the girls stole food and my piece of carpet for nap time. The first few years of school my only friend was another social misfit, a boy with a cleft palate.
After my first grade teacher had a conference with my parents and told them I was "too good" and that she'd find out what was wrong with me, I made the mistake of pointing at a lunch box with my middle finger. At the time, I had no idea what giving the middle finger meant, but my teacher insisted that I knew what I was doing and made me sit inside and work on homework for an entire week instead of going out to recess. It wasn't until middle school that I finally figured out what I had done.
All of this affected me in ways I didn't realize at the time. In middle school, when I finally began to socialize, I craved after attention to the point that I would cry if my friends cancelled plans with me. Then, later in high school I realized that I have a deep distrust of people in general. I have to force myself to interact with others because I'm afraid they just want to hurt me.
At the same time, growing up, I was a happy child. I had a stable home life and I spent most of my evenings in happily reading. By the time I had reached third and fourth grades, I was reading history and political books and I had already developed an interest in the questions of philosophy. I always got A's on my tests in school, but I rarely did my homework unless it was to write an essay because I found it pointless.
In forth grade my teacher gave me a very colorful world map which I studied religiously over the summer. By the next school year I had every nation of the world's name and location memorized along with all the major topographic landmarks. I wasn't really all that smart, but I had a good memory, I read anything that had words written on it, and I was curious about everything. In fact, the one thing that truly scares me is the day I'm not interested in learning something new.
During middle school and high school, my parents went through a particularly strange fanatical religious phase. They believed the rapture was going to take place before I ever graduated from high school and never encouraged me to prepare for the future. Some part of me believed my parents knew what they were talking about (sometimes I'm still left in shock because when Iwas a child I believed grown-ups knew what they were doing -- the older I get, the more I realize everyone is just winging it). And so I resigned myself to the idea that I'd never have a "life."
During my junior and senior years at the private Christian school I attended I went through my great disillusionment with everyone and everything. My parents, my school, my church, my religion, my friends, my assumptions about the world -- these were all shaken and I was left with a great void. I didn't know what to do. On top of that, I desperately wanted a girlfriend but I didn't feel like I connected on an intellectual level to any girls. Of course, I didn't feel as if I connected on an intellectual level with more than a handful of guys either.
I graduated and I didn't apply to any college. I worked off and on at various jobs. I read fantasy and science fiction and philosophy. I bought a lot of music. I tried to create a plan for my life. And I felt depressed.
Eventually, a little over a year ago, I dropped out of college after a year because I was in such a catatonic state I hadn't left my friend's house for over a week. I went to see my doctor and he put me on medication. After trying a few that all seemed to throw my mood around wildly, I decided to give myself a good strong kick in the rear-end and just beat myself into submission.
Honestly, I'm not sure what my psychological problems are. My family has a history of anxiety problems, I've been diagnosed with clinical depression from one doctor and as being bi-polar from another. I don't want to rely on drugs to allow me to function. That's just the way I feel. So far I've been doing well.
It's been slow going, but I've been working at my video store for a year now. I'm assistant manager. It's been about six months since I've felt really down. Some days I wake up and feel really bad, but I just push myself through it. Two months ago I started dating a girl I met there. She just got a job as a reporter for a newspaper two counties away. It's a two hour ride to see her now, but it's worth the trip. Three weeks ago I quit smoking.
Not everything is so great though. My dad has just been diagnosed with brain cancer. He's going to go for a second opinion and a biopsy this week. I'm really concerned about my mom -- she's taking it really hard. Also, I need to find a new job (our store just doesn't have room to grow) and I need to get a new car.
I finally put up a web page which I update infrequently, if you want to drop by. I'm hoping to start a web site devoted to film discussion from an analytical standpoint. Something that will encourage people to view and discuss film as art. I've skipped a lot about my life and I've skimmed over many parts, but if you're still reading, thanks! Hatrack has been a wonderful place to stop by and visit. I've been priveldged to actually meet some of you, and the rest I've been priveldged to read -- I consider you all my friends and if you're ever in my neck of the woods feel free to contact me and I'll roll out the red carpet!
So, here's to my thousandth post and to many more!
I love you guys! (And a special thank you to the Cards for making this place possible!)
I just started reading the short story on your website about the asteroid. I often wonder what we are supposed to do while waiting for the rapture or for asteroids. Should I even bother saving for retirement? I wish somebody would start a thread about how people plan for a future that they may not live to see.
Posts: 2655 | Registered: Feb 2004
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skillery, good questions. I wrote that for last year's Phobos contest -- I think the two breakaway sections need to be re-written or cut out entirely, but I kinda like it otherwise (can I say that about my own work? ).
Posts: 1295 | Registered: Jan 2003
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quote: sometimes I'm still left in shock because when I was a child I believed grown-ups knew what they were doing -- the older I get, the more I realize everyone is just winging it
Oh no! And I was waiting for that moment when all would become clear to me!
Really, I was like that too... And yeah, the older I get, the more the people around me seem to do exactly what you're saying: no BIG PLAN, only living from day to day, learning as they go along, and the next day forgetting what they learned... I'm still not comfortable living like that myselft, though that's pretty much how I do it too...
Anyway, I'm glad I got to read your landmark, and I'm also glad you're back! And go on, have a life!
Posts: 4519 | Registered: Sep 2003
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Thanks for sharing, Godric. And I don't think you will have to worry about running out of things to learn about. Though I guess it was more the desire that concerned you.
Posts: 11002 | Registered: Apr 2003
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I'm a horrible person-- I still haven't replied to your email. But I think about it a lot
I'm glad you've written a landmark for us. I really hope that you get to visit the Boston crowd again someday. And I feel for you -- my favoritest person in the world has brain cancer (and well, we're getting down to the end of his expected three months), my mom's dad. I wish I could be there for my mother, but I'm stuck at school >.< Anyway, hugs to you and your family
Congrats on quitting smoking, that's quite an accomplishment
Thanks again for sharing, you're an awesome person ^^
I totally sympathize with the middle finger thing...I too had a teacher who was convinced that I meant something bad when i used the word "molest" in a class activity (really, i had just learned the word a few days prior from reading it on a poster on a teacher's door ((it listed different words for "badger,bother, etc...")) )
quote:Some part of me believed my parents knew what they were talking about (sometimes I'm still left in shock because when Iwas a child I believed grown-ups knew what they were doing -- the older I get, the more I realize everyone is just winging it).
The world becomes so different, doesn't it? Like looking down and realizing that you're pulling a Wile E. Coyote over a wide open canyon. As you keep getting more experience and find stable other relationships, I think it gets easier. Always a bit like standing on a rocking ship, though.
I'm sorry to hear about your dad. Take care of yourself, especially with the coming shorter days and less sunlight. Makes it hard on depression.
Nice landmark, Godric. I can relate to a lot of what you've gone through.
By the way, I've moved much closer to you since we did the museum thing in Baltimore. I'm in Hanover, PA now. (practically just down the road). Know any good museums in the area? We should get together again.
Myr: It would be great to see the Boston group again. I probably won't be doing any travelling for awhile, but I will let you know if I'm coming up that way. You're a pretty awesome person yourself!
Leo: Wow. Shame on you for expanding your vocabulary...
Sara: Yes, while Fall is my favorite season, it is also when I usually start feeling the worst. So far I'm doing OK this year. Thanks for the words of support.
Karl: Wow. Hanover is just a hop, skip and a jump away. Actually, it's right inbetween where I live and where my girlfriend just moved. That would be great to see you again -- maybe I can give you a couple books this time. As for museums, I usually go to big cities for them (Baltimore, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia) -- or are we counting Civil War museums and Amish Wax museums as well?
Good news about my dad's condition. He was misdiagnosed! He does have cancer, but it's skin cancer, not brain cancer. Although it's still serious (and located on his head), the prospects are not quite as dire. Now we're just having to jump through Medicare hoops to get surgery set up...
Posts: 1295 | Registered: Jan 2003
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I'm up for any museum, but Civil War and Amish Wax are relatively low on my excitement meter. But drop me an email note next time you're heading down this way. I'll show you my new place and maybe we can plan a museum trip to either Philly or Pittsburgh.
Posts: 6392 | Registered: Dec 1999
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