It’s been a roller coaster fortnight for me. Last week I had all the heavy metal thrills of going to the Download Festival, this week my wife and I have received news that her mother has been sectioned by social services for 28 days. Naturally, this has had a devastating effect on my wife and I’m doing my best to support her. However, it hasn’t left me time to write and at the weekend, we’ll be heading North to Grimsby to see my mother in law. Thank you all for your patience and hopefully, things will return to normal next week.
Everyone gets anxious when a major change happens or is about to happen in their lives. I know I do. Those anxieties increase many fold when that change means and end to something familiar and comfortable to that person and a new beginning into the unknown. The other day that my son, who moved to a new place to start a new job, handled the anxieties behind such a move very well. When he was younger, his anxieties due to such a change would have resulted in brooding and temper tantrums in the days leading up to the change. Needless to say I was quite proud of him when I heard about it. Now if only he’d have his mobile switched on so I can tell him that.
His mother also confessed that she has similar anxieties but she just hid it well. Having been married to her, I can believe that. However, I do remember that she coped with those anxieties much better when we had our big move from London to 200 miles away to our new home in Llanelli, South Wales than what she did eighteen months previous when we only moved a few miles across the East End of London. She had a few wobblies during that move. I conclude that the reason she was much calmer when we made the big move to Wales was because she felt she was actually going home.
I, too, get anxious about change but in a different way. Usually, I am looking forward to the change, it is when that change doesn’t pan out the way I imagined it would that my anxieties go haywire. The biggest one was when I joined the US Marine Corps. I couldn’t wait to go to boot camp because even though I knew it was going to be tough, I believed that it was going to strip me down and build me back up into something better. However, that didn’t happen in the way I imagined. At first, I thought that maybe, it did but I just didn’t feel it but as time went on, I began to realize that I wasn’t much different. The fact that I had felt that I had wasted four years of my life in that respect brought on the anxieties for me and result in numerous reactions. It was only in the past ten years, with the help of a counselor that I expected too much change when believing that joining the marines was going to solve all my problems when it never was.
My second one was when I first came to England. My experiences coming out of the marines, with the way I felt my country treated me, I began to look East for my answers. In the space of three years, I went from a US Marine to a Marxist. I was that angry at America. When I came to England I was full of hope that my left wing, anti- American political views would soar me to the top of the most popular list at my college. It only took a few weeks to see that it wasn’t the case. While I did engage with students on the left, many British students couldn’t understand why an American would embrace Marx and go to Socialist Worker’s meetings. Anxieties began to creep in that I had wasted a lot of time and money coming to England to study. There was some depression and brooding but it didn’t last.
I don’t know if this helped but my fellow students in England saw what for me was nearly the straw that broke the camel’s back for me and America. I hit a snag in collecting my Veteran’s Educational benefits. All my friends and many others were sympathetic to my plight, even many of the Americans. The only ones who weren’t were the British students who wanted to resent all American students because they thought we were all too rich. Fortunately, they were very few. The biggest boost came when a known Conservative student said to me, “I see why you’re so left wing, the way your country has treated you.” That had a quicker and happier ending but for a while, I feared it might have been different.
Now to link with “He Was Weird” and this is part me as well. In the very beginning of the story, when Mark moves to Ramsgate, he is full of hopeful optimism. The fact that he has the beach two blocks away and can go fishing with his grandfather fuels that hope. However, that all changes on his second day at school when the bullying begins. Within one week, his view of his new town goes totally the opposite direction. Eventually, this leads to severe anxieties and contributes to his final act.
Naturally, there are other instances when I have suffered such anxiety because the change I had hoped for didn’t come in the way I had expected it. For years, it has made me cynical but now I have learned how to guide my anxieties and expectations much better, so it doesn’t happen so much anymore.
To buy He Was Weird go to: http://www.amazon.co.uk/He-Was-Weird-Michael-Lefevre/dp/1909740942/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1459889743&sr=1-1&keywords=he+was+weird