December 29: The Fourth Day

IV. A Character Forms

“I loved perishing. I loved my own falling away: I did not love the thing into which I fell, but the fall itself.”

Fitting in meant giving in. I tried to behave, but got more attention from being disruptive. If grown ups in my life wanted obedience, it was for their own peace and quiet, not because they were right. I learned — taught myself — that when I got thrown out of class, reprimanded, or punished, that it was because I was smarter and better.

This is how I survived the abuse and neglect in my world, whether it came from grown ups or other children; I suffered because I was better. I’d light the fuse and wouldn’t run. I would imitate the martyr, fed to the lions I would get attention, not for being liked but being brave. Being an outcast meant no loss, no hurt because to hurt would require caring in the first place. I’d put myself on the pyre. I’d drop the match. Watch me burn! Nam et superbia celsitudinem imitatur. Instead, pride would imitate the victim.

When I was ten, I began to imagine myself in the future. A trip to Washington DC stoked my ambition. I found a friend, a fellow outcast. Together, he and I devised our own special language of mockery and derision of others. These people in power were stupid; we’d laugh at them and at their demands of us until we were old enough to do it our own way.

My language arts teacher that year was an adult who listened and taught me the power of words. Words became my life, provoking weaker minds to use force, revealing how weak those minds truly were. Was this your will or a path to destitution?

You misspelled “precepts.”

To December 30