Trust: A story in 5 acts
Before we begin - finishing this decade in review writing project has actually turned out to be way harder than I expected. Not from an effort perspective, but from a holy shit it's been a real eye opener perspective.
I've spent periods of the last ten years stuck in emotional ruts. My own worst enemy, unmanaged anxiety, horribly negative self talk, the works. Now that I am in a better place and reviewing the last ten years from an outsider's perspective, HOLY SHIT. Like my guy Chris D'Elia says, "Life Rips".
The last ten years have been amazing, and there's just so much to share that it's taking two plus hours of time to go through the ~5k or so photos and videos from each year and iron out the shareable moments. It really makes me wish I was more on top of this ahead of time. I have a buddy who has been doing those "1 second every day" videos for a few years now. I need to be more like him. Minus the absurdly tight hipster pants.
I'm going to try to make today's blog relatively short and to the point, given that this evening has already been so busy with cleaning eavestroughs, dinner, play time, Piano Lessons, Bedtime, a Tabata Thursday workout in the garage, and a post workout Irish Whiskey with the aforementioned hipster tiuhtpants.
Today's topic - Trust, in five short stories.
Story 1 - Parents Don't Actually Know Everything?
When I was around five, my parents split. They spent the next year or so fighting out the terms, and sharing custody. We lived in a town with my mom and her new boyfriend 20 minutes away from where I grew up and my dad now resided.
I remember one of my favourite toys being an outdoor "Bozo The Clown" punching bag. It was inflatable, and a perfect way for a hyper and frustrated little five year old to blow off some steam.
One day, I was playing with it in the yard and my mom crept up behind it. The next thing I know, BLAM. Whatever the five year old version of WTF is slipped past my lips. My mom looked shocked that I yelled at her, while holding a pin in her hands. She then stammered out "sorry, I thought it would fly around the yard in a whooooooosh pattern and it would be really funny." I never got a replacement punching bag.
Story 2: A big kid wants to play with me?
When the divorce was finalized, my mom ended up with full custody. Her and her new boyfriend took us back to her home country of New Zealand. We moved around a lot, and one of the towns we ended up in was so small that it had a two room school house. When I say two room schoolhouse, I mean one class was elementary school and the other was high school. They each had about 15 kids in them, and a shared yard. Interestingly enough, this schoolhouse was likely in Morrinsville, where I have confirmed with my mom I did live and attend school. It turns out that the current New Zealand prime minister, Jacinda Ardern, is three years older than me and a Morrinsville native. We were likely classmates in childhood. Crazy!
One day, we were out on the yard. I'd call it a playground, but that would be kind. It was an outside place to play. One of the big kids invited me to come play. There was a huge dirt hill in the middle of the yard, and the young kids weren't allowed on it.
"It's okay, the teachers aren't around." The big kid said. I followed him up because I was excited to be getting attention from someone older than me. Once we got to the top, he grabbed me, picked me up, and threw me off of it. I fell probably 15 feet and landed flat on my back with a sickening crunch. What started off as a sneering laugh quickly turned into a look of terror as the wail escaping my lips turned into a shriek. The two teachers in the entire school (one was principal, one was vice principal) were located and I was rushed to the hospital. Broken collarbone.
Nothing happened to the big kid because he told them I followed him up and tripped and fell.
Story 3: What about Brian?
I moved to London in March of 1996. It was a hard transition for a number of reasons. The first of the two main ones was going from high school in British Columbia (high school was grade 8 to 12), back to elementary school in London. The second was my dad retiring from the RCMP for medical reasons, and the income hit for going from full paycheque to disability paycheque, but the cigarette and beer consumption remaining the same.
This meant that on top of being the shellshocked and socially awkward new kid, I was also now the poor kid. The clothes became goodwill, and the social budget became zero.
I made a friend! I lived on a cul-de-sac with one other kid on it. Brian was in my class at school, and we became friends. He taught me the tragically hip and road hockey, and his older brother Pete taught me about BBS systems on the computer and weightlifting. I was at his house daily, and ate dinner with his family multiple times a week. That fall, Brian was registered for the gifted program at Lucas, and I was registered for plain old Montcalm. Brian and I started our first day of grade 9. I tried to call him to see how it went, and he didn't answer. Call display was new. I went to his house the next morning, and knocked on his door. His mom answered and told me "Brian doesn't want to hang out with you anymore. I'm sorry." and closed the door. Brian ghosted me. I never found out why or spoke to him again to this day. We ended up at the same house party four years later, and he looked like an asshole and pretended like he didn't know me. Whatever, Brian.
This was probably made by his prom date. Google image search knows I guess.
Story 4: Coming Clean
Trust got a little bit easier once I had more things to gain confidence on. But the walls still stayed up and high for many years. It cost me some friends, some opportunities, and some relationships. Including the last person I dated before I met my wife. She was quite a bit younger than me, and I think I was mostly with her because I was lonely and she was fun. After seven months of dating, she called me at work. And then called me again. And then called me again. Working in a psych hospital, I wasn't allowed to answer my cell. But this must be bad. So I answered it. "Hello? What's the matter? Everything okay?"
"Hey yeah everything's fine guess what?" "(super irritated) WHAT"
"(best friend)'s boyfriend told her he loved her. Isn't that awesome?"
"Haha very funny. Why haven't you told me you love me?"
"Because I don't"
We broke up soon after. Welcome to dating mid 20's Jer!
But then I met my now wife. Everything was different. I could tell from the minute I met her that her heart was pure, her soul was kind, and her aura was perfect and beautiful.
I told her things I never told anyone. I shared like I had never shared before. But I always felt like I wasn't measuring up to what she deserved. Here was the poor kid from the east end with three smelly roommates, dating the girl with her own house and FOUR jobs.
I fell in love with her. I asked her to marry me. She said yes. The night before our wedding, I told her "there's something I have to tell you." She says to me "oh god, you have another family?". I said "no, I'm $33,000 in debt. Had to pay my own way through school and couldn't work much due to basketball." She said "that's it?"
My back was against the wall and I felt I had no choice but to give her an out if she didn't want to choose the poor kid who was masquerading like he was something different. She didn't. I would die so this woman could live, and not even think twice about it. She's perfect. I trust her with every molecule of my existence.
Story 5: Some people will always fail you
Fantasy sports are cool. Fantasy Sports make watching meaningless games between teams that have as many wins as London has reliable transit system more watchable. Fantasy Sports give guys something to compete over while not risking tearing an achilles.
I am in season five of a NBA fantasy league with a bunch of guys spread from Australia to Ajax. I also up until this year was in a fantasy football league with guys spread from Singapore to Schomberg.
The fantasy football league was started by a guy I went to high school with. We were both great athletes. We kept in touch fifteen years later. I had two leagues where the guys in them chatted daily. For years. They became part of my extended family, and we got to talking about everything from sports to life to kids and families.
As part of my football league, one year we decided to forego second place money and buy a super embarrassing trophy for last place with it. Guess who finished second that year and bought the trophy? Me.
Guess who finished last two years later and needed the trophy to be displayed prominently in his house for the next year? Me.
Guess who spent the next two years asking the commissioner of the league twelve different times to get me the trophy so we could continue to fulfill what we all agreed to and I paid for? Me again. The trophy was centred around an expensive item, and cost about $350 to make. If we weren't going to uphold our agreement and ship it around to each other after every year, it should have gone back to me by default
Yup. Last place trophy was a signed Tim Tebow bat, mounted to a last place plaque
Where I grew up, if someone tried to punk you out then you settled it physically or faced the consequences of lack of respect for you and your word. When you're adults and live in different cities, apparently some people just don't care how meaningless their credibility can quickly become. Something that was fun became something that made me angry. I quit the league, and haven't spoken to the convenor or seven others of the ten guys I chatted with every day for five years.
As adults, when you give someone your word, fulfill it. When someone fails you enough times to make it apparent that they don't respect you, sometimes you're better off walking away.
As you can see from these stories, a lack of ability to trust others was a natural consequence of my circumstances. Despite that, I refuse to use it as a crutch or an excuse to continue to hamper friendships or opportunities.
I'm proud to have survived and thrived despite my circumstances. I also learned a lot of valuable character lessons along the way. I'll always make good on my word. I'll always be ready to help. I'll always be vulnerable and put myself out there. I'll always be honest and sincere in my engagements.
I've also learned that I can't expect the same from everyone else. Everyone is their own person and with different priorities and things they take pride in or are happy about.
Some only look to manipulate or take advantage of others for their own gain. These people will suffer the consequences of their actions in the worst ways, and should be avoided in the interim.
At one point in our lives, we could settle issues with others who have done us wrong in animalistic ways. Now that we are big and grown, we have to set firm boundaries and manage our relationships appropriately. As they say, fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. Fool me twelve times, LEAVE CHAT.