Original posted 1/7/07 on Blogger
Thirty of my last 48 waking hours have been spent getting my brain stuffed full of adolescent psychopathology and treatment.
Y’know how those of us past the age of 25 look back on the elementary school years with water colored wonder at how endless the summer seemed to be? Or how, going through the teen years, having to end a parental conversation with, “You don’t know what it’s like!”
Thanks to the recent magic of MRI (and release forms) psychological science has proven that those attitudes had to do with brain formation. Yeah, I learned that this weekend.
Apparently, the child brain lacks the wiring to project into the future, or adequately quantify the past; it’s solely present minded—called concrete thought. I think that’s a direct corollary to how summer seemed so long. Tomorrow, literally, was a thing which seemed ages away, saturated with the hope of seeming fantasy, and yesterday failed to have as much impact as the present.
Then, once we hit adolescence, our very brain starts to grow and change, develop new chemical and physiological processes, to enable things like abstract thought. With that upheaval, the teen mind really doesn’t know how to cope with the things it’s now gearing up to think about.
I began to wonder if the brain, the heart, the core of self, on some level, needed to grieve for the loss of concrete thought. For the loss of endless summers of hope and pasts with no more pain than skinned knees. Yet trying to stand in the whirlwind of Junior High, play hitting and pigtails turned to anxious sexuality, and a body that’s spouting, spewing, aching and raging takes too much strength to allow time for the grief.
Think about that for a moment. Selah.
It took this class, and some psycho-physical insight, to recall that. My formed mind has now grown so future-focused that the pain of youth is truly no more than sudden strobe pops on a heart that can’t fully remember. I’ll never know what it was like. When I yelled that at parents, teachers, and occasionally friends, I know now that it was truth. If I were able, the current me physically couldn’t think in a way as to understand the teen me’s mind. I would have been alone in teen angst, even with myself.
So I’m taking this time to raise a 40 oz to my dead homies of youth, and pouring it on this curb of my blog. To the “Genius of the Chip Pile” as the long dead me was once called. To Butterdove, Sir Jessica, and Weaver, Wyld, and Cole, Lupy and Craily, Big Chief Reaniobie, and even ol’ Gerach ach Mauch. All ridden off into the sunset of yore on a tan Chevy Malibu. Teen heroes, one and all. Alone in their angst, fighting their brains solo.
Some died like the phoenix, giving birth to the adults I adore. Some burned on the pyre of youth, and all that’s left is ashes.
Here’s to the memories.