The Sadness of Immaturity 10.09.17
Although I'm a T in the LGBTQI acronym, I was reminded yesterday at the cinema of some shared inter-acronym experiences when I watched the celebrated movie God's Own Country. Enough, in fact, to make this ostensible film review the basis of today's diary posting.
Briefly, first, a recap of the film: a guy in his early twenties spends his life in bleak Yorkshire working on his dad's farm and then getting drunk and sometimes laid. His is the kind of sex barely separable, emotionally speaking, from masturbation. This main character has settled into becoming a lost cause without really knowing or caring why. He is socially and emotionally stunted and, considering his age, prematurely embittered. Paradoxically, he is deeply immature.
Stop review. Start diary: I was not only a second-rate student in my youth but, when drunk, also quite destructive. Not in a violent sense, at least not against people. But I did use to do stupid stuff for no discernible reason. Example: in a bar once, on the way out, I took several pool balls with me from the pub's table, just to ruin everyone else's fun. When I was really young I would enter the school sports hall of my primary school and take a single object that I knew was needed for the after-school rehearsals of the school play, and hide it, just to fuck the rehearsals up. I sometimes wonder why; the detachment from education, the inability to behave appropriately. Why the weird paradox of fantastical dreams of success as I stared out of windows, and the inability to focus on anything constructive to a degree exceptional in comparison to my peers?
High school and university were similarly terrible experiences: everything related to education bored me in a way that, looking back, is difficult to comprehend. I seemed physically unable to do homework or stay focused in the classroom. I was a nightmare to teach, and probably even to sit next to, given I would invariably distract teachers, and make myself the centre of attention until I was asked to stand outside. One teacher, during my A-levels, even refused to teach me. At university, meanwhile, I simply stared out of residential windows, day-dreaming I know not what. Day-dreaming anything. I hated whatever came with obligation, to the point of mental shut down. I listened to Pink Floyd instead, and wished myself away.
I do wonder at the causes of the early malaise. Was it simply an extraordinary immaturity? Did I not want to grow up, because there was nothing to grow up into? Secret desires of gender transformation could not be shared, or realized. I could not become female. I therefore opted to become an arsehole.
These reflections re-emerge now, because I think it's important to highlight how off the rails we can go in our early life, before we start to work things out for ourselves, especially if what we are is so badly out of kilter with the thing we'd like to be, to the point of 'what's-the-point?' God's Own Country is a beautiful movie not just because it normalizes what it is to be gay, but because it reminds us of what it is to be young and a complete arsehole to everyone and everything. There can be reasons for the stroppy, ugly behaviour, and it's worth remembering how far off we are at times - including during our early decades (never mind early years) - from being rational, mature individuals.Conclusion: I watched the film and saw something of myself in the one who brought dismay to everyone who knew him. Like any great film, God's Own Country works specifically and generally, it's the tragedy of this young man's awfulness, but also mine and anyone's who has been or had to be around this awfulness. I really regret the way I was, not because I wasn't out as trans, but because in not being out, I ended up being just a waste of space to everyone, not least - in hindsight - to myself.