I was scrolling through Reddit this morning and came across this video on r/OddlySatisfying of someone mixing blue and yellow silicone in a rolling machine thing to make a kind of green. Other than the fact that it definitely belonged on the sub, it gave me a warm fuzzy feeling and I couldn’t quite put my finger on why.
Then I breathed through my nose and went back twenty years to sitting in class smelling and swapping gel pens, which I promise was a legit thing. This is not a sniffing glue situation1. There was a big thing about fruity smelling gel pens at the time, and that specific green took me right back.
I’m not usually a fan of nostalgia, or at least personal nostalgia. Movies? Sure. Fresh Prince? Definitely. The first anime I watched? Hells yeah. Personal memories? Unless it’s fairly recent, then no.
I could give a really practical and Vulcan sounding answer, like it’s unproductive both in terms of time spent and in terms of emotional growth; to live in one’s memories is to die there. The real reason is that I would rather live in a lighthouse by the sea alone with only one person who contacts me to send me books and junk than to slip back into those memories. More specifically, to remember who I was and how I felt back then.
Undiagnosed and untreated mental health problems whilst everything in your world is being flipped upside down does not make for Fun Times.
The problem is that means I ignore all the great stuff while I’m trying to cover up the bad with yet another layer of black paint2. Like walking back from my first house party with my then best friend way past midnight, sobering up along the way. Or evenings spent taking turns playing Sonic 2 with mum, and the time I accidentally turned it off while we had 20 something life’s and four continues in Metropolis Zone so we could eat tea.
It means I colour complex events as categorically Bad, like the time I did emergency first aid on a kid who got hit by a car outside my house, and how I let the panic take hold just when the paramedics took over. Or flunking my A Levels, that completely ripped my life asunder but put me on the path to meeting my wife. I could have done without the eight or nine years of turmoil to get there, but I don’t get to decide that now.
There’s twenty something years of history there, and it’s not all Bad. Sure, nostalgia is a slippery road to nowhere, but sometimes what’s called for is a big ol’ bowl of warm and fuzzies. Sure beats the Oncoming Dread anyway.
And I should probably stop tarring those twenty years with tar. Something tells me that’s not overly health…3
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Although there was an incident of someone in my year dying after glue or lighter fluid sniffing when I was about 11. I forget which, I just remember being super weirded out about the concept.↩
Spoiler for those just going through this: there is never enough black paint to stop it all shining through forever. Doesn’t mean it has to own your attention, or dictate who you are.↩
That something being my last therapist. Repeatedly. We had visualisation sessions over it and everything. I really should really pick that up again.↩