Friday, July 07, 2006

Friday question: adolescent stupidities

What's the stupidest (riskiest) thing you did as an adolescent?

I ran away from home and hitchhiked to Las Vegas when I was 14, accepting a ride from three boys who were total strangers. I got picked up by the police when I got there and taken to a juvenile detention center and my parents picked me up. It's a long story.

But I could have been killed. I was headed to Haight-Ashbury in San Francisco to do drugs and be a hippie. I didn't have a clue about sex, it wasn't about the free love for me. I was so stupid. And lucky.

This is off the topic of my own post, but it's on meditating. I'm reading a book called Eat, Pray, Love, by Elizabeth Gilbert. She relates to an Indian monk her problems meditating, keeping her mind still and he replies: "It's a pity you're the only person in the history of the world who ever had this problem." Who thought there was a sarcastic Indian monk?

Which I loved because yesterday I tried to meditate to my mantra for fifteen minutes and my mind kept wandering and I thought I was a failure at meditating.


Monkey said...

Yipes- your experience frightens me- especially because I have so many teens in my life and I remember how very stupid I was at that age.

My dumbest move was drinking and stunt driving.
Luckily, no one was hurt.

A friend of mine did something that makes me shutter every time I think about it. She and a friend would go to the mall and pretend to have car problems to pick up boys and then drive off with them for a day of fun.

I am sure all adults have scary-stupid stories. Isn't that what makes parents panic- the memory of narrowly escaped tragedies?

Starfoxy said...

Wow! That is way scary. If there is one thing I should be grateful for it is my mom pounding into me the fear of doing stupid things, because I've been thinking and I don't have any stories to tell about being an adolescent. The only thing I can think of was when I was 2 or 3. I was at the store with my mom and sisters. My sisters were in charge of watching me, they got distracted and I wandered off. My mom noticed I was gone, and was just in time to see me walking out the door with a strange man. After that she would tie a leash to my belt-loop when we'd go to the store.

annegb said...

There's a really sad story behind my running away. I was walking down the street at twilight and my mother came up the street toward me, staggering down drunk, yelling at me.

I broke and ran away. She and my stepfather had sobered up by the time they came and got me. I wonder how many kids who run away are running away from something for real, like I was.

I honestly think God watched out for me, but then I wonder about the girls who aren't as lucky and think "what's up with that?"

Barb said...

I was such a goody goody when I was an adolescent. I studied constantly to get good grades so people would not think I was stupid and also would not see any "signs" in my behavior that would give them the heads up when I got around to killing myself. I do not think I got a single point in my entire high school career and these could be awarded for such infactions as not having our uniform tucked in, smoking on school property during school hours, be late or tardy.

a. nonny spouse said...

Wow, annegb--brave. The closest I ever came to running away was hiding in the next-door neighbor's bushes for a while until I scared myself into thinking that I'd be kidnapped and stuffed into a trunk. I was a wimpy kid.

But hearing the backstory of why you were running in the first place helps. It must've been especially scary as a teenager to fear the unknown less than the known.

Of course, there's also the fact that I doubt you were every in any way wimpy.

And to answer the original question (because what's another paragraph when you've already got several?) the stupidest thing I can think of doing as an adolescent isn't worth retelling. Mostly because my wimpiness continued long beyond my childhood and into the present day. I've always been terrified of being in trouble.

annegb said...

It wasn't brave, it was sort of a crazy desperation. That was the last time I lived with my parents. My sisters and I ended up in foster care and two of my sisters are adopted and sealed to other families. Another sister had been adopted as a small child to another family, long story.

My mom is this tiny little lady now who I can pick up and carry. She's in a good rest home and I take care of her. As always.

You know, Spouse (have to tell you I get confused on who's the husband and who's the wife :), I am a total coward. I live my life in fear.

As a kid, we lived in some really scary places, like inner city neighborhoods. I was the quiet kid reading a book who wouldn't utter a peep. My sisters, they were the fighters. My big mouth is compulsive, not courageous.

My younger sister is my hero, she could and would fight, although she also was scared to death. And she had to fight to survive. Another long story.

Don't worry about your paragraphs. I don't. As you can see. LOL.

Starfoxy, I see little kids alone in the store and it worries me to death. I mean, your whole life would be different, if you'd lived through the abduction. Doesn't that give you chills? I bet your mom still has nightmares.

I did some work for a non-profit agency that looked for stranger-abducted kids and if I was paranoid before that, I'm totally paranoid now.

I don't usually grab the kid, but I just stay near them until their parent shows up. Then I want to slap them. Sometimes I will take their hand and take them to the front and page their parents.

The really scary thing is that, like you, little kids will go with me! There've been some kids I could have taken and been a half hour down the road before the parent became alarmed.

I always had a leash on Sarah, and I have to leash Maxwell, he takes off. Although anybody who abducted him would probably pay me to take him back. He's cute, but he's more than a handful.

Stephen said...

I'll have to blog about the time I ran away, it is a funny story without any dark spots. I'm glad you survived.

Bookslinger said...

"I wonder how many kids who run away are running away from something for real, like I was."

Based on all the adult survivors of child abuse I've met, I'd guess that quite a bit more than half of female teen runaways are running away from sexual assault by a close relative, father, uncle, or grandfather. I'd also say more than half of male teen runaways are fleeing either beatings or sexual abuse.

I seem to have a spiritual gift of seeing spiritual wounds in people. If their wounds are healed, I don't see them. But if they have open unhealed spiritual wounds, I pick up on it fairly quickly. After a few minutes I can often tell if those wounds were from abuse, especially sexual abuse.

I'm not sure how to turn this "gift" from a curse into a blessing. For now, it's just painful for me to be in their presence. And many times, such "un-healed" survivors of abuse have a habit of wanting to touch other people in seemingly casual but contrived circumstances. I've had to tell a couple women to keep their cotton-pickin' hands off me, and have had to avoid some social events because I know a certain person will be there who insists on touching me after I've told her not to.

There's a guy at church who has the creepiest hand-shake I've ever encountered. I can feel severe abuse in his handshake, but I can't tell if he was the abuser or the victim or both.

There was a branch president at the Provo Missionary Training Center in 1984 who gave a talk at one of the weekly assemblies. During his talk I had such a strong impression that he was a wife-beater I wanted to jump up and yell "Wife beater! You're a wife-beater!" but I managed to keep my mouth shut.

I don't know if it's a majority, but a significant portion of abuse victims (whether sexual abuse, violent physical abuse, or verbal/emotional abuse) grow up to be either perpetual victims (such as marrying an abuser) or turn into abusers themselves.

It's very hard, often impossible, to break the programming we receive in our early childhood. Elder Monson even said something to that effect in one of the 2005 general conferences.

Bookslinger said...

Elder Monson's quote was in the April 2005 conference, and in the May 2005 Ensign.$fn=document-frame.htm$3.0#JD_E3505.19

The quote is:

Dr. Glenn J. Doman, noted author and medical authority, wrote: “The newborn child is almost an exact duplicate of an empty … computer, although superior to such a computer in almost every way. … What is placed in the child’s [mind] during the first eight years of life is probably there to stay. … If you put misinformation into his [mind] during [this period], it is extremely difficult to erase it.” Dr. Doman added that the most receptive age in human life is that of two or three years. (3)

Article footnote: 3. How to Teach Your Baby to Read (1963, 1964), 43–45.

"Tabula Rasa" or "clean slate" is not an exact analogy of human development. I think we are a combination of both "nature" and "nurture." We both bring parts of our personality into this life with us, but also a good part is given us as part of environment and upbringing.

annegb said...

I don't know, you're pretty cute. You might have women with crushes on you all over the place.

I find your description of your abilities very intgeresting. I call myself an empath because I sense things also. Not specific, just snatches of things.

I wasn't running from outright abuse, I was running from the awful life that children live when both parents are severe alcoholics.

Bookslinger said...

I believe that it's the opinion of most psychologists, counselors and social workers today that drunk parents yelling at their children is abuse.

However, back in the 60's and earlier, just yelling and intimidation was not considered abuse.