One of the hardest things about his understanding of the human experience was constant and subtle rejection. As he grew older, without necessarily noticing it, there was a disposition of his that gradually moved away from trusting people that he meet for the first time. He used to just instinctively like everyone he met. He was thrilled to meet people and welcomed them with open arms – to the point where maybe some of them found this odd. Gradually with the years, with the hurt of loss and rejection, this openness dissipated. Later, his default position seemed to be closed and went the other way. When he met people, unless they was as he once was, there is no hope of making a connection with them. Of course, not many people are really that open, so it goes without saying that opportunities to connect decreased somewhat. But what was behind this move away from trust and openness?
Maybe as Trent Reznor put it, somewhat painfully, everyone we know, does go away in the end? It seems inevitable. But more than this, some of the people that he'd known and had been close to went away; but without any explanation or dispute. It seemed that there was a blind side, something he had done to upset, or not meet expectations, and then without being given a chance to make things right or discuss, people close to him went and no longer responded or even acknowledge him. It’s as if they were happy to be around him, and then without warning, they treated him as though he was not worth speaking to or acknowledging.
Perhaps it’s what is said: that your friends are those who really know you and like you anyway? But the pain of loss, and the breaking of trust certainly makes one more cautious for the future.
When he thought back and reflected, he found that life has been a series of rejections and this is not to suggest that it may not be like this for everyone, but it certainly seemed that he had spent much time on the outside. He read about an experiment where physical labels were attached to people and they in turn began behaving in response to these labels. It made him think at the time that there is a certain way that he perceived himself to be, and this characterised the way that he was with others, particularly among groups of people.
Some of his earliest memories are of rejection and being considered as different. Where many of late have found a home in a newer and more tolerant society, his form of difference has been more subtle. Growing up as a young child, he lived in a poor area. He remembered being locked in a coal shed by the other children, and in a more dramatic episode, being dragged along the ground by his long hair by an older boy. He was spat at and beaten many times by other children. The core of this, he felt was that his parents were alternative and progressive and one of his parents was born in England, and had an English accent, which rubbed off on him. In his working class surroundings, this was a point of contention. He heard, ‘Brits out’ and ‘poshy’.
Funny that as a child you don’t always make a big deal about these experiences and tend to just get on with it. It was the beginning of feeling more comfortable with a single friend, as opposed to groups of people. It seemed hard to get along with groups. Never knowing the right thing to say or do to feel like fitting in. These are things lived on as unresolved thoughts and sensations until his later life.
For him, it was the same at school – never quite fitting in with the bigger and established groups. Group sports were difficult. Then him mum got serious about a marginal religion and finally this felt like a group that he belonged to and that welcomed him unconditionally. This however (to cut a long story short) was not long lasting. Ultimately, he was rejected by this group, due admittedly to his own actions, which were not accepted by the group.
Hence, he had an expectation of himself that he would not be accepted by groups and this in turn led him to behave in certain ways that probably predetermined and reinforce that outcome, the outcome of rejection.