Thursday, October 06, 2011

Both Sides Now

I've looked at life from both sides now,
From up and down and still somehow,
It's life's illusions I recall.
I really don't know life, at all.

— Joni Mitchell

I had occasion these past few days to revisit my youth by rereading a script I wrote based on my experiences in high school.  I don't know how good it is as far as a script goes, but it did an excellent job of accessing and giving voice to everything I was feeling and doing back then. I found the emotions so powerful that just listening to the music that would make up the sound track would send me into a blue funk.

I was depressed back in those days.  More than any other teenager of the time?  Maybe, maybe not.  But I was depressed.  I was different and demonstrably so.  I did not feel I fit in anywhere, and in truth I really did not.  I went to high school at a private school on a scholarship.  I was a blue collar guy in a white collar world, a black kid who did not fit in his own neighborhood surrounded by white kids he also did not fit with.

When you are not home in your own neighborhood, not home in your own family, and not home in your school, what do you do?  Well, eventually you grow up and find there is a world out there, a world of people and possibilities.  But before that, when it seems that the universe starts and ends with high school, you join the freaks, because if nothing else, you can be freaks together.

Eventually I came to the realization that unlike Groucho I would not want to be a member of any club that would not have me.  And suddenly, long before time robbed the in-crowd of their superficial advantages and proved this thought better than I could, I realized they were not better than I was, only different.


While Joni Mitchell wrote the song, it's Judy Collins's version I know the best.  Enjoy.

No comments: