Except I kind of answered my own question. I was young and immature and there is just no two other ways about it. What pains me was the question of how and why the how (to learn) had to be because I knew I just couldn't have been that dumb or even that stubborn that I would have completely ignored or otherwise dismissed kinder guidance than what was my pinging around a pinball machine. Seriously. That's what I compared it to in the early days. Being a pinball in the rude, crude, harsh slap of the bumpers and flippers, banging around without cause, left only to my own resources (almost none), and nothing - nothing that resembled a stable place to crawl into and call home.
But I was. It's a memory that sears at me like the way Gordon Ramsay sears his steaks. Not only being underdeveloped emotionally in so many ways and trying to deal with the heat of external forces, but absolutely confused as to why it was presented to me in the ways that it was. A longtime, dear friend of mine once told me, after I pouted about some invitation she sluffed off, that I sounded like a victim and that I made it sound as though all the things to happen to me in my life were mere happenstances that I had no control of. In one of many erred attempts to achieve peace and renewal in my life, I had thought of my ex and I renewing our vows. It was going to be the ten year mark. We had been through so much. It was going to be the wedding we never had. In my retaliation to it just not seeming that important to her, I railed off to her in an email about how x, y, and z had happened and didn't we just deserve a do-over, yadda, yadda.
To me, a vast majority of the things I'd gone through, either alone or with my ex, did feel as though they happened TO me. I didn't have any control over cancer. I didn't have control over what people thought the day we got married. I didn't have control over my ex's joints or the way people behaved in a predominantly isolated community. I didn't have control over the way his aunt treated us when I moved in with her. In fact, I didn't have control over much. Maybe that's why I was a controlling bitch for so much of those ten years. But even before that, as a single mom knowing I needed to make things work, I couldn't control the work force or what my employers paid me or hours they gave me. I couldn't control that the university kept changing their requirements for a degree which didn't take me long to learn I would not be getting. And for after that, I couldn't control what decisions my spouse would or would not make that added to the mounting pressure of feeling absolutely helpless.
But my friend was right. Enough to jar my fragile ego and wire-scrambled brain and get me thinking. Although she didn't use as many words, what she said helped me to infer with quite a bit self-actualization that I was indeed, not taking responsibility for the things I could control and certainly not viewing the outcomes that came from my choices as that - outcomes born of my choices. I had control over whether or not to move to Canada. I had the option of educating myself on what that would mean or educating myself on my choices before I had even made them. I had control whether or not to marry my ex at all or stay with him after the worst appeared to be over. It would have been an ugly choice, but it was still one nonetheless, and my friend's words have stayed with me for these great many years. I had control over more choices than I realized. It opened an entire other realm of opportunities for me - making choices, viewing things with less doom and gloom, understanding (FINALLY, it would seem) that I had a lot more control over my life than I realized, and releasing the grip I had on other less important things. It also made me realize, much to my horror, the level of frantic, busy-body senselessness I was operating at and, thusly, that she was probably witnessing the same spiral in me as I saw in her mother. It horrified me enough to stop me in my tracks.
As for a little background, my friend had grown up knowing by the age of 9 that she was already more mature than even her elder parents, never mind siblings, and learned early on that she was going to have to be steering these people as best she could. It's a burden she's dealt with that no child should ever have to bear witness to. But it also made her far more emotionally solid than any of her peers at any given stage of her life and that is what I lacked. She was able to connect or disconnect emotion with logic far more clearly than I'd ever seen an example of in my life, and for me, she made things so clear and stately. I had grown up, on the other hand, connecting emotion to everything and doing so in great volumes. I didn't just need a solid voice like that in my ear, my wounded soul craved it.
My parents, in contrast to her elderly ones (she was the third of four children), were super young and gravely immature themselves and I was the oldest of three children. I learned how to connect emotion to everything, be guilted into actions by emotion, muddle and enmesh all my decisions with emotion or make them based on emotion, and watch my own kid parents demonstrate their own selfish behaviour solidly out of emotion. Even later on I would learn how entangled that mess was because I had seen "detachment" up on the virtue board at the school where my ex worked, absolutely confounded as to how detachment could ever be considered a virtue, worked on that over the years, and STILL found that the behaviours I tried to weed out actually ran far deeper in my blood than my own blood. Aaack.
How could I have stood a chance in the real world when my examples were selfishness, guilt-driven actions (of just about any kind), bent ideologies, and only hints of rationale here and there? How would I have been anything but underdeveloped, slightly entitled, bully AND soft going out into the world?
But I still don't understand why I had to learn more about myself the way I had to. Of course I needed to learn the material. Absolutely. But it would have been nice to have it been handed to me a little more softly.
But I digress. The fact remains, regardless of the how or why, that I needed it. I needed whatever this bootcamp is to get as far as I have.