That old phrase we all know and love: Try Harder.
It is a mantra we have said to us, say to ourselves, say to others – and apply to everything in our lives. If only you try harder you will get it. If only I tried harder I would get it. Fitness, finances, health, work, family, relationships,,,, the list goes on and touches every area of our lives. Must Try Harder.
And we believe it. Because it is true. It has a brother: Try Again.
Whenever we are ready to give up: try again. It is how we learn to crawl, walk, talk, become independent. Grow up enough to learn how to Try Harder. Because then we are a fully functional member of society. Contributing, conforming, connecting.
I have lived my life with this mantra and its brother. I am not unique. We all do. It works. Relationships have been saved, jobs done well, finances brought to order, driving achieved, daily living still happening. It works. It gets us through.
And then it doesn’t. Not all the time.
Do you remember being a young-un? Something at school … some subject … alien and confusing. No matter how much you tried it remained out of reach. That “try harder” and “try again”? Just did not work. And you ended up convincing yourself that you were useless (in every area) – you hated that teacher – you knew the next humiliation was coming – you were ”rubbish!” I can’t do this.
No more being valued, no more valuing yourself.
And then came an interpreter! Someone who “got it”. And allowed me to “get it”. Not by me trying harder, no by me trying again. But by seeing me for what I am. And placing the gibberish into words, pictures, logic that was “me.” I guess we can all remember similar incidents in our own lives. We have all had – maybe all acted as – an interpreter at those times.
Try harder … Try again … Interpreter. We get by and we usually succeed.
And then it doesn’t. Not all the time. What if … nothing works?
Memory. It is something I have been learning (and losing) more and more over the past few years. And it is a real bummer. RAM (random access memory) becomes RIM (random inaccessible memory). How do I explain this?
Have you ever had to compare one list against another? It is something I do regularly as part of my job. Both lists should be the same. The source is the same. Yet because they come from different “outputs” they can be (and often are) different. So I sit and tick-off one against the other. And end up with two lists. Both the same. The same as the source list. Job done. Order restored. Now move to the next step. It is how we work. Keeping order out of disorder.
Now imagine …
Your list is a list of what we discussed. Last week. Last month. Last year. Yesterday. Your list is a long list. My list is not. You insist my list has to be the same as yours. And to help that happen you insist I try harder. Try again. You are interpreting for me. Are our lists the same yet?
Now reality …
Because if not – if your list is still shorter than mine – then I am really pissed off. My list has important stuff on it. You said it was important. Try again. Try harder. I am really working hard interpreting for you here. Your list should have this stuff on it. It is important – what is wrong with you. My list has it. Your list should have it. You should remember.
So much baggage …
I can only think you don’t really love me. Because if you loved me you would remember. Do you love me? I think you are doing this to piss me off, trying to send me nuts, trying to control me. There is something bad about you. You make it hard for me to love you when you do this. Why?
So little understanding …
Do you remember that film “Men in Black”. Those pens they had. The ones they pulled out as they put on their dark glasses. And then a flash – and all those innocents around them – their memories of the aliens – wiped – deleted – gone – no more. Ever.
Now try talking aliens to them. Try having them describe the film you have just watched. That’s how it is for me more and more.
So would you tell those innocents to “try harder” or “try again” or “I am working really hard to get you to remember!” What’s wrong with you? Don’t you love me? Try Harder? Try Again? Don’t you Get It?
(And just to confuse you and me? I have an access code to a piece of program I use once in a blue moon for work. I can recite that code with ease. I have no idea why – although that code has remained the same for many years – so maybe that is the reason. I wish I knew why. I wish you could tell me why.)
I cannot give you memory I do not have. I cannot replace memory with pretending. And you cannot give me memory. No matter how hard you try. No matter how hard you tell me to try.
I love Men in Black. I love you.