We All Have Our Scars

Photography: G. Farquhar
Model: G. Farquhar
Digital editing: G. Farquhar

I started First Year at Powis Academy in Aberdeen, less than a year after my little brother died. At the time, I was suffering a great deal, but had no way of expressing it – instead I bottled it all up and just carried on with my life. I remember enduring an intense amount of stress and grief and I remember responding to this with a sort of numbness. It was an absolutely horrible time in my life and the only time that ever matched it in sheer intensity was a sequence of events that took place in 2009.

This report card came from my first year at Powis Academy (now known as St. Machar Academy). My mum gave it to me fairly recently, and I was intrigued to notice how the words “tries hard” (or variations of them) kept turning up. I’m described as being “slow” and “struggling”… and the overwhelming impression I get from this card is of a kid who’s essentially… a bit dim. Well-meaning perhaps, but simply not up to the tasks ahead.

At the time, nobody knew I had Asperger’s Syndrome. Everything might have gone very different for me if that had been the case. There was even a time, when boarding school was discussed. And also, for a kid who was desperate to escape from some very harsh realities – at home, at school and basically everywhere I turned – that was an amazing prospect. Also, I had only recently stopped reading Enid Blyton novels, so my impression of boarding school was definitely influenced by those stories. Ultimately, nothing came of the boarding school discussions. But if it had been known that I had Asperger’s Syndrome, that would have definitely tipped the scales in the other direction. So in that area at least, there’s a recognisable element in which my life would have been very different.

In the end, I persevered. Not through strength of will or of character or anything like that. But by enduring every day and week and month until things got better and until all the tragedies and traumas and ordeals were left behind. We all have our scars. Most of us recover from them.

And in 2009 with the car accident and the period of homelessness and the loss of purpose and the end of a career and the convalescence… and the sheer, mind-numbing tedium that was the inevitable result of having nothing to do after I’d grown accustomed to working a sixty hour week. I discovered PhotoShop. I discovered a talent in digital art. I found a new business to get involved in. I was diagnosed as having Asperger’s Syndrome. I found a new purpose – and it is absolutely vital to have some sort of purpose going on.

The car accident was devastating. But it was definitely a catalyst for a lot of other things to happen. They were difficult and stressful and traumatic. But I endured. And things got better.
TheNakedPoet TheNakedPoet
46-50, M
2 Responses Jan 23, 2013

This was a powerful read Poet. Thanks for sharing this inner part of yourself. I'm sure knowing that you have Asperger's Syndrome gave you a whole new perspective on your experiences in school and helped you to understand your own self a little better. This is a perfect example of how grades are not really an accurate scale when measuring intelligence, because I'm sure then, like you are now, you were highly intelligent.

I think most people, on some level, are highly intelligent. But a lot of us are told that we're not intelligent at all - because the intellect we have is not one of those few that are measured by the schools we go to. I was always smart. But I always struggled with the school system. And, looking back on that particular year, I know I was also deeply damaged. The horrible thing is that people weren't really aware of it, because I shut down - and so it was hidden. I genuinely believe that if schools were more flexible... if they could recognise peoples' individual talents and nurture them... then we'd have a better generation of kids coming up.

I agree and it's not much different here in the states. This is why my son is home schooled. In fifth grade, he actually said that he'd rather kill himself then be at school. Kids don't understand and he was always the weird kid, in turn those kids do cruel things. Like you, my son is smart, but he just learns differently and does not care to follow the norms of what other teens are into.

Dealing with feeling different and your brother's death must of been very traumatic, but I'm glad that you found your passions despite the troubles you had.

That first picture speaks volumes by the way. It really tells a story in itself.

This was both heart breaking and inspiring G guy.....To go through that sort of pain BOTH times and still make it thru is amazing. To come out and still be looking for that purpose is extraordinary...so many folks cave right in with so much less going wrong..... It's fascinating to stop and think how life could have taken different turns....

I relate to a lot of what you went thru. I had a few report cards that looked just like yours. I had totally different circumstances but scars were collected just the same. I was raised with a totally diagnosed psycho for a sister and her main goal in life was to see me dead.... We all but lived in psychiatrists offices while I was growing up. They talked to me almost as much as to her....but at home you still had to learn where to hide just to survive...
Day by day and sometimes minute by minute was how I got thru too..... In some ways I am still very good at hiding.....

hugs and hugs for sharing this with us....We learn so much from finding out what other folks have gone thru..... More hugs...just cause you made it.... :)
I genuinely admire you Graham....I do....

My own sister was pretty deranged as well. Though clearly not on the same level as yours. She was angry and bitter and she loved to be at the centre of a lot of mayhem, so long as she could spread it around and drag others down with her. Which usually meant me. And there was no way I could convince anyone that she had (for example) tried to climb out of a second storey bedroom window, because that was completely ludicrous. The thing is, there's not much admirable about me in this posting. I'm not being self-depracatory or modest, there. It's just that it's not like I really did anything all that cool or fixed things or anything like that. I didn't make other peoples' lives easier, in any way. All I did was keep my head down and try to draw as little attention to myself as possible. The fact that I endured and came out of it all relatively sane is testament to my resilience, but that's about it. Resilience is good, but not exactly a heroic characteristic.

This is where I can totally disagree with you.....Sometimes just surviving and being resilient is TOTALLY heroic......To save yourself by any means possible is huge.....That might just be my own whacky way of thinking but it's how I see it just the same....So there is no way you can squiggle out of my admiration for you....

I agree with Sierra. So many people go through less than what you have been through and use it as an excuse to stay down. They don't take personal responsibility and blame their being down on their past. You my friend, continue to move forward the best you can without excuses. The fact that you found the positives in your life and realize that your experiences brought you to where you are in life in a good way, makes you an inspiration to others. It's a reminder that we can take control of our lives and find our dreams, despite our pasts. So, don't downsize our admiration for you, because it's well deserved.