Warning: Personal pain here.
Note: Written on an iPhone really, really late at night.
And your champagne, and your cocaine
And your hot stocks, and your Botox
Won’t make you happier than me
— Warp 11, “I Don’t Want to Go to Heaven as Long as There Are Vulcans in Hell”
You may or may not know that I kinda went through a tough childhood, rife with abuse and psychologically affected parents and some isolation from things like society, technology, and modern medicine.
I escaped, or else I wouldn’t be writing this, and I’ve managed to do things like buy a house on a 30-year fixed during the less steep decline (not so great right now of course) and have a somewhat stressful IT job despite growing up knowing that technology was a sin.
Some things stay, though. After all, that’s what PTSD is for. There are things wrong with my head that I wish weren’t, and that’s what psychologists and a drug routine is for. But nothing fixes everything. It is a long and tiring journey, and some never make it out at all.
One of the things wrong with me has, naturally, to do with relationships. I emerged from that other country ((It was America, actually. Took a while for people to get around the idea of bringing in authorities where abuse is involved. Sadly, in some places, still does. An abusive home really is a foreign country within a country.)) with very little clue about the why’s and how’s and wherefore’s of relationships with other people. I’m still a loner but I’m human all the same, and need social contact. Not the best combination; quite a few false starts. I’m not a sociopath; for whatever reason, even if I don’t understand relationships, I still care about people. ((If you’re in my team and being stupid by coming into work sick as a dog, even if you’re not contagious, I can’t help but nag you and, if you don’t leave, bring you soup and food and medication and… Okay… More nagging. Sorry. This is behavior that I learned from TV, not my parents. I don’t know why I care about others; I just do.))
Let me make it clear, and this is something I had a long time trying to accept because it’s woefully antisocial, is that relationships as we know them in the West—and likely just about everywhere else—I just don’t get. Some are harder than others; I understand friendship better these days, but I don’t understand parental love, and I don’t understand sibling love, and I don’t understand love between partners, and I don’t even understand why people love pets.
Of course, parental love is hardest for me to understand. More than the others, I just have to take it on faith that this works for you guys.
It’s incredible. It’s weird. I’m sure there’s lots of people who don’t believe me. I don’t want to believe it but am starting to conclude it more and more.
In other words, I’m an alien in this culture.
Kinda like a Vulcan, I suppose, except I don’t do logic well, math is actually a bit hard for me, and I don’t have the pointy ears. I’m damn well not unique either, and I still share certain things with humans because I am human. It’s a little tiny bit like Spock.
Well. Not like old Spock, who we celebrated for his utter alieness. More like New Spock, who explores, far earlier and far more, his human side. Some don’t like this change, but to me it’s real; after all, he’s still conflicted about his biracial heritage, and he’s trying something else after having been rejected by the Vulcans. Uhura accepts him, and that is a relief and refuge even a Vulcan could need.
(Indeed, I wonder if Sarek, Spock’s father, felt some isolation in his duties as a diplomat far from his home planet, and Amanda’s acceptance was a similar salve. One that fellow Vulcans, more insular, may have understatedly jeered at.)
And I suppose part of me identifies with New Kirk, who isn’t a paragon of studiousness with but a touch of the rebel. Here, what I identify with is his ascent from being someone you couldn’t imagine joining Starfleet, to a captain with honors. Few ever expected me to go to college, become a programmer, write and blog and stuff, not even, and this is important, myself. . And I felt that New Kirk had something in his heart other than merely joining on a dare—someone for once saw something in him.
It’s hidden and some people don’t get that vibe from his performance on sceen, but I see it there. It’s like how I see that young Spock still doesn’t understand humanity, still tries to hang onto his heritage. It seems like the end message is that his human side is superior to his Vulcan side, but I think it’s just different. Worked there, probably not going to work elsewhere in whatever sequel comes next.
And the fact that the planet Vulcan doesn’t magically come back soothes me as well, oddly enough. Sometimes scars, bad ones, are left. We must move past—but what some may not know is that the scars are always there. They do not go away. They are never completely forgotten. I’m so tired of stories where this is assumed to be the case. So what happened to Vulcan feels like an acknowlegement that life is sometimes irrevocably damaged. (And also that New Kirk doesn’t magically get a father back. Heartbreakingly personal. I understand that much about less psycho parents.)
But in spite of that darkness, New Trek still captures the optimism of Old Trek. They overcome the scary baddy and don’t die. There is hope even though the Vulcans are reduced.
That’s what I take away from New Trek.
I’m aware that to others these may seem flawed and whimsical interpretations of an action movie. I know that these may not have been intended by the writers; still, interpretation is a reader and viewer luxury.
And that is why I’m sometimes a little protective of New Trek, just as others are protective of Old Trek because that’s what spoke to them. Neither is worse than the other; it’s just different.
I just hope that you get what I see a little bit better than how little I get parent/child love.