What the hell happened to me? Part 1
by, 17-Sep-2013 at 19:00 (412 Views)
I'm going to write at length about events that happened in my childhood, experiences I had, that I believe triggered my AB-ism. This will be self-exploration and storytelling all wrapped into one. I hope you enjoy it.
I looked up at the nurse in the white lab coat. Of course, I didn't know who, or what she was, but she was not my mother. She stood off to one side, her angelic 18-year old face beaming down on me like the sun. I smiled up at her and giggled, and then chortled a little bit as the cold thermometer was inserted into my backside. That was... uncomfortable. But, I didn't cry. There was nowhere I felt safer and more loved than in the presence of my mom. I couldn't have been more than a few months old and this is my first conscious memory.
I don't remember potty training. My parents said I picked it up quickly, though, around age 3. I have spotty memories of early childhood but nothing really concrete. Fleeting moments here and there, a certain smell might trigger a recollection. Fragments of images of family and friends, audio reminders of the music that filled our home. I don't remember the divorce at all, though.
I was 2 years old and blissfully unaware that my mom had dumped my father for his childhood best friend and current bandmate. As a journeyman musician for the last two decades I have seen this in other bands a million times, so it was ironically funny to know just how close I was to this, and at such a young age. My father was, at the time, an idealist who dreamed of being the next big thing, and at 20 years old wasn't well suited to the responsibility of raising a son. My soon-to-be stepfather, however, was already working a steady union job making good money, he loved my mom and wanted a family. Plus, he had fewer illusions about fame and fortune as a rock star. And so, my parents divorced, a friendship was forever altered, a band disintegrated, and a few years later, when I was 5, my mother remarried my stepfather and they still remain married to this day.
But I'm jumping ahead a little bit. In between the divorce and remarriage, I enjoyed a great period of bonding with my mother. She taught me the alphabet and how to read. I was going through Little Golden Books by the time I was 4. It was around this time that I began to hold on to memories and they were so good, positive, and warm. That all changed when I was enrolled in school.
Starting kindergarten at age 4 was daunting. Most of the kids were a year older. Due to school busing, I was shipped off to a school in a more affluent district where most of my peers had nicer things, new clothes, and well-off parents. I was a working-class brat from the projects wearing hand-me-downs from my older cousins who were a couple grades ahead of me. To make it worse, I was already more advanced on reading and writing than they were. Being smart + being an outcast, not a good combination. It wasn't long before the bullying began, because I had no friends at school and no one to stand up for me.
But, that's a bit ahead of the game. I enjoyed kindergarten for the most part, I just didn't care for my classmates who were petty, cruel, and vain. I just wanted to read, to get lost in something interesting, not relearn my ABC's. I liked coloring, but was always bad at it. One time, my teacher came over and tried to correct me on my elephant, which was definitely the wrong color... and the lines didn't seem to matter either. As she gently tried to instruct me, I put down my crayon, looked up at her with a terse expression, and said, "Mrs. Kenyon, will you please stop being so obnoxious?"
I can still remember the look on her face. It was priceless. On one hand, she must have been bothered by a 4 year old sassing her like that but on the other, she was amazed that I had used THAT word and knew what it meant. She became one of my biggest champions trying to get me into the gifted program, and bless her for trying, but I was too much of a behavior problem. I was hyperactive, temperamental, I didn't take direction well, and I didn't have the pedigree that the kids in the "gifted" program had (in sixth grade I finally got in, only to realize that all of the other kids there were from affluent families and, while legitimately gifted intellectually, I didn't notice any other smart kids who were of more modest means. Again, I felt out of place and unwelcome, and spent my one day a week in the gifted program playing Oregon Train on the old Apple IIe computers...
Next up, first grade and the discovery of wetting and what it did for me...