Adapting

29 Jan

Elementary school was not very difficult for me. I got good grades, and I was in the schools gifted programs. I was pretty active in school activities and I had a few friends. I was by no means one of the popular girls, but I went to school in a small town with a lot of people I grew up with.

When I was in fourth grade, I didn’t like recess very much, so I would go visit old teachers. My favorite second grade teacher would let older students come in during their break, if they worked with the younger students. I really enjoyed helping, so I gathered a group of other students, and we spent our breaks helping the younger kids learn to read and spell. It was a lot of fun.

I became more of an outcast as I got older. Weird things were going on at my home, and most of the kids just weren’t dealing with the kind of issues I had already. Things like anger, death, and sex aren’t normal topics for the average elementary student. I found it very difficult to relate to the other kids, and I didn’t have much in common with other girls because I was such a tomboy.

Outside of school I had several friends. The street I grew up on was full of young families, so all the kids played together often. Afterschool the kids would get together and play street hockey, or hide and go-seek. We would go on adventures, ride bikes, and explore the area. I didn’t have friends over often, it just wasn’t my idea of fun, but I loved going to friends’ houses and seeing how their families interacted.

One of the families’ that lived on our street had an older mentally disabled son. He would sit out on the bricks in front of his house, and try to get the kids to come talk to him. He often convinced the girls on the street to come sit on his lap, and he liked to hug them. I won’t lie; I sat on his lap once to and just thought he was weird and overly friendly. I didn’t think much of it, but I knew I didn’t want to go near him anymore.

About a week later another girl on the street sat on his lap too. I guess he tried to kiss her, and her Dad saw her trying to get away from him, and the police were called. He was apparently a registered sex offender, and his parents were supposed to be supervising him. I am not sure what happened to him, but we never saw him outside again.

It was saddening to think that there were bad people everywhere, at home and on the street. Where was I safe? I didn’t have very much trust or faith in people after that. I felt like my parents couldn’t keep me safe. I felt like I had the world on my shoulders, and I had to take care of it on my own. I think it made me a very independent person early on. I never worked well in groups, I felt like the other kids would fail at their part, and it would all come down to me any way, why not just do it all myself? I made myself an outcast with this attitude, and I really started to dislike people in general.

I decided if the people who were supposed to keep me safe and take care of me were going to do a crappy job, then I would do it myself. This “do- it-yourself” attitude stuck with me. To this day, I still feel like I can do it better myself. It’s funny how the things you do to adapt as a child help shape who you are as an adult.

© I Am Not Defined, 2012. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited.

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6 Responses to “Adapting”

  1. roadtomed January 29, 2012 at 2:00 pm #

    It’s crazy how much my life relates to yours!! I just wonder if this attitude will bring any good in my life… thank you for sharing:)

  2. Miss Emm January 29, 2012 at 4:28 pm #

    Your entry made me cry. Cry because I actually wanted to hug you, and the only way to do it would be hugging my laptop.

    I am sorry that you endured what you did. No child should ever be exposed to any of it. Childhood is supposed to be about fun, careless games, running, playing….and it breaks my heart that there are children who never experienced any of it. Instead they are faced with depression and stress.

    For what its worth….Keep your head up high. At least you know you aren’t co-dependent and you can survive.

  3. JustNez January 29, 2012 at 8:33 pm #

    I relate to this post on a few levels! The one closest to home for me is the do-it-yourself attitude and my attitude towards people! For me, its pratically a burden…

    Thanks for sharing!

  4. Libby Lu January 30, 2012 at 7:24 am #

    Well written. I like your honesty. Thanks for sharing your heart/feelings with us.
    Libby

  5. teeceecounsel January 30, 2012 at 11:11 am #

    Be yourself dear, as long as you are sure that’s the way you like it. Even though it is often said that old habbits die hard, I’ve seen personalities turn around. Enjoy your uniqueness and inspire the world! Just be the best you that you can ever be!

  6. sandrabranum February 2, 2012 at 10:29 am #

    Your childhood sounds so much like mine… I was bullied in school and created a “stuck up” attitude. My logic was: if they can’t get to me, they can’t hurt me. Later in life it backfired because I had developed this attitude so well that everybody thinks I’m stuck up when I’m actually very shy.

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