I was born in 1984. This is the year George Orwell predicted his story where Brother is always watching you. He is in your television screen, your neighbor, your lover, and perhaps he is even yourself.
What I remember of elementary. I began kindergarten in 1990, the beginning of the decade known for grunge music. How does a child grow up in the age of “I don’t care” also known as apathy? I can tell you it was easy. From ages six to eleven you only think of having fun and who you can have have fun with.
I hung around the people who brought toys to school that were against the rules. I created the person who became the person who everyone hated because she was so bad. Her mom was a first grade teacher at my school that year. Everything this girl did she learned from me even though I didn’t go as far as she did. I kicked the aluminum can and she made it flammable and set it to explode. I dated a boy in third grade. He was the first and last boy I would ever think I was attracted to. We both had “clubs”. I had zero members and he had two others. I joined his because it was obvious to me that his club was better than mine because it had more members. Never you mind I should tell you what we named our clubs.
In Fourth grade, it seemed that I was finally getting the hang of homework and what teachers expected of me. I was lucky that year. I had the most anal retentive teacher in all of our elementary, Mrs. Anderson (I’m actually using her real name here). I ripped a piece of paper in half by folding the paper in half and licking it. She told me, “I can’t believe you didn’t use a pair of scissors. You are old enough to be civilized.” I thought, “Whatever. I wanted the paper cut and used what I had on me.” This is when I knew for sure that I was not the student every teacher at my private school sought after.
I broke all the underlining rules of my school. These are the rules none of the teachers told you was “wrong” according to them and their religion. I hung out with all the people I wasn’t supposed to hang out with.
It wasn’t until I was twelve in sixth grade that I knew I was going to get in a heap of trouble, more than I have ever before. I’m not going to tell you what I did, but you might be able to guess from previous posts. I’ll leave it up to you to research that. But this, I knew, I was going to be expelled (even though I was expelled from preschool at the same school. Yes, it’s true). I learned to keep quiet. I chose my friends carefully. If I saw the same characteristics I had in someone else, I avoided them completely (with one exception…another story).
I was the quiet one in high school. I tried not to laugh at things. I didn’t know what was against the religion of our school. It seemed as if anything they didn’t like was against the religion. I had no idea what that was.
Now that I’m done with that school and it’s almost ten years in the past, I am almost the person I wanted to be…except hiding myself has killed my motivation. I want to be the change I want to see in the world, but it’s much harder than usual.
My elementary years were the best years of my life. I ran and played with the boys. The guys wanted to know if I liked them and I never told them (even though every girl liked S.J.). We got to play in the playground twice a day, three times if we were a good class as a whole.
If you’re a parent with a child in elementary, let them be. You know once they get into junior high and up, the pressure to be something you’re not rises more and more. If you are that child in elementary, don’t let them take your spirit. And to everyone else who has already been jaded by everyone around you telling you what you should be and what you should do, the road back to yourself is long and hard, but you can do it with the right environment and people. Find a group. There is a website called meet-up that has almost any kind of interest. Go to concerts. Amanda Palmer concerts are the best events to find those who can relate to you (even if you are different from them). Like her song “Bottomfeeder”, fall into the crowd. Those who hold you up are your friends. Look into their eyes. Trust them. All those people who stood in your way will fade away.