Thursday, August 24, 2006

School Daze

Summer time used to drag. I never did the usual childhood things like camp or baseball, but I was happy just not to go to school. I wasn’t “happy” in general, but I was happier at home than I was at school. Every year started out the same. I loved the new school supplies and wanted so bad for this year to “be different”. This year I was going to try harder and keep up and pay attention and do better. I was defiantly going to remember to bring my stuff to class and I was defiantly not going to forget it every day.

School was the bane of my existence. I spent most of my evenings during the school year crying to my mother about how I didn’t have any friends and other kids didn’t like me. Mom and I had always been very close. I was the oldest. My brother and sister were “the little kids”. Sometimes Mom would talk to me about things that were bothering her and I’d do my best to comfort her. She and I were very close until about fourth grade. Before that I really never had any other friends.

Mom, overwhelmed by my social and academic difficulties, decided to put me in private school. As I understand it now, Mom had wanted to put me in private school for a while and Dad didn’t want to. He had been “backward”, as he puts it, in school, but he knew the solution to that. You have to learn to deal with things. (Why didn’t I ever think of that?) He didn’t want to spend the money on tuition, but Mom felt that the problems I was having in school would be solved. Or maybe it was just that she was ready to try anything out of sheer desperation. Either way, I was transferred in the middle of fifth grade to a small, religious, private school.

The religion based school had a dress code that required skirts below knees for girls and sleeves below elbows for everyone. Girls couldn’t cut their hair during the school year and couldn’t wear makeup or jewelry. State laws didn’t require private school teachers to have any license or certification to teach so none of the teachers were certified. All of the classes were made up of two grades combined. My teacher looked like she was in her mid forties, but I found out later she was about ten years younger than she looked. Everyone was nice at first, but soon the cycle started all over again.

I was the person who didn’t fit. Prior to the transition, I assumed (as did my mother) that it was the mean, cruel children in the class with me, or in the playground or on the buss. I always knew I was different, but then everyone does, right? No one is the same as anyone else, so, therefore, we’re all “different”. Most of us, however, can manage to function as part of a group. This was my downfall.

My hypersensitivity didn’t help. I could be brought to the verge of tears by the idea that someone “didn’t like me”. Because I always had the idea that people didn’t like me, I was always on the verge of tears or maybe just numb to the world. I was always left outside the circle. I always tried too hard. I never “got it”. I felt isolated, alone and frustrated. Above all else, I couldn’t ever seem to figure out 1.) What the problem was nor 2.) How to fix it. School was my nemesis.

I was always in a fog and never knew what was going on. That’s the story of my life.