Dec. 2nd, 2016 06:39 pm
aliaspseudonym: (Default)
[personal profile] aliaspseudonym
my childhood doesn’t make sense to me. i can’t fit it into any familiar narrative. i read a lot of books and was consistently friends with zero to one people. i spent recesses wandering around on my own waving my arms and acting out variations on stories from books or cartoons. i don’t remember anyone picking on me. did i somehow fail to notice? was i too strange? was i too uninterested in human beings, too focused on the names of dinosaurs and the life cycles of stars? i don’t know.

i remember spending a lot of time at school walking in circles. when we had free time in the gym i would walk around the walls of the room examining the walls. i would let my fingernails trail along the walls to feel the vibration. i did the same thing in junior high school during lunch periods, when i had nothing to read. the school was a big circle and i’d walk around it over and over running my hand along the walls and thinking, not talking to anyone. i remember walking in smaller circles around the playground in elementary school waving my arms and imagining battles or something, i’m not really sure.

i remember being terrified of abstraction and unconcerned with anything real. i spent a lot of time considering whether i could see through reality by turning my head very quickly. i’d gone through all the strange thought experiements. there was no way to prove my family was real and not aliens experimenting on me, nor did my past experience rule out that in an instant reality could be yanked away and i thrown into a pit of flames for no reason. i imagined a long chain of iterated selves, each blissfully existing for only a moment before plunging into destruction and replaced by another, identical copy. how could any of the copies suspect a thing, in their brief moment of life? i remember being haunted by existential terror related to things that don’t seem particularly scary anymore. i remember lying awake in bed and trying to wrestle the offending thoughts into a imaginary jar to put up on a shelf and not touch but just feel looming uneasily in the back of my mind. Once for a special event one of my elementary teachers dressed up as a clown and did everything in mime and that was so unnerving I started crying and she had to break character to reassure me that nothing had really changed. i remember a period when i’d frequently touch my forehead to make sure i hadn’t developed a third eye since the last time i checked. i remember being afraid of looking in mirrors under low light in case i discovered some unimaginable truth about myself. i don’t know why i thought that was scary, exactly. i remember thinking that the way christianity worked was you accumulated bad stuff no matter what you did and had to constantly ask for forgiveness, and just really hope that you died right after asking for forgiveness i guess? i had no sense of it being about doing good or bad things, really.

i remember my mom had this storybook about a little boy who likes to play with dolls and kids tease him but it’s okay because later it makes him better at taking care of his babies when he gets married. the boy had the same given name as me. i think i got the wrong message from that book.

i remember lying in bed staring at the ceiling, bouncing my eyes around from one corner to another. i remember being afraid to have the closet door open because i’d imagine things from the shapes. i guess i invented things to be afraid of, because wasn’t afraid of anything real?

i remember reading wildly, indiscriminately. i read many, many books from my elementary school library. i read a lot of pulp novels about teenages who played sports and had literally nothing in common with me. books were absorbing and reality, and people, were kind of dull. i was excessively good at school, good enough to breeze through much of it even though i wasn’t really capable of paying attention to it. i remember eventually they diagnosed me with some stuff and gave me pills to help me focus better, when i started having trouble. they diagnosed me with an anxiety disorder, also. i don’t know if that was right or not. i didn’t know what anxiety was.

i remember eventually i started trying to socialize, clumsily and exclusively online. i was on some forums and things. i made sprites and rudimentary art and wrote fragements of stories i never talked about or showed anyone. i was afraid of people finding out who i really was and i have no idea why. i just read books and felt things intensely and never talked about them with anyone. it seemed like a good idea at the time?

i remember in high school i dated a girl because she asked me out and i was starting to feel like i needed to stop saying ‘no’ to things by default, but i didn’t understand what dating was or what relationships were and i had basically no actual interested in her, and i dragged her to a stupid church event i’m sure she hated at one point, and at another her friends tried to shun me for being insufferable for several days and i literally didn’t notice what they were doing until they apologized for it. she eventually broke up with me. i’m very sorry about the whole 64.thing.

i remember i used to own an N64 strategy guide with information about games like blast corps and starfox. we did not own any game console at that time. i remember i read it through multiple times, i found the instructions captivating. the black and white printed illustrations of N64 graphics just looked like blurry messes open to the imagination. walking to and from elementary school i’d pretend i was going through instructions like those, step on this crack, splash this puddle, break this patch of ice in just this pattern to open the secret passage. once i was over an hour late for school because i lost track of time doing this. the walk normally takes 5 or so minutes.

i think perhaps i should have been discouraged from reading quite so many books and encouraged to take an interest in the other children my age. but i was a boy and i sounded like a small adult when you talked to me and reading is considered generically good so obviously there couldn’t be anything wrong with me. so they only bothered me when i was opening reading novels instead of paying attention in class, and even then not all that consistently.

i remember being told, over and over, that the next kind of school would be more difficult. that i would have to take notes. that i would ‘hit a wall’ and suddenly underperform because i never learned good study habits. i remember being given a long speech by one of my computer teachers about some hypothetical person who has a very high IQ but works as a janitor or something because he’s too prideful and lazy to look for work.
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