Thursday, February 23

The first ten years

It's not easy to recall what I learned when I was very young and everything gets put through a filter; time makes some things seem not as bad or less awesome. But I don't want to approach it that way, too much: the things I loved I loved. The things that were bad, not so much-even if now, it doesn't seem so.

I want to focus on the positive but I almost feel like that would be doing myself a disservice. I learned things and they weren't all good.

I learned that I would be mocked for loving something people didn't understand much about (in my case, dinosaurs and space exploration.) I learned that I didn't want to be different but I was; my clothes, my glasses, my interests. I learned to be exclusive, because I was afraid of being teased by newcomers and I didn't take teasing well at all from anyone, especially people close to me. I learned that being smart didn't seem to matter to anyone else but my parents.

I learned to hate work. I remember my parents bought me a 'Slave Boy' t-shirt because of my complaints. I think I took it pretty well, all things considered. I wore it, at least.

I learned that going to people in charge was no way to ensure that your problem would be taken care of. That one hurt, quite a bit.

I think I learned a lot of things that would make me sad, later and mean, too. But there were some important and good things too.

I learned the good guys didn't always win and that bothered me. They should. Being right matters-though at the time, I thought that being right meant getting your way.

I learned that you stand by your friends; the promise you make to them matters, because I didn't like it when someone broke a promise to me.

I learned that thunderstorms, light sabers and giant lizards with teeth were cool, that maybe the monsters weren't all bad. I learned to ride a bike. I learned I like to walk around and see the city. Wintergreen was tastier than spearmint. That there was something about girls that I couldn't figure out but I liked-or at least wanted to like. They scared the hell out of me. Women, not so much; they at least talked to me about things I could understand-or let me talk about things I understood.

I learned to build spaceships from Legos and Tinker Toys. I learned to tell stories and draw maps and all that mattered was that things were cool.

I learned to read and to love stories. I'm sure I'm missing more but there are three more decades to go and only so much time.

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