Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Broken Child: You Mean I Really Am Different - Enlighten Me Series

Part five of six here. We have one left to go. These excerpts point to the beginnings of my depression. From what I have gathered, my situation was the perfect storm for a little girl to lose her way. I was in great need of enlightenment and guidance.


Part Five: You Mean I Really am Different?

I felt isolated and alone. When I tried to make friends, they kept looking at me funny or laughed at me. What was going on? I don’t get it, why doesn’t anyone want to be near me? Probably because I was what… ugly, weird, or just confused? Would someone care to enlighten me? What was so weird about me?

To confirm that I was different, I was sent to special ed class. When I looked around me, I was confused. I didn’t resemble anyone in the classroom. I didn’t have the same disabilities or learning problems. My new teacher looked at me and said a little too sternly, “You shouldn’t be here. I don’t understand why they sent you to me. You don’t belong in this classroom.” I whole-heartedly agreed with her indignation, because I was feeling the same way about the situation. All I understood was that she seriously didn’t want me either. That I didn’t belong anywhere. I cried.

I was intelligent, but not articulate. I stuttered slightly when I got nervous. And I was anxiety filled for most of my school life. Once I remember my kindergarten teacher telling me to speak in English. I kept insisting I was. “But I am speaking English!” I cried. The principal came to our home and told my parents to only speak English at home, because I was getting confused. I remember thinking, “What is he talking about? What is wrong with these people, don’t they know English when they hear it? I hear English, I can read English, and I can speak in English.” I just didn’t get it.

Apparently when I first started school, I spoke nothing but Spanish. Years later, I realized that I must have mixed the two languages together, that it sometimes came out as a stutter searching for the right word. My mind was translating quickly but my mouth wasn’t fast enough.

Why didn’t anyone enlighten me? No one told me I was speaking Spanish! I didn’t know I was speaking another language. It would have helped me understand why no one understood me or wanted to play with me. It would have explained why every time I opened my mouth, the other kids would laugh or tease me. It would have also explained why teachers wouldn’t respond to me at times and instead gave me a lot of blank stares as though I wasn’t there at all.

How can I have not known that I was a different culture? It goes to show you that when a child, me, goes out into the world, too naive, too young to understand, with no real guidance, and adults too busy to realize my dilemma that I became a lost girl. I was a smart child, but not smart enough to figure it out.

I was a broken child and no one knew that I needed to be fixed.

The last one coming up. Part Six - No Way! You Mean I'm a Different Race? Confusion arises when you're as lily white as your neighbor, but then again, you aren't. WTF?

Saturday, May 12, 2012

Broken Child: You Can't Be Happy When You Can't See

Coming near the end of my six part story. These excerpts point to the beginnings of my depression. From what I have gathered, my situation was the perfect storm for a little girl to lose her way. I was in great need of enlightenment and guidance. My confusion was so complete when I was a child wondering around my elementary school. What have we learned so far:
Crying was the only thing I heard the first year of my life.
I was too young to go to school.
I didn't know I was a poor little girl.
And now: Add seeing on the list of things I do poorly.


Part Four: Seeing Could Have Helped

One day our second grade teacher announced that we were taking a new test. It was called an eye test. Why didn’t I know about this test? Why would she spring a test on us like this? I wasn’t prepared. If I went up there I knew I would cry and everyone would make fun of me. As the teacher administered the test to the other children I watched intently. There was no way I was going to fail this test if I could help it. I noticed that she pointed to every letter in the same pattern. By the time it was my turn, I looked at the board she was holding up and didn’t understand one letter on it, except for the big E. Why was it so difficult to make the letters out? Good thing I had memorized the pattern and passed the test with flying colors or so I thought. When I got my new glasses, by golly, I could see!

I realized that the confusion and haze I felt when I was a child was due in part to poor eyesight. Everything was blurry. I couldn’t see the black board. I couldn’t see people lips move. I couldn’t see the expressions on people's faces because my eyesight was that bad, almost clinically blind. But even after I started wearing glasses, my confusion about the world around me still didn’t get any clearer.

I wish now that someone had taken the time to enlighten me, to tell me that the reason I didn’t understand was because I was so nearsighted and had needed glasses for a very long time. Glasses just appeared on my face and Bam! Clarity. And Bam! Instant Dorkdom.

Glasses apparently were not cool.

Yeah. Something else to be made fun of. From now on whenever I was paired up with someone, they paired me with the other geek in the classroom. At least my glasses offered a new way to hide. I could hide behind them. They were like a miniature fence on my face that kept people out. It actually helped to repel them. I was considered a good looking girl until those glasses landed on my face. Boys never looked at me again.

Part Five: You Mean I am Different? Who knew? There was actually something different about me after all and I didn't even know it. And it wasn't good.