So, someone asked me today when did you first realize you were different?
I paused, thinking. But then a vision of myself popped in my mind from Sunday School when I was 4 or 5. I remember those days clearly because it was the first time I was thrust into social situations with other kids my age. I told her that I felt different then because I thought differently than most kids my age. I thought darker. I thought deeper I think. I thought in riddles and images. I thought really, really hard. All the time. And it hurt my brain. I took things really literally though too, ironically. Not sure why that is. But I did.
I recalled a time supersonically fast in my head, without relaying this information to this person. But it helped me recall the age. I was 4. I was in a sunday school class in church and we were being taught how to accept Jesus into our hearts. Now, most kids my age accepted what was being fed to them automatically, without much processing. Not sure how, but they didn’t, or so it seemed to me anyway. And I know this because they didn’t ask questions at all. They just blindly accepted it.
I not only asked the important questions, but I also dragged my teacher outside the classroom to explain to her the anguish I was going through in my mind. I asked with clenched fists with my eyes shut tight as if I were in pain … and I can remember that clearly…”Do you have to feel him come into your heart? Will he hurt my heart? Will I feel it? Do you have to FEEEEELLL him in your body? Does he walk in? Does he jump in?” I remember her laughing and comforting me and saying that it doesn’t hurt to accept him into your heart…that you just have to believe he is there. I didn’t understand the concept of simply believing, even as a child. I didn’t really even ever believe in Santa or the Easter Bunny. I had to feel something in order for it to be real. I had to see it. That is the way it’s been all my life. I had to rip everything apart until I understood it fully and could see a bigger picture, like a little engineer. Only then could I accept.
I was also written up in kindergarden every year (I failed kindergarden) because I played by myself and isolated too often in my own little world. I remember feeling very different then from everyone else. I don’t know why that is, but it carried through my whole life.
Maybe I really had issues with Bipolar back then…who knows. Very well could be although it is so hard to diagnose at such a young age.
I used to never understand why I didn’t think like everyone else. Why I didn’t like what others liked at the time. Why I spoke differently and backwards. Why I had thousands of trains going off in my brain at one time. If I followed the crowd, I was dreadfully bored. So, I escaped into my mind quite a bit and still do. But now, as I grow into this (took long enough) I am realizing that it is what makes us unique. It’s what makes us stand out. I was given this mind and heart for a reason and I have no choice but to embrace that now. I am proud of it…as odd as it may be at times.
I also remember twice I was really offended when two people at different times said some things in response to the way I spoke. I had so many issues with this growing up, because as kids we were stunted and not able to ‘speak’ our minds in the house. We were told to always shut up. And that kills a spirit fast.
One friend said after I had spouted off something that made complete sense to me, “Oh lizzy, the way you think! I don’t know how you do it!” It was in the tone of her voice that really shook me and embarrassed me. She was obviously frustrated with me and couldn’t understand a word I was saying, when I thought I was perfectly clear.
Another time, I was at a study and I had SIMPLY asked a girl a question. “Oh, where do you go to play volleyball?” Simple, right!? Pretty fucking straight forward if you ask me! Well, she says “Why is that it that I have the hardest time understanding your questions? You make no sense, ever.” i was so taken aback by this and so hurt that I cried the entire way home because it brought up my entire past and all my issues. I felt completely misunderstood.
I guess that is what it boils down to…a huge misunderstanding and self acceptance. I had become a mute basically. Now that I can write, I feel freer and it’s easier to express myself and that is very important to me. I was feeling so trapped in my lungs…so caged and crippled…when all it took was a unique way of expression to get the ball rolling and the voice cracking. It’s nice to be understood finally after 36 years. Even if it’s just me having the ability to understand myself more.
I tell ya, that I can feel. That I can understand. That I can believe. That I can accept. And yes, it hurts. A lot.