(so i'm reading this story, and it's all centered around the father's interaction with his son, and his observations on the son's behaviour in general and this kind of sprang from reading something from the point of view that i have no experience of. this passage in particular kind of sparked it: Isaac is instantly surrounded by a horde of children asking his name and helping him adjust to the game, Isaac smiles shyly at everyone but even from this far away Derek can tell he is feeling overwhelmed. He regularly turns to make eye contact with Derek, as if reassuring himself of his father’s presence. Derek nods patiently each time, holds a steady gaze with Isaac and tries to convey the reassurance that he’s right there and he won't be going anywhere.)
i have these strong memories
of being walked inside my school in first grade
and hanging up my tiny backpack
and feeling important when i went into the classroom.
and these memories
they have a sour tang to them now
because every time i felt so powerful
all of that power was taken away
because whoever walked me inside
i have been Not Okay for my entire life.
the word anxiety has followed me from the day i first heard it.
a Generalized Anxiety Disorder.
it took me a long time to know what it meant.
now i know it means
mama or daddy leaving too soon.
it means sparkle plenty,
and being lied to,
that breathing deep dispels nausea.
it means sleeping until noon because someone asked you where you were yesterday
and you don't know how to say,
i got so scared of interacting with people that i almost threw up.
and it means feeling isolated and ostracized and wrong and Not Okay and like a lie
because of a neat little box that someone put you in,
closed the lid and said,
there's no way out without making it worse, so much worse.
but the point is,
i remember feeling so small i couldn't breathe.
i remember being small and wishing people took me seriously.
and then i became a social being, and i forgot all about my Big Ideas.
i forgot who i was for nearly a decade because
because children are not supposed to have Big Ideas
and they were pounded out of me.
i am 80% an introvert
and the other 20% makes me weep for humanity
because the only people i know
they do not understand my new Big Ideas.
this is not the point i was trying to make.
i have that tendency to get off topic and find new Big Ideas.
also not my point.
all i'm saying is,
i remember being small.
i remember being scared and worried and being told it was okay when it wasn't.
i remember crying for no reason because there was just so much tension and i couldn't handle dad being grumpy.
i don't remember the happy parts.
i remember being scolded and chastised and brushed off.
i remember tantruming and my sister laughing at me and not feeling good enough.
i remember being told i was exceptionally smart and then, ten minutes later, getting something wrong and thinking,
what is wrong with me?
i remember being just as Not Okay then as I am now.
when i remember being small, i can only wish i remember being Okay.