First Grade

by authorameai

Insight Into Who I Am

I had five phrases that I said regularly at this age: “I don’t want to,” (though I always did what I was told), “Tell me when I came” (to hear a substitution birth story), “So what?,” “What now?” (indicating that I was waiting for orders), and “What’s so bad?” (used for various reasons).

Geoffrey Chaucer Elementary School (GCES) Classmates and Teachers

There were a few children I still remember from elementary school. There was a tomboy, a girl whose mother put her hair into braids, and a boy who had 11 brothers and sisters. Other than that it’s pretty fuzzy.

Learning About Boys (Continued)

Michael White was my crush from 1st to 4th grade. Later on he was well-known in high school and eventually became class president. The first time I learned that guys pick on girls they like is when Scotty Ledger hit me on the head with a textbook. He was reprimanded by his parents after I told my parents and they passed on the news.

Developing a Role Model Archetype

Another thing that happened around now was that by at least the age of six (I know because it is captured on film for Christmas 1989), I had already established the Venus/Aphrodite archetype in my mind (I had the Britney Spears complex). The 1980’s made sex seem so awesome. I was fascinated with cleavage, and I think many children are. I did not understand anything about propriety. In first grade a woman in the childcare program called Mom because two older boys told me to lift up my skirt, and I did. Once in the grocery store, I was playing hide and seek. I lifted my Mom’s dress as high as I could and hid underneath saying, “I bet you can’t find me.” Mom told me, embarrassed, to get out from under there. One thing I always wanted as a child was to be sexy for some reason. I never saw discrimination against sex idols, so therefore all I saw was the image of a strong and powerful woman. I naïvely wanted that power. I can still remember all this because during my depression in high school, I was still young enough in age to remember, and I vowed to remember at least until I could write my feelings on paper.

Learning About Conforming, Bullying, and Discrimination

When I was very young, like five, I was very carefree. I suppose that is my natural way of being, but then society imposed rules on me, and for the rest of my childhood I was mostly uptight and unhappy. I spent kindergarten with my best friend Anna Kite because it was closer to where my mom worked. That was the first mistake my parents made. When first grade rolled around, my parents decided to move me to a school closer to where we lived. Children had made friends and had developed cliques. I was already an outsider. As a child I thought everyone loved everyone else, and that there was no division of people at all. I entered school, and that was the first thing I was faced with; the bullies were against me because I was the new kid. Because I was often the person being bullied and because no one else was brave enough to stand up for me, I was often left alone. It was not my high school experiences that most disturbed me. I was most disturbed by this elementary school experience. Ever since, kids in my elementary school would rarely befriend me, and once you start a habit of not befriending people you never break it, and you will never find out if maybe the person you do not befriend could have been the best friend you ever would have had. Even in high school no one from my elementary school ever dared to befriend me. Perhaps they were too afraid of being bullied too. My God! I was an outcast because of habits that cannot be broken!

I remember having three friends in first grade. It is with Marseilles Copain that I first began to create secret codes. My code name was A**-*-E (not using actual morse code).

Then there was Shama Songh who was Indian. She was teased because of her heavy weight (she was nicknamed Shamu after the whale) and because her Indian diet, which caused her to smell funny. I was friends with another Indian girl too, but she was not heavy. Weight was an easy thing to target. The physical education teacher was made fun of because of weight. She eventually dieted and lost weight. I befriended Shama and brought her home so that Dad could perform magic tricks for her. When she got older we would go to therapy together to see a counselor who we called Mrs. Hamburger because her name ended in “berger” though I do not remember why I was there.  She developed a bad habit of exaggerating the truth. I remember someone saying that she complained about hurting her leg, though the leg she limped with changed throughout the day. Later on I was proud of her because in high school she had made Indian friends, and I could see that she had become empowered.

After I learned about weight discrimination I learned about interracial couples. My first grade teacher, Mrs. Jay, left the year after I was in first grade. She married a basketball player. He came to visit the class. I remember seeing him have to bend down to enter the classroom. That was the first interracial couple I ever saw, but I did not know that it was a big topic or issue at the time.

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