Thursday, 29 December 2011

About Me, Part 7: Time, Clock of The Heart

By the time Easter break in 1983 came around, I was a wreck. Severe anxiety made getting over a particularly bad flu a couple of months earlier worse and very difficult to get over. It moved from my chest and throat to my stomach. At one point, my sinuses and the tear ducts in one of my eyes were infected and I developed a rash on my eyelids. I had a coughing spasm, exacerbated by a bad fall on to my back at home, which lasted well into the summer.

While the bullying continued at school, my mother, at odds with my grandparents over having moved to Ontario, became emotionally dependent on me. One example of this was that I was expected to buy her birthday gifts; a card was not enough. On a couple of occasions, I went without dinner over this. In retrospect, I can see that both of us were under an incredible amount of stress, but what I mis-learned from this dynamic then was that I existed for others, not myself: a "lesson" I was learning at school too. At school, meanwhile, the bullying was occasionally turning into physical assaults. While walking down the hall one day, I was kicked hard by one of the class bullies. In addition, a "friend" I had made the previous fall, himself damaged goods after living in a series of foster homes, was becoming a tormentor in his own right. Verbal abuse was standard daily fare.

In late May, my mother and I left for Montreal for an extended vacation, with me getting permission to finish my school year early; I remember how anxious and desperate I was to travel back home. It felt like three-and-a-half months of recuperation. I had lost a great deal of wait: I made some of it back as my anxiety faded, at least temporarily. I hung around with some old friends who were now in high school. One traumatic event marred that summer, though. I was abused by a relative, something that I kept hidden for many years afterwards.

The reason why I'm going on at length about this is that I feel it's necessary to see how I lost myself, or better yet how I was robbed of myself repeatedly in so many ways, in order to appreciate what a gift it was to rediscover myself later. I simply did not have an identity then of any kind, hence I had no awakenings to my gender identity or orientation. Crushes on boys were something I suppressed by amping up my crushes on girls. And I fell in love the way many girls around me seemed to. For now, what it all meant was lost in the din of other peoples projections and agendas.

To be continued ...

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