I Was a Kid Once Too

I was a kid once too. I admit it, I was part of a crowd. I admit to being part of the wild ones. We were the crazy kids in the town. We laughed and we carried on. We ran around and we caused some havoc. But we were young at the time and this is what kids do. Isn’t it?

We were both hopeful and hopeless; yet, we were all just trying to understand what life was all about. We wanted to learn and see things. We wanted to touch, taste and feel. We were trying to find our way around the playground and trying to find out who we were. What is this thing called life? Is any of this real? Are you real?
Was I?

I admit that my childhood was troublesome and though it was not what most parents would want for their child—still, this is me and this is where I come from. I do not account my life or my upbringing to be so tragically different from anyone else—because like anyone else, I grew up within a culture.
My home was my home and my town was my town. Our streets were our streets and our schools were our schools. This was us and this was me. As for the kids who I hung around and the friends I grew up with—I go back to my truest belief which is there are no friends like old friends and no one ever forgets the kids from the neighborhood.

On occasion, I’ve had dreams of my 5th grade classroom, which is empty in my dream. I can see this exactly as it was. There is no one around and no one else is in the room. It’s just me, alone and almost like a ghost of myself. There were two doors in the room. One door was at the back of the classroom and the other door was towards the front. I notice that in my dream, I enter the room from the door at the back of the classroom. I am not tall but I am somewhat hovering and elevated. I can see the windows are slightly open and tilted outward on the bottom sashes. There is a slight wind that comes in and blows the paper decorations that are hung on the walls. There is a beautiful sense of midday eeriness and wholesome feel to this view. There is the innocence of youth and the understanding of my past. There is me, myself and my hovering spirit in a place which I tie together with past discomforts and yet; there is something comforting about this dream too which I cannot explain.

My teacher’s desk is up front in the left hand corner of the classroom. I did not like this man. He was very big and scary to me. His desk is somewhat messy with books on top and papers, maybe some tests that he would give, and an in box, which I remember is where we were supposed to put our homework. But no one was there. I suppose this is what the classroom looked like when the class was outside for recess. The lights were turned off but the sunshine was enough to beam through and illuminate the room in a quietly wholesome way.

I can see this picture now in my head. I was never sure if this was unsettling for me or if this dream had other meanings that only my subconscious could explain. I could hear the sound of kids playing outside but at the same time, I was not part of this. I was inside wondering where everybody was.

I am moving in my dream. I move from the back of the classroom up to the front and in a sweep, I exit through the door at the front. I am gliding more than walking—moving without stepping, just hovering like a spirit from my past and channeling through the room. I find myself back out in the hallway. Then I find myself moving towards the double doors at the end of the corridor, which exit out towards the side entrance where the playground was. I am moving closer and closer and as I approach, the doors open to a bright gleam of blinding light. Then I’d wake up partly unsettled and partly unhappy that I didn’t get to see what was happening outside.

Maybe this is what I mean when I say the dream is something that only my subconscious can explain. Maybe this is an explanation of me when I was young and too afraid to be left out. I still have this dream sometimes. But it only reoccurs when I am going through changes. I have this dream when I find myself in the face of personal challenges. Or, I find myself dreaming this when I am at an impasse or crossroads, which is now.

I was that kid in the class. I was that boy, so young and hopeful but yet; I was that boy who was equally afraid and equally yearning to find a place where it was okay to be me. I wanted to be comfortable in my own skin. I wanted to not worry about things, like say, the bigger kids of the 6th grader who punched you in the arm just to see if they could make you bruise.

I am writing this on behalf of the 5th grade me with hopes that this boy can find the resolve so he can either rest or enjoy his playtime. I write this on behalf of a troublesome time, which took place in a classroom where the teacher gave two minute math tests but I could never keep up. I write this on behalf of a boy whose introduction to friendships was challenged and whose understanding of self was manipulated by an altered version.

Did I have friends?
Sure I did.
I had sleepovers and times when we were young and innocent. I suppose the challenge was not the friendships per se. But more, the challenge was the concept of self. The challenges I faced were based on misconceptions of who I was and therefore, based on who I thought I was. I behaved accordingly. I acted out. I was wild and misled and equally misunderstood (or so it seemed).

I write this on behalf of myself as a sign of maturity with no sadness in mind. Instead, I expose this inner, most personal self and I celebrate who I was because, after all, isn’t this what kids really want? To be celebrated, to laugh, to play, to run around on the playground or play a game of kickball against one of the other 5th grade classes . . . isn’t this what kids want?

Back when I began my commitment to journaling, I thought about reaching out to my old elementary school. I always wanted to walk the corridors. I want to see what the cafeteria looks like. I want to see what the walls look like or the gym. Ah yes, the gym. I wonder what the gym smells like now or if it smells the same as it used to.  And my classrooms and the desks; I wonder if they are so small that I would seem like a giant if I tried to sit in them.
And my 5th grade class; is this the time when I came to a certain realization of myself?
Is this when I came to the idea that something about me was different from the other children?

It could be.
Maybe . . .

I suppose this is why I wanted to start here, at the beginning. I want to start at the dawn of my young awareness and my first realizations, which I come to now, open heartedly and as honest as I can be.
This was me.

I was just a kid, wishing I was beautiful.
But I was beautiful. We all were.
It’s just that sometimes . . . . . we never knew it.

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