Childhood is Fridays with Yia Yia.

Childhood is laughing myself senseless at Tom and Jerry.

Childhood is secluding myself with tiny wooden dollhouses.

Childhood is leaving the room when the THX logo played, as the long, lingering, loud tone was enough to make me cry.

I remember playing pokemon with Naomi

I remember making monster soup in puddles

I remember escaping to a tiny world for fifteen minutes.

I remember returning to class with dread, as my concerned teachers would push me to talk to the other kids when all I wanted was to be alone.

How I loved Disney Princesses!

How I loved American Girl Dolls!

How I loved some things to death for months at a time!

How I hated the face other kids would make when I rambled on and on with glee as the disinterest slowly set in and they realized how weird I really was.

I spent hours reading books.

I spent hours learning history.

I spent hours memorizing and soaking in every detail.

I spent years avoiding that kid Maxim that shouted “ew!” whenever I walked by, like I was a bug crawling across the floor waiting to be stepped on, and how no one did a thing because he was the only one brave enough to say what he thought to my face.

All the time I spent thinking

All the time I spent imagining

All the time I spent coming up with ideas big and small.

All the time it took before I noticed how I always sat a few yards away from the group at the lunch table, and how they always floated away from me when asked to pick partners, and how I had no idea why I couldn’t get closer no matter how hard I tried. But they didn’t seem too interested in me anyway.

I learned all about fractions.

I learned how to long divide.

I learned a thousand formulas.

I learned there was a reason I couldn’t figure out why I took a pill every morning, and why I used a pencil grip, and why I went to occupational therapy every week. There was a condition behind my weirdness, and it sounded comically similar to “ass burgers.”

For a time I felt proud.

For a time I felt enlightened.

For a time I felt like I had a reason.

But for a time I cried in my pitch-black closet over every 70 on a math test, feeling like I didn’t deserve the food I eat and the clothes on my back and that I was too stupid to function like an adult when the time came.

I’m reminded that things change

I’m reminded that it isn’t always easy

I’m reminded that no matter the age, things get hard

I’m reminded that growing up isn’t as happy and carefree as everyone wishes to remember.

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