Listening to one of my fav Podcasts (Distractible https://podcasts.apple.com/ca/podcast/distractible/id1567659047 also available on Spotify) and the topic for their April 10th, 2023 selected by Wade was “Firsts” and seeing as I haven’t written a blog in a while I was inspired to right by my answers to the questions posed in this amazing episode. They do have a Reddit <insert link> so feel free to take a peak. I’d be interested to know some of your firsts so spam those in the comments. If they do another episodeI will do another blog because these are fun.
First Day Of School: I don’t think I’m alone in saying MOST of my memories from being in school have long since faded. Some memories peak through. I have a vague memory of visiting the classroom before school started. To meet the teacher and just know the space. I also remember being in class and playing with some of the kids at the water / sand table. I’m pretty sure this is pretty early in the school year because I missed most of that school year as I was in the hospital. I remember my first day of high school a bit clearer. The smell of the school and just walking not knowing if I would remember where things are, like my classes and such.
First Ever Performance: I have a solid memory of our Kindergarten Christmas concert. We were all dressed up as presents. So they took boxes wrapped them in fun wrapping paper put us in them and we went on stage and sang. I was the TINIEST student they had ever had; SO small. They had us go out biggest to smallest. I remember my box being wrapped in shiny silver wrapping paper. I remember going out on stage and everyone ooo-ing and aww-ing when I came out. If it was a contest for cutest, I won that hands down. I was fussed over and I remember loving the attention.
First School Trip: I don’t know if this was my first but it’s one that sticks out. Mostly for what happened. My first trip I remember was to a farm. The night before, my sister who is two years older but was only 1 year ahead of me in school was talking about when she went. Telling me about the animals or something, honestly don’t remember much of that convo. It was either the night before or the day of my sister decided to say“hope you don’t fall in manure!”. I had on my cute pink rain boots; and not sure what else. As a kid (heck even now) it didn’t take much for me to just kind of fall over. I wasn’t the most steady on my feet and almost always came home with a new goose egg on my head or scrape or some kind of injury. So it wasn’t a BIG shocker when I did end up tripping and falling straight in to cow do-do. I stunk to high heavens. I wasn’t well liked as a kid and this did NOTHING to help that. Even the teachers made me sit as far away from everyone for the rest of the day. We had lunch there and I sat at a table alone. I didn’t really attend any school trips after that.
First time you realized you didn’t like something about yourself: I’m going to take this in a similar direction as the guys did in the Podcast. It isn’t so much that as I was growing up I realized there was some aspect of how I was that I realized I didn’t like. It was more so that I came to the realization that I was different than everyone else. As I mentioned earlier I didn’t really have friends but it wasn’t until I was older that I understood why that was. Two memories / events stick out in my mind for this one; that REALLY hammered it home that I was different and the way in which I was different was profound. The earliest: when I was in grade school so grades 1-6 they would have dentists come in and give everyone a check-ups. I had a few and just sat there; I had been seeing someone at Sick Kids so I knew what to do and just again just sat there. The dentists were different each year from what I can recall because it went about the same every time. I don’t remember any specific words said by the dentists but I do remember mine taking the longest, and remember the feeling that they seemed to be confused. EVENTUALLY they just decided not to have me participate in these after the first few years since I was being taken care of by Sick Kids. The fact it took longer and then they just decided to exclude me made me feel “other”.
The other memory is more vivid. It was a realization that hit me like a lightening bolt and to this day still has me shaking my head. It was report card day. My sister and I had our respective cards out ready to hand to our mom. We were going to her place of work which we often did after school and stayed until she was done work. Sometimes it was dark out by the time we walked home. We were going up an escalator and we looked at each others report card. Sister had passed to the next grade; the word choice on mine was different. I realized it had always been different and it remained different every year from grade 1-6. Instead of saying “passed” or “failed”, mine said “placed”. Meaning that I didn’t “pass” but they were sure as heck not keeping me behind so they are deciding me to “place” me in the next grade. This was back in the day when they did keep kids behind grades if they felt it would be worth it. I don’t think they do this now which I find odd but hey what do I know. But on that upward escalator reading those words and realizing that word had appeared before I knew it meant I was different. It wasn’t until I was older that my mom told me they did it to get me through school as quickly as possible so that I wasn’t subjected to further bullying and ostracization from my peers. So instead of I don’t know DEALING with that they just saw fit to run me through grade school as quick as possible. I’m sure if my mom was a stay at home mom they may have pushed for her to home school me or if there was a “special” school they could have put me in maybe they would have. I don’t know but knowing on that day that I was “placed” that I didn’t EARN the right to advance to the next grade made me feel things about myself that I still grapple with to this day.