Day 15: Your Childhood

So during my childhood, particularly from age 6 to age 15, we moved around a lot. That’s what I remember most, really. Every few years it was a new school and new friends, which was difficult for me, being a borderline introvert and socially awkward beyond belief.

My first, oh, six years, we lived in West Berlin, Germany. Even then, I was a weird kid and the target of bullies, and was stubborn enough to either ignore them or stand up to them. I remember once taking a chunk of concrete in the face because I wouldn’t give up my swing on the playground. It left me with a scratched cornea and an eyepatch for a week. Pretty awesome. My dad likes to tell a story about how when I was little and out on the same playground, he looked out the front window to see a very young me beating a much larger kid over the head with a steel Tonka truck. He went racing out there to find me in tears, flailing away with the truck, and intervened. When he asked what I was doing, through tears, I apparently said, “Daddy, I couldn’t find anything bigger.”

I don’t really remember that at all. Actually, before about the age of 11 or 12, most things are spotty. Very spotty. I remember the layout of our apartment in Berlin. I can remember our pets, and some of my teachers’ names, and the cars I spent my time in the back of. But much as I try, there are just things that are flat-out gone.

Now, some would argue that this is the act of blocking out traumatic experience. Maybe so. But I have no clue as to what it would be. Yeah, my parents got divorced when I was what? Eight? Something like that. The details elude me, but that’s hardly traumatic enough to cause the loss of memories.

Anyway, childhood was pretty much like those playground incidents. I got picked on and I either shrugged it off or fought back to the point where I got some respect and people left me alone. Then we’d move to a new city and the whole damn cycle would start over again.

Did I have a happy childhood? On and off. It’s tough being different — in my case that meant the social awkwardness, and the geekiness borne of being much smarter than a large majority of my classmates. But yeah, I had years where I was happy, and that counts for a lot.