14 June 2021
I had a rough beginning in school. Imagine a child with zero social skills, way too much energy, who desperately wanted to be liked and accepted - that was me. Unfortunately, having no social skills does not go well with being liked or accepted.
My first school was kindergarten through third grade. I liked school, the idea of it at least, because before I started I didn't have much experience being out of the house and in public. My lack of social skills tended to push other children away and resulted in me earning a reputation as the 'weird kid'.
In retrospect, I don't blame others for reacting how they did because they were socialized to a point much further than I was. Even my youngest classmates had a clear idea of whether the things I said or did was 'right' or 'wrong' even when I didn't. I had this pervasive feeling of frustration that I was bad and didn't understand how to be good.
In kindergarten, I was one of two children who had "Behavior Books". This was a composition notebook in which my teacher would write a short summary of my behavior during class, which I had to take home to my mom to sign every night. I was also assigned to meet with the school guidance counselor on a regular basis.
First and second grade were iffy. I never ended up making friends with any classmates, and I often had to sit out of fun events that others were invited to participate in, as a result of bad behavior.
In third grade, my behavior earned me an isolated spot in a corner of the class, surrounded by a cubicle-like barrier that blocked me from view of the class. I was distracting and distracted. I would 'earn' the right to sit at an open desk like the other kids, only to fuck it up and have it taken away from me again. I have a distinct memory of causing my teacher to break down into tears. Afterward, she wrote a letter about me and send it home to my mom. I think I had to write an apology letter (sorry, Mrs. B).
After third grade, we transferred to the middle school. It consisted of multiple buildings and had the kids of a couple different elementary schools, so it was much bigger. It wasn't as much of a "fresh start" as I had hoped.
I was still an intensely lonely child and hadn't had the opportunity of seeing or hanging out with my classmates outside of school. Plus, I had a reputation. The thing about reputations is that they spread quickly among children and soon even people I had never met knew who I was. One day I made the mistake of telling the only person who was nice to me that I had some imaginary friends (based on a TV show I liked a lot). She stopped talking to me after that.
Since I was older now, I got in trouble a lot more frequently and more severely for the same types of things I would get in trouble for in elementary school. In elementary, I would be sent to the Principal's office and they would usually call my parents. In middle school, I got suspended... a lot. For like, days at a time.
I had this awful teacher, Mrs. M, who was so much less warm and maternal than my previous teachers which I picked up on right away. I always loved my teachers and wanted to be close to them, but this one was different. She reacted in a more strict way to my misbehavior and sometimes took this out on me in a physical way, either via grabbing my wrist tightly to lead me around, or 'massaging' my neck with a tight grip.
Also, while I cannot say I wasn't bullied in elementary school, it got much worse and much more unprovoked in middle school. I have a memory of a classmate kicking me in the shin/ankle and after every time she would loudly implore, "Stop kicking me!" until a teacher came to remove me from the class.
When I would get suspended, I would be sent home with a stack of homework and classwork to complete. I actually really liked this (my first taste of 'working from home'?) because it allowed me to relax and focus on doing my work instead of having to participate in the social rules of school. I always completed all of my work.
As a ten year old, the thought of going back to school made me intensely depressed and borderline suicidal. I would dread it every night and morning.
The administration moved me to a different class after my mom brought up the way my teacher would put her hands on me. My new teacher was better, but my new classmates still targeted me and made me feel isolated. One day I found a paper that a group of classmates wrote - a guide on how to 'poison' me using office supplies that kids could buy from the school store, like white-out and ink. I brought the paper to the vice principal who advised me to ignore them.
All of this combined prompted the school to give me a psychiatric evaluation. It started with having strange people sitting in the back of the classroom observing me and taking me notes. I had to leave class often to take tests & questionnaires about my mood, my values and my desires. They wrote up a report which officially diagnosed me as emotionally disturbed, which was basically a catch-all term for having difficulties functioning correctly socially and educationally in school.
Finally, after being teased and antagonized in the lunch line one day, I fought back by pushing a kid into the wall. This earned me my longest and most serious suspension, one that led to me getting taken out of the district and moved to a private school for behaviorally challenged children.