Thursday, January 3, 2013

Backstory: 1996-2001

The next six years of my life were normal as well, with a few notable exceptions.  I played soccer and was the perennial second-stringer, getting the faint praise of "most improved" almost every season I played. The one thing I was decent at (predictably) was the Cub Scout Pinewood Derby.

I got pretty good marks in school and even came close to winning the school spelling bee twice.  And not that I'm bragging (lies.  I'm totally bragging), but I was the first second grader to be invited to join the Letterheads spelling club.  Third graders hadn't even been invited when I was.  Whoops, hold on, there's some dirt on my shoulder.  There, that's better.

It was also during this time that I had what would probably be considered my first willfully gay act, and the one that tipped my mom off that I was probably going to be her glitteriest son.  I don't remember it but she told me about it a few years ago that when I was in second grade, I tackled one of my friends on the playground and held him down in a bear hug, which upset him and he told his mom, who told my mom, who then told me about it when I was 21.  Oy.

(This is the super awkward part to write)

I also had some inappropriate experiences with some of my older cousins. I don't know who started it but I do remember thinking that the game we were playing (I'll show you mine if you show me yours) was inappropriate and I shouldn't be playing. And then, awhile later, I remember playing it with my younger cousins, and this time, I remember very clearly being the instigator. Truth be told, I'm really ashamed of those moments.

I remember seeing my caring bishop about it as a 12-year-old and hearing his carefully worded, kind reaction that said that I could be clean again and that these things didn't have to define me.  I also remember apologizing to my cousins about it a few weeks later, perhaps the first instance of me being somewhat responsible for my actions.  But still, it's something I hate about my past.  I can't help but wonder what effect it had on them.  Every time I see some anonymous blogger say something about the experiences he had with an older cousin, I can't help but wonder if it's me he's talking about.  I guess it's that awful memory I have that will keep me from ever doing something like that again.

Here's the funny thing about it though; that lack of self-control manifested in my experiences with my older cousins and then the desire to push boundaries, like I did with my younger cousins, still pops up today. I know what's right and wrong and I know what people want and need from me, and still, I can't help but fuck that up and do things I know are harmful, not just to me, but to others too.  Sure, there's agency and all that; both my cousins then and my companions now could easily have chosen to say no, but the fact of the matter is, if I wasn't a willing participant, the damage wouldn't have been done to any party.

So there it is. Probably the darkest time of my childhood. Next up, realizing I was gay.

(BTW, family members who I know read this blog, SHHHH)

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