I don’t know why but my mood has drastically changed. I guess that’s the “thrill” of mental illness. If you want to put a positive spin on it. I mean, why not? It’s funny, the stigma that surrounds the mentally ill. Which, in my opinion, couldn’t the doctors have come up with a term that was less, um, degrading? Because, all the “mentally ill” people I know are the smartest people I have ever met. We have tools in our brains that some people only wish they could access. But, the stigma keeps the average safe, keeps them sane, keeps them normal. But, anyone who, well, I don’t want to use the word “suffers from” because again, it makes us look weak. Anyone who, has either been surrounded by the depths of darkness or thrown into the light that seems like it will never end, knows that normal is not what people think it should be. In fact, since I was a child I never saw anything “normally”. People would ask me, how did you come up with that? I would just shrug and go onto something new. When the other kids were still reading those AWFUL direction following papers that just teach you how to follow directions. Guess who always missed a few. Yeah, the add kid in the corner wondering why the sky is blue when they are so focused on learning how to follow directions. You know, it was pretty tumultuous for me being an overlooked student with a learning disability. That is what you get when you are thrown into the public education arena. I was told I wasn’t trying hard enough, not paying attention, lack of concentration, no motivation, interrupts others, not living up to potential. I remember my first day of first grade with my literally HELLISH teacher, Mrs. Broom. This is no joke she was real she had long black hair, a hunch back, and pointy features. This is not a lie. Since I do not have a picture you’re just going to have to use your imagination. So, I found out before I even entered grade school, by a doctor, who said that I would have problems socializing. I now understand considering I would literally make myself sick at 8 years by reading books such as “The Coming Plague”. That really helped. Anyway, Mrs. Broom didn’t understand why I didn’t want to talk in class. Well, genius, not every kid is “normal” like that. I was an introvert (still am) and I enjoyed not speaking up. Well, in the eyes of the demon, this was seen as being “slow”. I was placed into a reading group where I had to sit in this conference room and read a bunch of dumb words on a ring. I graduated from that before the week was over and even got a special achievement ribbon from the Vice Principal herself. I should have felt proud, but I was indignant. Had, I had the insight and confidence in myself like I do now, I would have said BITCH, I have been reading since I was 2 years old, don’t mess with my verbal skills. Math on the other hand, was not so much my friend. Second grade, second worst teacher of my life, tortured children for fun. I remember her letting this kid who was kind of slow just piss at his desk. Despite his multiple requests to use the bathroom. We all watched in horror, but nobody laughed. That’s some restraint for second graders. Mrs. Powell was this egomaniac, my way or the wrong way or your punished kind of leader. Off topic, during our mother’s celebration SHE got up and sang for the mother’s a lovely and HORRIBLY off key version of Bette Midler’s “Wind Beneath My Wings”. I was shocked she didn’t get a grammy. Anyway, it was second grade that I really realized something in my brain wasn’t functioning how it should. I was taking longer and longer with my math assignments. I would make my best friend covertly fill out the book for me before the teacher came around because I couldn’t keep up. This was the beginning of me thinking I was stupid. That’s a hard one to erase. It wasn’t until oh wow, maybe around college? That I found out that I have a math learning disorder. This is somewhat prevalent in children who have ADD. Instead of Dyslexia which is much more common. I had this weird disorder nobody has heard about since it only affects 3-6% of the entire population. It’s called Dyscalculia. And, looking back I am not sure what I would have hated more. Being inept with math, mapping, spatial reasoning, algebra, formulas. Or, seeing words jumbled when I tried to read. Well, since reading was my favorite escape. I just chose to suffer in silence. I do recall one infamous day, when Mrs. Powell called me up to her desk and handed the dreaded take home to your parents envelope. Of course, it was about my “poor” math performance. I could see the punishing bright red ink shine right through the envelope. We all knew what RED meant. Me, with my lack of restraint and impulse control, opened the letter on the way back to my backpack. And now, in hindsight, she must have seen me open it, because I just heard “SARA, bring that back here, there’s something else I need to put in it.” Oh, she knew all right, I just assumed she was being genuine. What a naive child I was. That Bastard,pulled over on me. She chewed me out in front of the whole class, had me in tears. TEARS in SECOND GRADE. Where the hell was I Dachau day care? Did the levy not pass that year? Incidentally, my mom, per usual ,forgot to pack my lunch. She brought it to the main entrance and I tried as hard as I could to hold back my tears. All the while I was screaming on the inside PLEASE TAKE ME WITH YOU. But, I took the sack lunch and sulked back into her hell hole. Oh, and this is minor and may not matter, but if it still pisses me off at 30 years of age, I might as well mention it. She saw me scratching my head ONCE in class and sent to the nurse to be checked for lice. I had no lice. I have never had lice. My scalp gets dry, geez, lighten up, Ilsa, She Wolf of the SS. Anyway, my experience through grade school showed me a little grace with my Third grade teacher. His name was Mr. Meibers, his wife was the Vice principal. They were the most compassionate, caring, and empathetic educators I had encountered since I had to move from one school district in kindergarten( best kindergarten teacher in the world) to this repressed regurgitation institution. I was like oh my god, someone actually does care about our success. There’s not much to discuss about Third grade. It was actually pleasant and the teacher would stay after with me to personally help me with my math difficulties. He also gave out rewards of goldfish (the snack) when anyone got an answer right. Incentives are KEY. If only school was like a sales job. I mean I know now that they must follow a curriculum as assigned and approved by the board. Bureaucratic red tape long lines, long naps. But, I am sorry, I don’t want to sound pathetic because I managed to “slip through the floorboards” so to speak. But, honestly, it’s not a good feeling to feel like you’re not good enough for school at such a formative age. It really puts a damper on your subconscious. And, I will tell you what no matter how much therapy I’ve been through, no matter how many chairs of departments in colleges of told me how bright I am. That shit sticks, for life. Not to mention, my loving father’s “pet name” for me was idiot savant. Awesome, he thought I was Rainman. Whether you pretend it has no effect on you, or just accept what has been planted in your fragile brain. This doesn’t matter, congratulations, your self esteem has been screwed for the rest of your life.
I am exhausted drudging horrible memories of my first two years of grade school. I will continue with my school experiences at another time. It’s brain resting time. Don’t want to get too eager and burn out before I can produce more oil.