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My memory takes me back very far, but it only goes back until I was two or three. That was when I acquired the mind I use today. It all began for me at the Greenhouse.
My mother was always quite a hard worker. From before I was born to this day, she taught psychology as a professor. It was just me and her. No father. No siblings. She couldn?t take me to her job, so I had to start preschool at eight weeks old. I?m glad she brought me there, as it was a child?s heaven. Toys; puzzles; trinkets on every shelf. There were sand boxes; stories; games. When my mom dropped me off there, I cried because I thought she would never return. But when she cam back a few hours later, I just couldn?t leave.
I can see how the Greenhouse got its name: it?s where children are planted and begin to grow. It?s also difficult to take them out once they are firmly rooted in its soil. I?d do anything to have naptime at my school.
My Achilles Heel
It was around first grade when my will and my mind became two separate entities. I didn?t hear someone tell me what to do, I didn?t hear myself either. My subconscious, however, was telling me to do strange, spontaneous actions for no particular reason. It just orbited my head, like a little annoying bug. Instead of buzzing, it just whispered things like ?Touch that wall; play with your hair; squeak; roll your eyes.? If I didn?t obey, the urge just grew stronger.
That wasn?t the only problem, unfortunately. At the same time, I lost my ability to let go. I couldn?t even throw out a plastic bag or a used tissue. I?d just hoard everything, regardless of its triviality or uselessness in fear it would be gone forever.
When I told my mom about these feelings, being a psychology professor herself, she knew right away that I had a case of ?Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder?, as well as ?Tourette?s Syndrome.?
Today, I have made a lot of progress since then. I can throw out almost any waste with little restraint and I can ignore many of my urges. Nonetheless, I feel glad I have OCD and Tourette?s. They made me very cautious and precise in my work. They made me unique and smart. If the alternative is that I?d be any different than they?ve made me today, I?d rather be told a million times by my subconscious to blink, squeak, and snap.
With and Without Faith
I was born and raised a Jew. As I grew up, my mom took me to synagogue roughly every month. I learned stories of the Old Testament and the history and traditions of our faith. I participated in rituals. I had a Bar Mitzvah. For the first few years of my life, I went to a reconstructionist synagogue, but I later went to a reform synagogue. I?m glad I made that change. The reform temple is much more liberal; open to change and acceptance.
Over the years, however, I found that I?ve become both closer to and further from my religious faith. I realized my mind ran solely on logic, the polar opposite of faith. Yet, this ironically brought me closer to my religion. One of the teachings of Judaism, as I?ve learned from my Rabbi, is to question the universe as well as your faith.
In more recent years, I?ve seen several controversies in the world that involve religion and logic: terrorism created by fundamentalism and religious public displays offending people of a different faith, among others. At this point, I realized that religion, a phenomenon established to create peace on Earth, has only been hindering it. I find it quite ironic, though, that such close followers of God would contradict His laws and furthering tension on a global scale. I realized that both faith and logic can be used to create peace or prevent it.
Today, I consider myself an agnostic. I can?t say for sure whether or not God exists, as His existence can not be proven or disproven. And to be honest, I couldn?t care less. All I care about is that faith and logic can find balance in our modern world and not be used to inflict harm.
The One Story Tall Foot Eater
Curiosity doesn?t always kill the cat. Sometimes, it just grabs it by the foot. I don?t have many very well detailed memories before I was four years old, but sometimes, there is an event so significant, you can remember almost every second word for word, scene to scene, no matter when or where it occurred.
One time, when I was three years old, my mom took me to the shopping mall to buy a video. On the way out, as we took the escalator back up to the main floor from the basement level, I looked to the side of the escalator. A tiny gap was between the moving platform and the edge it was sliding against. As I was too young to see danger in such things without warning, I was curious to see what would happen if I put my foot in that small gap. I stuck my left foot into it. The feeling of my foot rubbing against the side was actually quite relaxing. It was not very relaxing, however, once I realized it was stuck. In fear that my foot would be eaten by the escalator, I fearfully called to my mom, right next to me, to help. She was quite shocked when she saw my foot being stolen by the sliding, scaling stairs. She quickly called to a man at the bottom of the escalator to press the emergency stop button.
After the escalator came to a halt, people began to accumulate around the area to see what was happening. Soon, two security guards came to try to take my foot out. They tried to pull it out, slide it out, but it didn?t work. After a few minutes, one of them tried to wedge it out using his nightstick and, much to my relief, it worked. At this point, there must have been at least 100 people around me, all applauding. My foot felt fine, but I was taken to a hospital in an ambulance to check if anything was broken.
The man in the ambulance was very nice. He asked me how I was. He checked if I was alright and asked my how my day was going (at least before the escalator incident.) After I arrived, I had some X-rays taken of my foot and was taken to a hospital bed. They offered me some Jell-O. I know they offered me a choice of cherry or orange, but I can?t remember which I chose. When the results came back, it was apparent that my left foot wasn?t any worse than my right.
Being only three years old, this was probably the most frightening experience of my life, but also one of my favorites. Looking back, the way I hypothesized what would happen if I put my foot in the escalator and experimented by doing so, it was the first time I truly had a scientific mind.
Life in the Screen
When I was four years old, I visited my cousin?s house. As soon as I arrived, they seemed very eager to show me something. They took me upstairs and turned on a little black device connected to their television. It was a video game platform called the Nintendo 64. I watched as they used the gadget in their hands to control a character on the TV screen. I was utterly flabbergasted.
Since then, I?ve realized how far we?ve come in technology that we can use it as such an advanced form of entertainment. As I?ve played video games over the years, I?ve become envious of their creators. I get to play the games, but they get to use their creativity and artistic skill to design them. Video games are perhaps the most influential items of my imagination. A player can do things he or she couldn?t ordinarily do in reality.