The happiest time in my life was when I was eight years old. It's the last time I remember being completely and infinitely happy, without a single care in my mind.
I wasn't a kid who ever depended on company to be happy. Being an only child, I was used to being by myself a lot and I realized early in life that I didn't need another person to make me feel less lonely - I was just fine by myself.
I was always the happiest when I was alone. Inventing my own games, talking endlessly to myself, single-handedly acting out scenes from movies, pretending to be many people at once, discovering new imaginary friends, exploring new nooks and crannies in my neighbourhood, throwing funeral parties for dead ants and challenging myself to do all sorts of unusual, dangerous things. That was me. When it was me alone, it was just me and my rules. I didn't have to worry about what anybody else thought or felt. Instances when I have felt true independence and freedom were mostly when people just left me alone. I don't know what I would've done if I'd had siblings. I probably would've run away from home and never looked back.
I hated school. 'Hate' is such an understatement in this context. A more accurate termto describe my feelings for school would be 'disgust' or 'abhorrence'. But third grade was the only time I ever felt like I was included in anything at all in school. The only time I ever felt like I belonged in a classroom setting. In other words, it was the most normal period of my life. When I remember myself as an eight-year-old, I feel like I have a lot to learn from that kid. As I grew, for some reason I lost a part of myself that allowed me to choose whether I wanted to care what others thought of me or not. It was like a magical shield of protection which I could don whenever I wanted to. In truth, it feels like losing a super power.
I remember one time when I was extremely hurt by a teacher. I tossed and turned on my bed that whole night, sleepless because that teacher had reprimanded and humiliated me in front of my whole class for something that hadn't even been my fault in the first place. I wasn't being defensive, it really hadn't been my fault. I was seething in anger and drowning in innocent sorrow, more by the fact that she had been someone I really liked but had immensely let me down.
After two days of being severely tormented, I made a simple decision. I wasn't going to let myself be hurt any longer by her. In my view, she was a failure in her profession who lived life blinder than the blind. I'd had experience with teachers like her before - teachers who intimidated children into doing whatever they wanted them to do by using fear and punishment as the driving forces instead of kindness and nurturing. I told myself to never let another person's hurtful words or actions - whether they're from a teacher, a peer or anyone else - ever get under my skin throughout that whole school year; to never lay awake at night, torturing myself over someone else's hurtful words and to suspend my frailty and be more...frivolous. To just not care.
And believe it or not, I did it.
As I got older and older, I became terribly sensitive, fragile and vulnerable. I got wounded over and over again by situations and people and no one helped me through the pain and anger. The fact that I was an undiagnosed Aspie (a person with Asperger's Syndrome) only made things worse. In school, I was the always eccentric one but for someone with an undiagnosed developmental disorder, I handled situations pretty well. I had friends and although I never trusted them, I never let it show. I was good at academics and also had a sparkling reputation for being charmingly quiet and diligent in my work. I put on a facade of coolness, calmness and sangfroid but internally, my mind was a horrifying battlefield where bloody wars were being constantly waged. There was always a state of unresolved conflict in me which I never knew how to articulate to anyone at that time. In other words, I was a bomb waiting to explode at any moment. But instead of exploding, I imploded.
I continued to fight my battles alone - like I'd always done - which eventually took a toll on me. Soon, I got locked within my own public incognito. I could no longer discern which of my mannerisms were real and which ones were disguises I had meticulously fashioned to cloak something about me from the outside world.
But even amidst all these complications, the teachers were what mainly bothered me. They were anathema to me. I have diaries with full pages overflowing with dark fantasies in which I murder and decapitate teachers. Any chance I got to rebel against them, I did and I did it with all the courage I possessed. My soul flared with the fire of all the injustice done to me.
Finally, after things got uncontrollably out of hand with my depression and rage, I was taken to a psychologist (which should've been done a lot sooner). She diagnosed me quickly as having Asperger's syndrome and that was when everything about me kind of started to make sense.
I am now seventeen years old. So much has already happened in my life that I feel like I should be a lot older. I am homeschooled and I do all my academic work by myself. I have no tutors or teachers of any kind. I've written a novel - which hopefully, I can publish someday - and I have been published or have been chosen to be published in over forty international magazines for both my writing and art.
I'm still learning to get over things that have happened in my past but I've made a decision to not let any of that get in the way of my future. It's okay to be different as well as independent. I know that now.
And although I'm still really sensitive and vulnerable, especially in the midst of people, I want to be able to use those qualities to my advantage. Someone once said that most people go through life being asleep, and only a few are really awake. And those who're awake go through each moment of their life in total amazement. In total amazement.
I deeply relate to that.
And regarding my feeling of having lost a super power, well, I must say that now I feel like I have a new one which helps me to be something I've always wanted: a true artist.