When you were a child what did you think of yourself? Were you OK?

Even as a child I was aware I was quite weird. My fantasy world was more extreme then. I remember sitting at the table for sunday roast, having not been able to sleep all night, reading batman comics at a friends house, and watching my family drift backwards into a tunnel that was the mouth of batman’s mask.

I remember burying myself in trees, imagining that I was lost on islands. I remember dead tree spaceships and trying to re-enact the entirety of Lord of the Rings by jumping between two concrete blocks.

I just remember feeling totally out of place.

I don’t remember much, to be perfectly honest, so it’s a tricky question to answer. Childhood felt a bit like a cloud. I get the impression I had an almost hallucinated childhood. When I pick at details they fall apart in the way that the thought processes of an acid trip do. Truths split into opposing possibilities, exposing themselves as nothingnesses and meaninglessness.

I do remember a period where I befriended a group of girls a few years older than me, just before they got ready leave for secondary school. I think it was one of my first crushes, but at the same time, talking with these people helped me feel myself for the first time in my life. I was embarrassed of this for years afterwards, but I kept trying to confess to them that I hated boys and felt like I was more like them. This was probably the first time I openly addressed my femininity, and the brilliance it opened in me was kind of terrifying. The sudden security in finding people like me. It was huge enough that I brutally suppressed it for years, trying to fit back into the role I had been assigned.

Throughout my childhood, I knew I was weird. I thought I was clever (my mother lectured me not to be arrogant repeatedly, so I’m pretty sure I was arrogant, but I never felt that way), but I also knew that I wasn’t like normal people. I could feel a weirdness inside that expressed itself in obsession with stories and alien worlds. I fantasised about close knit futures, imagining a dream life of hiding in a bookshop, wrapped in music and writing, or working in Games Workshop, of all places, navigating a community through painting and rulesets.

I hid in boxes a lot. My music was always loud, and I’d always be singing along, but terrified when I got caught.

Was I okay?

At the time, I never thought so. I always thought I’d come out a bit wrong. Everything I did felt embarrassing. Or perhaps, embarrassment is just the paste that glued my memories firm enough for them to still be with me.

Now I can see. That life made me.

I think I was okay. As okay as I could be. I found ways to express who I was, even though I didn’t know.

What more could childhood be?

Illustration by Jaime

About Alabaster Crippens

Joiner of Dots. Player of Games. Unreliable Narrator. Dancing Fool.
This entry was posted in Illustrations by Jaime, Questions by Skozl. Bookmark the permalink.

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