TRIGGER WARNING: Contains some graphic material. Last night I couldn’t sleep for the longest time. Nothing health related or anything, my mind was just occupied by a lot of things. Anyway, at around 5 AM I started thinking about my childhood, and how strange some of those memories were. Given that these events happened about a decade ago, I also thought about how I feel about them now and what I should have done in the moment. Memory is fleeting, so I decided to jot some quick notes down on my phone about what I was thinking, planning to write more about it the next day. This is that piece of writing. Why would you read this? Honestly, I’m not sure. If the average writer were a dancer I’d have two left hands. Maybe, you’re bored, or maybe you want to get to know a random stranger on the internet. But my reason for writing this, regardless of its quality, is clear to me. I think life isn’t defined by the sum of our experiences but how we react to those experiences. In a way then, we all have at least a sliver of control in our lives (think Frank Sinatra’s “My Way” or Bon Jovi’s “It’s my Life”). Though it’s important to not dwell in the past, it’s also important to remember the events that have shaped you as a person and how these collective events changed you so that you’d react differently to said events today.
Without further ado, here are my 4 most memorable childhood experiences. All names are made up, but to be honest I really don’t remember some of these kid’s names anyway.
- The Terror Down Under: TRIGGER WARNING
When I was in first grade I lived in a small apartment. The kids there were fun to play with, and my memories of that time are generally positive. However, there is one moment that sticks out to me: it filled me with fear and confusion then, and deep regret now. There was a kid, about 2 years older than me, let’s call him Adam. There’s another kid involved in this story (younger), let’s call him John. John and I were playing outside one day, when Adam, who just moved in, walked up to us. We talked for a bit, and he told us to come with him. He led us to a private area in some bushes, and he pulled down his pants. He said something along the lines of “If you don’t lick my penis you will die tonight.” I didn’t know what to do, I just stood there. But Adam managed to coerce John into doing it. He left us alone after that. But why does that matter? He did what he did, and there was no way to change it. Looking back I’m ashamed that I didn’t stand up for John. I don’t think first grade me could beat up a third grader, but maybe I should have grabbed John’s arm and booked it. But my heart also goes out to Adam. The fact that this was his first interaction with us (or that the interaction occurred at all) could be indicative of serious abuse issues happening at home. I don’t remember his real name or where he lived, but I hope with all my heart that he found the help he needed. It fills me with great sadness to know I wasn’t able to help even one of them.
- A Bomb
This either happened in second or third grade. I still lived in that small apartment, but the people there have changed. I believe Adam moved out, and I don’t remember what happened to John. A new family moved in across the street, with a brother and sister: let’s call them Mike and Maria. I was good friends with Mike, and I occasionally talked to Maria. Anyway, one day I was playing outside with Mike when he told me he wanted to show me something. It’s weird because I’m pretty sure he showed me in public. Anyway, he pulled out a small rectangle looking thing. “What is it?”, I asked, though I remember thinking it was a cigarette of some sort. “It’s a bomb”, he replied. Well that was a bombshell answer. I didn’t believe him and asked him where he found it. “In the garbage. My dad found it.” At the time I thought all bombs looked like the bob-bombs in Mario, so I just wrote it off as him playing around. A couple of years later I was watching a movie with my mom, and someone in the movie was holding a pack of objects that looked like what Mike was holding. I asked my mom what they were, and she replied “Those are bombs. He’s using them to break into a museum.” Oddly enough I can’t seem to find pictures of what it looked like exactly, but after doing some research I believe it was some type of small pipe bomb. I didn’t even believe Mike at the time, so I thought nothing of it. But looking back I definitely should have said something to my parents, or the cops. I can only hope my naivety didn’t cause any dangerous incidents, or that Mike really was just playing around.
- Buying Some Milk?
Now we’re getting into the less stressful, yet still weird memories. I honestly don’t think the following story is that interesting, but it was still a significant part of my childhood that I want to record. This story happened over the course of many months. We still lived in the apartment when it happened. My dad used to come home late from work once a week, I believe it was every Friday. It wasn’t like 30 minutes late though, it was like 3 hours late. Every time he got home my mom would ask where he was, and every time he’d say the same thing (something about going out with friends, I think). My mom eventually got tired of this, and my parents started arguing. At one point she straight up just locked him out of the house. I’m honestly not sure how that happened, since both parents had keys, but I think my door had one of those latches that you can lock from the inside. Anyway, I stayed up late once (my bedtime was 8 PM! Good old days) just so I could let my dad back in, but my mom got really mad at me. So I stopped, and my dad would just come back on Saturday morning. I’m not sure how the whole situation ended, but eventually my dad stopped going out, and my parents are still married, so it probably turned out OK. I think my mom should’ve trusted my dad more, and if this happened today I’d definitely let my dad back in, and maybe we could all talk it out.
- IDEK Man
OK, last one. Out of all of these stories I think this one is actually kind of funny. But I also see how easily it could turn Warheads level sour. This happened when I was in fourth or fifth grade. My fam finally moved out of that apartment, and we lived in a townhouse now. One day my parents wanted to invite some old family friends from where I used to live to our new house for dinner. Two families showed up: both had two daughters. One of the girls was about 2 years old at the time, so she’s not in this story. Let’s call the other three kids Susan, Nina and Karen. While the parents were catching up we all went upstairs to the master bedroom (no, this is not going where you might think it’s going. Well actually maybe a little). We were just chilling, then out of the blue Karen was like, “Hey Yin, let’s get in that closet and kiss!” The other girls agreed and tried to force us into the closet. I don’t know how I felt at the time. I didn’t really understand sex yet, but I also didn’t really mind her proposal. So it was this weird not really wanting to but also not *not* wanting to. I’m pretty sure nothing happened in the closet, we just kind of sat there for a while. But as a single, never dated guy today, if a girl told me she liked me and wanted to get in a closet, I’d think the closet part was weird, but I also know exactly how I’d feel :).
That’s all! I didn’t really proofread this, so I’m sorry for any errors. Also if you read the whole thing, I’m sorry too :D. It was probably boring, but I think that’s the point. Many of our experiences are probably related in some way, and because of this they might not seem “interesting”. I don’t mean to say that everyone’s experienced what I’ve listed above, but that a lot of the emotions may be similar. By recognizing our shared experience I think we can have a better understanding of the human experience. If you have any wacky childhood experiences or just want to talk about life in general, respond in the comments or hit me up at email@example.com. As a league addict living at home I have nothing better to do anyway.