Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Reflection: Back in the Day

Lately on Facebook, I've been reconnecting with people from elementary school. One of my classmates started the madness by posting an old class picture. Soon after an avalanche of people came back into my life along with some old feelings. 

When I reminisce my childhood, I remember the music and clothes of the 80's. I remember the toys we used to play with and the movies I've seen. But finding all these people made me remember issues I had back then I've forgotten. I was the eldest child and my mother was a single parent and VERY religious. She would get child rearing advice from people who either had no kids and/or considered themselves "holy" and influential in the church. I would get the most pressure from her because I was the oldest, the trial and error child. So now, as everyone is reconnecting about things they did and outings they went on, I start to remember...I missed a lot in my elementary days. 

I couldn't go to places like skating parties or even birthday parties because of my mother and her advisors of Christians. They even tried to coerce my mother into making me quit choir because they thought the songs we sung were "too fresh" for a 10 year old. (Janet Jackson's Rhythm Nation...really???) My mom took me out, but later let me rejoin.  I had to sneak to listen to secular radio. I couldn't participate in things because it was either not God-like or my mother didn't have the money.

When my classmates would talk about what they did or how they hung out, I would retreat into myself.
I felt lonely even though I was surrounded by friends both at school and at church. I felt like I was always competing to be liked on every front; home, church and school. Even though I was happy on the outside, in my heart I was a lonely conflicted little girl.

I started talking to Jay about my experiences in elementary school and noticed myself slipping into that world again, watching all my old classmates reminince over their crushes (I had plenty), faux boyfriends/girlfriends (I had none.), first kisses (not until I was in middle/high school), parties and outings. I reminded myself, those times shaped who I am today. 

I'm glad to connect with my classmates and start a new chapter in my life. This time I can do it on my terms.

 (My sixth grade graduation. Everyone was so dressed up, don't really remember why I wasn't.)

~ Janelle

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