Preschool through 8th grade: Where do things stand?

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Since my preschool diagnosis of sensory processing disorder and the completion of eighth grade means about 10 years have passed, I thought I would do a review of how things have progressed. I’m looking to address these questions:

  • What areas seemed to have improved?
  • Have I grown out of anything?
  • What am I still struggling with?
  • Has anything new developed?

If you missed my big rundown of sensory issues, you can find it here. And don’t worry, throughout this list, there will be links back to appropriate blog posts to offer further explanation. 

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The eighth grade steal

When I described some of my experiences of playing basketball in public school (find that here), I described a moment when I made a steal. I wasn’t sure if it had been during seventh or eighth grade, but as I reread my eighth grade journal I discovered an entry. Here, in all of its glory, is my rendition of what happened.

I’ve never been one to describe myself as a great storyteller. Mostly as a matter of struggling to figure out what details to include and what to leave out, not having that natural sense of how to dramatize a moment verbally. But it’s a different kind of thing when writing it out. I can write out what I want, rather than trying to gauge how a story is being received in the moment, attempting to make spontaneous adjustments.

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The lies we tell

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One of my friends in seventh and eighth grade was a good singer. She sang at some school assemblies. I was amazed at her ability to sing solos in front of the school, in front of so many people. I would have gotten stage fright and froze, so her ability to successfully complete a song impressed me. She carried notes well and had an even voice, not pitchy like I imagined mine would be, but I wouldn’t classify her as having an outstanding voice that would later capture the attention of judges on “American Idol” or other shows. That’s not to say I didn’t support her; just intended to capture a bit of reality.

She’d tell me these stories of competitions she’d go to with her singing group. These stories all sounded so amazing. She’d talk about these trips she took over the weekend, the people she met (celebrities included) and all these amazing things. I believed her; there had been no reason to really doubt her. Even though there really wasn’t any proof.

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Eighth grade English: The reality check

Eighth grade English was a small introduction to the real world. Not everyone is eager to learn. Not everyone wants to be in school. Not everyone has respect for teachers or those giving presentations. Kids act up and cause disruptions in class for no reason. Not everyone does the work or makes an effort.

I viewed trying and making an effort, being respectful and paying attention as expected behavior. I wasn’t abnormal for following those protocols, but I viewed others as weird for not doing so.

This year was also a glimpse of the real world because of my teacher. I had known Mrs. Davis for most of my life. Her mother lived two houses down from us. Mrs. Davis had two daughters. Madalyn, the oldest, was my brother’s age, and we’d hang out a lot. I had a deep respect for Mrs. Davis. I knew she taught English, but I never would have guessed she’d end up being my teacher. I was with students who made an effort and then there were several who put up a fight every step of the way and just didn’t care at all.

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Poem: Nobody (2 versions)

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This poem is a bit psychotic and probably sounds suicidal. While written during my second semester of college, it really channels the depression and isolation I felt in 6th grade (If you haven’t heard that post, you can see it here.)

I only went so far as to pick scabs in the way of self-harm. In no way am I condoning or encouraging self-mutilation. But to a degree I can understand what leads a person to that point. When you’ve been bullied physically, verbally and/or emotionally, you can feel powerless and that maybe if you’re the one causing pain, you can gain back some control. But you’re only sinking deeper into a dark place.

I’m not sharing this poem to glorify anything but to illustrate the emotion of this time in my life. If you or someone you know is suicidal or may be at risk of committing self-harm, please seek professional help to work through the problems. Help is available. Talk to trusted adults.

And if someone comes to you and shares about their problems, LISTEN! Listen and take them seriously. And seek intervention.

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