Portrait of an unhappy childhood

Just got back from therapy. Joe was not available to drive me so I had to take a cab each way. That’s $30 I will never get back.

I am feeling financial stress and it is wrecking my mood.

Anyhow, on the cab ride back home I decided I was going to do a kind of rough timeline of my life in order to get a kind of top down view of it all that will help me deal with all the bad things that have happened, as well as  the good things that didn’t happen.

Here we go.

Birth.  I was born In Prince County Hospital in Summerside, Prince Edward Island, Canada at roughly 10 am on May 19, 1973.  I was born to Larry and Betty Bertrand, neither of whom had expected or planned me. I was a healthy baby boy, slightly heavier than normal, but well within the weight range of a healthy baby.  I had very red hair.

Early childhood, ages 0 to 4.  I was a pretty happy kid. I had my chare of the usual traumas of childhood,. like being terribly afraid of the dark and getting assaulted by an over-friendly dog, but nothing more. I had natural charm and I was cute as a button, and precocious as all get-out. I had no fear of adults and I had two friends, Trish from next door and Janet from across the street. I could be quite a handful with my light speed mind and tendency to wander when I was bored. But life was good.

But then the badness started and it hasn’t really stopped since.

Let’s visually represent that dividing line like this :

Later childhood, ages 4 to 6.  Three bad things happened during this period.

One, I was denied kindergarten. There were more kids than slots available and I was clearly way, way ahead of my peers intellectually so it was decided that I did not “need” kindergarten so I got left out.

So the lack of proper socialization began before I even went to elementary school.

Two, Trish and Janet went to school. They were both a year older than me so they started Grade 1 when I was only 5.

So boom, there went my two best friends. Wow, even less socialization.

And of course, three, I was raped. I had this massively traumatic experience that I couldn’t possibly have articulated and my sense of safety and innocence was forever taken from me.

After that, I was still the same happy go lucky precociously charming kid but at a much more subdued level and underneath I was very, very fragile. That’s when I started isolating myself in my room.

But I was still relatively okay. Until, of course :

The elementary school years, ages 6 to 12.  Then I went to school. Did you know that nobody bothered to even walk me to school on my very first day? I went there alone, even though I barely even knew the way and had almost never been out of my own neighborhood on my own before then.

And for the first semester, things were okay. I didn’t make friends – presumably that is something I would have learned to do in kindergarten. But I was fairly popular in the times when we were in class but could talk freely.

But then some little asshole named Trevor, presumably jealous, started making fun of me for being fat, and I ended up wounded and socially isolated and so far down the pecking order that I was nearly pecked to death.

Then, the serious bullying began. Predators can’t resist a wounded animal. I guess. I was beaten, harassed, stolen from,. pushed into mud puddles, and so on.

The last straw was the day I got bullied on the way to school. Before that, it had only been school that wasn’t safe. Now I wasn’t safe anywhere but home.

That’s when the agoraphobia began.

Junior High, ages 12 to 15. Things got somewhat better. I had friends, Jason Heisler and Michael Copeland. They weren’t exactly reliable, as they would turn on me and make fun of me sometimes. But we hung out and watched videos and talked about comics and through them I played D&D and other RPGs with a wider group of people. So it was vaguely like proper socialization.

But they rapidly outgrew me. By Grade 9, I was alone again. But puberty had happened and straightened out some of the kinks in my coordination and made me big and beefy, and I had my period of learning to fight which ended in my throwing a person down a flight of stairs and getting freaked out by how much I enjoyed it.

Still, in Grade 9, I was relatively confident and sure of myself.

That all changed in…

High School, ages 16 to 18.  Once more, I was overwhelmed and alone. The bullying stopped but I was a ghost that spent his recesses reading and his lunch time in the library  reading some more and then went home to read in his bedroom, sometimes coming downstairs to watch TV, preferably alone.

I did none of the “normal” teenage things. No dates, no dances, no hanging out at the mall with friends, no parties, no drinking on the sly, no boundary-pushing, no big arguments with my parents, nothing.

College, ages 18 to 20.  Then, college happened. I fell in with a group of nerdy people a lot like myself and we got together regularly to play video games and tabletop games and generally nerd out together. Between classes, we hung out in a crappy little cafteria called The Pit, and so we called outselves the Pit Crew, and we always had some card game going, so I knew that between classes, I could go to the Pit, hang out with my friends, and have fun.

And I was pretty happy. I was still more or less in the closet, so I wasn’t exactly going on hot dates, but I had friends and classed and my brother and things were pretty cool.

Then my parents defunded my education and everyhing went to hell again. And I am still in that hell today, 24 years later.

Thus endeth my crappy childhood.

I will talk about my shitty adulthood some other time.

I am sure you’re all looking forward to that.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.







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