In Retrospect…

As it turned out I was held back a year in school. My teacher, Ms. York, gave me a note one day to give to my parents. I knew I was in trouble but I didn’t know what it was for this time.

That meeting between my parents and teacher was one of the worst meetings I have ever been in. They decided that it was ‘best’ for me to repeat year 8. They thought it best for me to attend another school, their reasoning being that it would give me a fresh start. I knew they moved me to a nicer school in hope that I would get away from the ‘wrong’ crowd.

They also ingrained into my mind and soul that the idea of getting held back was bad, that I should hide it from people, which in turned made it worse than if I just let everyone know. Sneaking and hiding where I had been and having to make up fake stories to please people. It was the start of a large lie that consumed my life until it was eventually discovered, questioned and dismissed as laughable.

They thought it best for me and in retrospect I believe it was the right decision. The only problem was that I still didn’t have a firm grasp on things and seem to get in trouble a lot for things I didn’t understand.

The first day of my new year, in my new school, with my new class mates wasn’t the greatest day of my life, surprisingly. The school started at year 7 and almost all of the kids now in year 8, the year I was starting in, had already had a year of bonding, making friends and had already divided into their clicks.

An outsider coming in for the first day was by itself bad enough, but to think that I was so desperately shy and introverted coming into this place was by far the worst experience I had known up until that moment.

The next day I came down with a horrible cough that turned into hopping cough. I’m not sure if this was a coincidence or if I made my self sick subconsciously because I did not want to return to school. This lasted a month and I was made to stay home by the doctor’s orders. This suited me fine and I refined my skills on the computer game Quake over the next few weeks.

After I returned to school I had a still had a tough time fitting in and I was rudely termed ‘Munter’. Year 8 had not started too well for me.

To make up for this I turned to the only thing a young boy can turn to, Disobedience. I thought the kids would like me more if I broke the rules and got into trouble. Thankfully my teacher, Mrs. McCormick, was a tough old lady who didn’t tolerate any bad behavior. She single-handedly straightened me out and made me realize a lot of things.

I think this year was the turning point in my life. I discovered that I could change and evolve as a person, that I didn’t have to buy into what I was dubbed as.

Mrs. McCormick got me involved with music and sports. She deferred me from the other trouble makers and sat me next to a young chap named Marcel. We became friends and in turn I became friends with his other friends.

I also had started attending a youth group at the local church. One of my friends from my old school had invited me one night. After attending this fine event I was hooked on going week after week.

These two events in my life would lead me to a dramatic change and would catapult me into where I am now.

Back at school I was the big kid. That year would be my one and only growth spurt, growing to six foot at age 13. I would get into fights with the other kids daily because of this fact. They all seemed to love to pick on this one guy called Valentine, who was also pretty big, and me. The fight of the year was Valentine vs. me. Now I wasn’t a big guy, I was just really tall and lanky. Valentine won.

Apart from getting into fights with my classmates I did focus a lot of my attention on music and playing the bass guitar. I had successfully joined the local church band and was getting tutored every week by a great guy called Todd.

Computer games also consumed a lot of my life as well. And I spent most of my time at home locked in my room playing them. I didn’t take much interest in school work or sports or friends at the time and suffered for it in later years.

My game of choice was Quake. I would play this online every night. I became very good at it and was soon playing for a very popular and skilled ‘clan’, a group of people with the same tag in there name. Later on I realized that I had discovered a great ability. If I focused all of my attention on something I could become very skilled at it and one of the top players in the field.

Being involved with the church had a major impact on my morals. They guided me to stay off drugs and alcohol, no sex before you were married and generally keeping out of trouble in the weekend when the other kids would be getting up to who knows what.

I had a great group of Christian friends at this stage and would see them every week at youth group. We would hang out on the Friday night and then I would stay in my room playing computer games or go to band practice for the rest of the weekend.

My parents seemed to like this and generally left me alone. I liked this and became very secluded.

I was getting by in school. You couldn’t fail a year at this stage and I would do just enough to get by without being yelled at too much. I concluded that school was a waste of time for me and really boring. But western social standards require you to go formal schooling until you are 15. My parents on the other hand made sure I stuck around until I was finished.

In retrospect, even though I hated every minute of it, it was all for the best. It taught me a whole lot of social standards. Yet it put me into a defensive stance most of the time and I didn’t like too much conflict.


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