22 02 2011

I think it was on the last day or one of the last days of kindergarten when this happened.  So there we all were, playing or running around or whatever it is kids nowadays do in kindergarten.  I must’ve been having too much fun, as I suddenly let out a scream that in retrospect, didn’t seem that loud.  I mean, there was definitely louder I probably could’ve done.  Anyway, the teacher, Mrs. Elliot must’ve been out of the room because she came in a few seconds later and asked the class, “Who just screamed?”

Okay, let me set the record straight: I was not afraid of my teacher.  But I was afraid of getting yelled at since I was a fragile, very much sensitive young boy (long before I ever became the jaded, pissed-off-at-everything guy I am now).  I so wanted to blame it on Kathryn what’s-her-face since, as I was so young, my voice obviously hadn’t broken and still sounded as girly as ever.  But I did the right thing and told Mrs. Elliot in front of the entire class that I had been the one who had screamed.

And she then screamed at me.

What did she say?  I don’t remember.  It’s probably repressed somewhere in my unconscious.  After the smoke had cleared and everyone was awkwardly going about resuming what joyful activity they had been partaking in, I do remember sitting down on the big red, orange, and yellow carpet in the room by myself and crying, mumbling something to myself which I’ve also forgotten.  For some reason, I think I was mumbling, “It wasn’t me” but that wouldn’t make sense for me to confess, get yelled at, and then say it wasn’t me.  In any case, there I was, a sobbing 5 year old on one of the last days of Kindergarten.

I think at some point, some of the other kids came up and tried to calm me down but it didn’t work.  And for some reason — perhaps this is a whole different memory altogether that I’m confusing this with, which is likely — I remember Mrs. Elliot, having enough of me making a scene, told me, “Oh, shut up already!” or something to that extent.  This then, surprisingly did make me stop bawling and eventually I stopped altogether.

As I grew up, I created my own carpets for crying whenever someone would say mean things or yell at me.  Eventually, I learned to divert my hurt feelings towards a different emotion: anger.  Instead of crying, I would silently fume, glaring at people and now, yelling back.

When they tell you that you need to have thick skin in this world, they mean to not give in to tears.  They mean to learn to yell back.

They mean to become like them.