5 Traits I Like in Myself as a Child

Alter, Forwood & Co.
1. Curiosity
I wanted to know everything. I asked all the questions. While most people have the worst horror stories about Sunday School teachers stunting a quest for knowledge, I successfully exhausted public school teachers who did not want to assign me a new pigeon hole and got quite irritated at how I kept climbing out of the ones they put me in. I once prayed to God that I really did want to know everything…and I am convinced that God is still answering that prayer, to my chagrin.

2. Imagination
Now that I have my diagnosis, I realize now my ability to a)be in two mental spaces at once (here and not-here) and b)my corollary ability to completely enter an entirely different reality with my eyes open are one of the effects of PTSD and dissociation. My family’s constant drama – and I mean constant – caused me to find a way of shutting down emotionally, but also gave me a way to clearly and powerfully visualize entirely different realities. I imagined something better while standing right in front of the worst of it. My imagination combined with the dissociative reflex probably saved my life in some way, since as an adult my depressions are only temporary and the only serious suicidal thought I ever had happened after I accidentally deleted my entire writing folder.

3. Passion…albeit buried
When I got interested in something, I got really interested. I always thought of it as “interest” but in truth it was passion. I still think I define passion differently from other people and a lot has to do with my near constant state of emotional separation. For me it’s intellectual. I don’t yell at people over trivial details, and yet I’ve heard that defined as passion. I don’t start unnecessary political arguments, yet I’ve heard that defined as passion. Nope – I just got really, really interested and enthusiastic about things every so often. Doctor Who was the first passion of my life, followed by my high school sweetheart, and later on occultism which has remained a lasting passion. Writing and poetry are expressions for me, but not what I’d define as passions – first, I don’t share the passionate love of language that some lit writers do. To me that “passion” for language looks more like vanity and undermines the real purpose of language: to communicate. Literary writing, for all its praise, to me seems to undermine more than uplift society because it actually makes communication more difficult while the authors congratulate themselves on somehow making the masses smarter/”work for it,” and lose a significant chunk of the people that might otherwise benefit from what the writer is ostensibly trying to communicate. While there are exceptions to this – notably from writers who also happen to be women of color most of the time – most literary writing reads to me as a form of oppression, and as another means of deepening race and class divides. Perhaps I have a passion for writing to be understood.

4. Analytical
Did I write about this before? By sixth grade my class became socially complicated as people began pairing off with best friends (those little heart and key necklaces were a big deal) and also having boyfriends/girlfriends. This was all very heteronormative at the time. I had no best friend at the time. This constant relationship interchange also fascinated me. At recess I would sit and watch people as they did their changes and interchanges and actually draw charts and venn diagrams to examine the relationships and the commonalities. I wasn’t sure where I was going with it, but as an adult with the sociology classes to back up those charts now, I’m sure what I captured might actually be quite revelatory given the boyfriend trade-offs, the socio-economic statuses of the people involved, and how much money parents invested in fueling girl-world/female social violence status markers.

5. Good-natured
I honestly didn’t care about winning most of the time. If I tripped and fell in front of the whole school, I got up laughing. While other girls especially took malicious pleasure in laughing at each other and making each other feel horrible, I tried to find things I appreciated in my friends – which was hard, since everyone was a bit abusive to me as the designated social outcast. As an adult, when that good nature disappeared into my PTSD, I think a lot of people were far more shocked than they should have been that years of abuse shorted out my kindness with them. So far though I’ve only had that complete depletion of kindness and humor with people that mistreated me. New folks in my lives still receive my good nature until I have reason to withhold it. In some cases, especially now I’m back in the dating arena, that’s about 2.5 seconds – but for most that will probably go for the rest of our lives.