Now Playing: Moon River by Audrey Hepburn (oh dream maker, you heart breaker, wherever you're going I'm going your way)
I'm becoming the woman I swore I would never be.
I was a wise kid, at seven. You don't believe me, but I was. I was a philosophical, precocious little polymath. And seven year old me would be horrified at what I've become - a horny, hormonal teenager.
Of course, I know a lot more now than I did then. I didn't know what sex was, back then. Now I don't understand how anyone could possibly live in ignorance of that. I didn't know what a period was. Both things were introduced to me at eight when I was innocent and curious and had provoked highly embarrassed female relatives into giving me a half shouted, largely inaccurate answer. But c'est la vie, I got there eventually with a bit of Dolly Doctor and Laci Green.
When I was seven I swore I wouldn't become emotionally dependent on anyone or anything. I clearly underestimated what teenage boys do to you. I'm not going to blame all my attachment issues on oxytocin and testosterone, though - people these days have funny ideas of what being 'clingy' is - basically anything that deviates from being a heartless detached selfish asshole. Everyone I know, and like, is or has been accused of being 'clingy'; I would only accuse them of being 'human'.
When I was seven I was alone. I still remember it, nearly ten years on. I ate lunch in the toilets and wandered around staring at my shoelaces. Nothing I did was right, or good enough. I was bullied, a lot, for absolutely nothing in particular, and isolated because I was in a split-grade class but I was the only year two to basically become a year three. I talked to myself and lived in my own little world - and that did not help the bullying at all. I was having a teenage hissy fit at my parents a good six years too early. I was angry and frustrated and, being seven and deprived of internet access and the sufficient motor skills to pen a diary, no outlet. I got out of that period almost like a hardened veteran - I had no-one to depend on, so I decided that depending on anyone was weak. I didn't have anyone to cry on or scream at, no shoulders to slump into or arms around me. I tried to tell myself I could live without that.
I couldn't hide my eccentricity when I was seven - I just didn't have the capacity. When I finally grew up enough to conform I did, but I got no happiness out of pretending. I don't get a buzz out of being a 24/7 liar. The reason why I am such a good white liar now is that I taught myself to lie when the truth wasn't good enough for people.
It always cut deep when people - teachers, students, anyone - accused me of being arrogant and too up myself. I have hated what I look like ever since I was six years old. I've spent countless nights crying myself to sleep, inconsolable in the fact that I was utterly inadequate. I had my brief, fleeting moments of glory, but the things I remember the most about primary school was being forced to sit through countless award ceremonies and sports carnivals for the kind of people I couldn't be doing things I couldn't do, and then being bullied for being good at whatever I was good at. I've always been a silly lovesick kid and people have been telling me to my face that I'm not good enough, never good enough, and laughed at the dreamer with the nerve to adore them ever since I first caught someone's eye and thought that they were the best thing that could have ever existed - a small wound for a teenager, maybe, but totally crushing when one is ten and optimistic. I still can't believe how I have spent my whole life cut down, and then people turn around and say that I am arrogant.
When I was seven anything I wanted, I got. My mother raised me with the working class dream that you can get anything if you work hard enough. Yeah, anything except for friends, boyfriends, social acceptance - people laugh off these troubles later, but it is cruel to forget how important these things are not only to children, but to all people, to all of humanity.
When I was seven I was punished constantly for being human. For having an emotional spectrum, for wanting what other people had. I remember it as a very lonely, isolated, confusing time. I remember not fitting in and wanting more than anything a friend. When I was seven I tried to protect myself by swearing I would be what I thought of 'strong' - but it was really just trying to conform to society and ignore who I was.
Now I have people to scream at and cry on. I have people who don't knock me down for being human. I have people I love dearly who are proud to be my friends. But I wish I could somehow convey to people that I'm not made of stone like everyone else pretends to be. If I'm going to be fearless I can't pretend to not be vulnerable. Because at heart I'm still a little seven year old with scabby knees, crying in the toilets over one childish hurt or another. And that's the person people hurt when they hurt me.