I don't usually make eye contact with people I meet. Unless I make a concious effort to do so, or I deeply trust you. I went through a lot in my childhood because I'm not neurotypical, but here's one story.
Teachers in elementary school and middle school would write me up for not paying attention because I'd stare out the window while they were talking. I'd be able to verbatim recall exactly what they said and still I'd get in trouble for not looking at them while they taught
My parents were told by teachers I might be autistic. My mom, a nurse went and had me see a psychiatrist in 2nd grade to determine if I was. Because I was able to "follow commands" I was deemed a stubborn child who just got bored easily. Not autistic according to the professional
I generally had a horrible time in elementary school and middle school. I was constantly bullied. Not a week would go by where I didn't come home with a bruise or get written up for "antagonizing someone". I spent more time in detention than any other student in 7th grade.
I actually got suspended twice in 8th grade. Both incidents were related to me getting bullied for being different. I had been getting constantly harrassed since kindergarten. The teachers thought I was the problem, somehow I was antagonizing the bullies.
In middle school I was extremely creative. By the end of the 8th grade most of my teachers had given up on making me focus on the lesson. Realized that finally, I learn very differently. I spent a lot of time drawing, writing poems, finding interesting books to read.
But then I got suspended for the second time. My parents decided to made me go to a catholic school to "set me on the straight and narrow" my dad said if I got even a single detention, he'd send me off to military school.
That scared the everloving crap out of me. I spent most of 9th grade being a mouse. I would go to school, take notes, come home, do homework, eat dinner, go to bed. Rinse and repeat. My grades went from low B's to A's because I never took my nose out of a textbook
I learned to be a model student. I forgot how to draw. How to be a kid. I literally wore a suit to school every day! I also had no friends that I knew at this school. My entire 9th grade I barely remeber doing anything. It was a total blur of a year.
I pretended to be someone I wasn't. That personality began to really start to crack in 11th grade when I found a group of friends who let me be me again, even temporarily. By the time I was a senior I had recovered, mostly but the damage ran deep.
I was no longer the wide eyed 13 year old with boundless creativity. I was a 17 year old cynic with a rebellious nature. My attitue towards life had become jaded, only existing to try to break out of the conformity my younger self clung to as a crutch.
I often wonder what would have happened if I didn't go to catholic high school. If I was allowed to express myself properly. My entire high school life was wearing one mask or another. College was a disaster due to a breakdown of personality.
Looking back I wish I drew more. Learned to play the piano, made more friendships (I don't have a single friend that I still do from k-12) I wish I was given the tools to succeed in elementary school. I wish a lot of things
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