Tuesday, November 27

Defining Moments

Recently, I did something stupid. Stupid may not be the right word, childish might be a better description. The details of the situation are not important. Nor do I want to share my shame with anymore people than those who shared the experience with me. For those who were there, I am sorry. Despite the lingering embarrassment, I learned something. (A lot of somethings, in fact.)

In life, we all defining moments. Moments that change us. Moments that change the perspective in which we see the world. After my embarrassing situation, I became to reflect on my life, my "adolescence", my childhood. There was particular comment that was said during the embarrassing situation that prompted a memory from when I was 5 or 6 years old.

Kindergarten, Carruthers Elementary School, Murphysboro, IL, 1991(ish). Two moments that have shaken my security of being trusted.

Situation A - At our school we had this giant slide. It was at least 100 feet high, from my memory. Over one weekend some neighborhood kids waxed the slide to go faster. When Monday rolled around, the teachers forbade the kindergartners to do down the slide. It was simply too much for the little ones. It was not that big of deal, I was terrified to go up the stairs and the line was always long. So that day, Ebony, Chandra and I played else where. One thing we enjoyed was the little jungle gym near the slide. Chandra and I spent nearly all recess on it, chatting about the problems of the world. After recess we file back into the classroom, right on to reading carpet. The teacher tells us that some kindergartners went down the slide. I knew they were talking about Ebony. Her older sister had talked her into going down the slide. She was a 1st grader. The next thing I know Mrs. Teacher was asking the class, "Who saw Nevan go down the slide?" Everyone raised their hand, except Ebony. What?!? I did not. But the guilty always deny it. I said, "We played near the slide, but I didn't go down it." My objections availed me none. She didn't believe me. 

Situation B - All the students where called on to the reading carpet. We commonly went to the reading carpet before doing something as a group. I joined my fellow students. The teacher, then, posed this question, "Who colored on the floor?" Someone said, "I saw Tiffany and Nevan do it." Then I was asked if I did it. "No," I responded. I couldn't even tell you where it was or what color it was. Mrs. Teacher asked the class, "Who saw Nevan color on the floor?" The rest of the class raised their hands and labeled me as the child who colored on the floor. (The same was repeated with Tiffany.) So during recess, Tiffany and I got to clean up the crayon makings off the linoleum and carpet, despite my whimpering objects to being the responsible party. I still have no clue who colored on the floor that day. It may have been just Tiffany. I don't know. I was not believed.

I was not a perfect child. I lied to my dad once without being caught. The guilt haunts me to this day. Each of my brothers received a spanking (as did I) as a result of my lie. I did things I was not supposed to do. I am not a perfect adult. For example, the embarrassing situation.

Those moments in kindergarten when I was wrongfully accused has altered my trust in other to trust me. I regularly feel the need to defend my "innocence". I often have dreams of being wrongfully accused, having to take responsibility for others' actions. I am not sure at what point gave up trying to defend myself.

So this coupled with my erroneous view on what selfishness is, set the base for that embarrassing situation. From here, I take the lessons I learned and begin to change my thinking. I will choose to believe my friend who said to me, despite the embarrassing situation, "You are where you are at because I trust you. You don't have to prove anything to me. I trust you." (slightly paraphrased) 

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