The long story starts all the way back to the days before my adolescence, the days my family found long-term residence in the United States.
Some say that the area you are raised in during your childhood and youth really shapes who you are as a person or at least plays a big role in it. After moving around a great deal during my childhood, my family decided to settle down in a Georgia city that was not Atlanta. Outside of Atlanta and Savannah, there is not a lot of culture or really much of anything in Georgia. For those of you who really want to know the city, here is what came up as a top description of it here:
The place smells like ass and looks like a third world country. Half the population is retarded and the other half just look that way. It would be the perfect location for a post apocalyptic zombie movie.
I know I say dumb shit a lot of times and have days where I look a mess but jeez, I hope neither of that applies to me!
So this is where the story really begins, after a childhood of living in world class areas, my family settled into a Bumfuck town with a snobbish culture. I was finishing elementary school at the time and my parents decided to live in an area with mostly immigrants in it. The immigrants themselves were usually Asian and that rubbed off on my parents who valued grades above all.
We were in an apartment and thanks to some neighbors who called my family to church, as is tradition in the south, I made friends with two Chinese kids. Our friendship can best be described as casual, kind of like the one the characters from South Park have with each other. In elementary school, I was the kid who was still adjusting and thanks to a decent environment, I didn’t face any bullying. After elementary school, the schooling got a lot more rough and undesirable.
The new arrival makes a good friend.
At some point in Elementary School, I made good friends with a guy named Nick who was a local with family that had been in the city for a few generations. We hit it off right on the spot and Nick was one of the two friends I had who would stay at my house as I stayed at his. Nick introduced me to American culture and even Playboy magazines, in some ways, I owe my sanity in my youth to him.
Even as I entered my adolescence, I kept in close touch with Nick who would go on to become one of my closest friends. I remember one late night when we watched a Howard Stern episode and they had a pornstar on, we both looked at each other and agreed she was a hottie. The next night, we watched American Pie and I remember the arousal I had when Shannon Elizabeth stripped down. No way any of this would have been okay with my strict overbearing parents in any way whatsoever. Nick stopped me from being a sexless dork forever, much to the disappointment of my parents.
The building block for teamwork and friendships, thank God!
Looking back at some things that ended up being done right in my childhood, I think about being a part of the church. I picked up Christianity as my religion which my parents encouraged to fit into the local culture, since it was the south. Through the church, I took part in a boys group where we met every week for fun games, worship, talks, and dodgeball. A lot of leadership and life lessons I learned through that group were priceless and in some ways, the church kept me from really going off the ledge in my youth. Since then, I have had an on and off relationship with religion, on one hand I want to worship God but on the other, I cannot see myself keeping up the moral values to show off how much I live the Bible. I love God but given that sex before marriage is a sin I intend to commit many many times in my life, I don’t really think I would find acceptance in Christianity. Moving on…..
The school zone and overall county system.
The county we were living is was not a good county, most people were below poverty line and schools were struggling. If we are to breakdown the demographics, it was about 60% black, 30% white (usually all rednecks instead of the suburban kid variety), and 10% everything else. Overall, the county was poor and if you could not afford a private school, you often had to go to what was identified as a “Magnet” school meaning you had to have good grades and pass tests to get in.
For the magnet schools, there was a diversity quota meaning that the school had to match what the county demographics were in terms of race. The 10% number was from the 2000 census for the county, by the time I had arrived there had been a massive increase in the overall Hispanic and Asian population. So the long story short being, I did not get in and was instead stuck in the struggling schools.
Surprisingly my biggest bully.
I started out my middle school years to find that the kids were largely good reasonable kids, as long as you didn’t bother anyone, people sort of minded their own business. For the large part, I did not have a major bully in school that I really dealt with, it was hardly that much of a thing. My biggest bully was at home, it was my father, a character you will learn a lot about as the story goes on.
My father can best be described as a miserable failure who was short-tempered and needed someone to take his temper out on, that someone was me. I was scolded every day, told I was never good enough, always talked down to, and always shouted at. As for how bad the experience was, I guess at the time when you are a kid who thinks the world is a decent place and parents are to be respected, you kind of took it as a norm in life. I no doubt had some damage done to my psyche from it and had days where I broke down and cried too.
As a result of the trauma at home, I was a kid who was very scared to get into trouble and didn’t get into any fights. I had a couple instances where I let someone slap me just to avoid a fight and it made me less of a man. Such was my personality, the studious kid too scared to get into trouble and always had to play by the rules.
The bookworm makes more friends.
Around 7th grade, I made a couple of good friends who I would normally sit with at lunch. One was a rugged southern boy named Grayson, a total alpha male who took shit from no one. How me and Grayson became friends is a mystery but looking back at it, I thought of him as a sympathetic to what I was going through. In a weird way, I saw him as an older brother I never had. My other friend was a kid named Scott who was an outgoing southern kid that was friendly with everyone, somehow the three of us made a good enough team for that year.
I was the bookworm who made the good grades and they were the kids friendly enough to welcome me as a friend. For all intents and purposes, I was a dork with glasses and I still look back to think why I had not been stuffed into lockers or been in many fights. My middle school years were truly a mystery but I am fortunate enough to not leave with too much trauma outside of what a bad father put me through.
The final year of middle school that sets the tone.
A strange event had happened where a local middle school had shut down, it was largely due to kids not showing up and teachers unable to keep all of it together. The school was performing very poorly and student behavior at times required help from the local police. Somehow, records get mixed up (as I would find at the end of the year) to where I get put into a class with all of these students, they mixed up my test scores with that of another kid and I was put in the wrong section.
As for what happened, well, remember the skit on Chapelle’s Show about Real World? Thankfully I did not get stabbed or put into any choke holds but lets say that we never picked up a book in that entire class or had a lecture. The class had bullied the teacher to submission and I had a huge gap in my own learning and development.
After seeing the craziness unfold, my interest for education had faded, didn’t want to be seen as a “nerd” in that environment. Thanks to keeping quiet and not bothering anyone, I was able to only walk away with one argument where a kid slapped me and I shoved him before a couple guys broke it up.
The following semester, I get transferred to another section after they realize they fucked up my scores. I see my old friend Scott and have a more calming experience before the high school days begin.