After a childhood that saw me living in the likes of Paris and Nashville, my family would move to a town called Augusta. Now for those of you who are not familiar, feel free to read this piece here from Urban Dictionary. You can look more into the economics of the city and realize that outside of a Golf Tournament and James Brown, there is not a lot. However, the tail-end of my elementary school days would take me to the second biggest city in the state of Georgia.
Upon arriving in Augusta, my family settled into an apartment complex which had a lot of immigrants in it. Most of the immigrant families were of Chinese background. I started school and made my very first friend in the city, a kid named Nick. I remember being out in the playground and talking to this guy and we just hit it off. In my apartment complex, I made friends with a couple of the Chinese kids as well. One was this super brilliant dude named Aaron, looking back at it, I am still amazed at how smart this guy was.
A good chunk of my elementary school days were spent playing with my community friends in my apartment, usually it was either videogames or tag. I would also visit Nick at his home and this guy was loaded compared to most of us who didn’t really have much. I was still assimilating into life in America in my elementary school years and still trying to learn English. I had managed to learn it good enough but remember saying “shit” one time. Well, one girl told and I got into trouble, something that made me almost cry because of how scared I was of what my parents were going to do to me.
My elementary school days were telling of not just me but also my family. My dad had a way of tangling himself up in drama and finding anything to fight with neighbors about. I also realized that he had pulled some strings to not let me sit next to some of the Chinese and Black kids on the school bus. Never knew hatred in my heart until I saw what my dad was full of.
After elementary school, we would all be deciding on where to go to Middle School. The public schooling in Augusta was awful and most people with the means to do so either sent their kids to private schools, moved a district over with better schools, or opted to try and get them into what they call a charter type of a school. For my family and I, the only realistic option was the charter school where you took tests for almost the whole day and they evaluated you to see if you were good enough to get in.
I felt that feeling of failure for the first time ever in my life. Most of my friends in my community got in but I did not. I would be relegated to one of the public schools in the area which were hotbeds for crime and underperforming students. My parents had no other choice and so they opted to send me to the given local public school for my middle school years. I got good grades but let’s just say that the kids in that school were not nice.
Somehow, through some miracle, I avoided fights and confrontations. Come to think of it, I even made friends with some of those kids (and found their mug shots online years later). Two friends come to my mind the most in my middle school years though, these two white kids named Scott and Grayson. I feel like we were almost a band of brothers in some way despite how different we were. In them and through them, I found solace.
Given that I was in Georgia, the church played a big role in my life. My family was not that religious but I spent a lot of time in church during those years. My Sundays were spent at Church and I also went to this youth male group during the weekdays. We would read the Bible and then play dodgeball. Come to think of it and looking back at it, it helped me learn a lot of leadership skills even if I did not know it. Say what you want about Christians and the moral self-righteous from a lot of them (as well as the left) pisses me off at times but the vasty majority of them were good people. They took me in as an outsider and gave me an opportunity to fit in.
One other thing that kept me sane and active was playing the violin. From my elementary school days all the way to my middle school days, I played the violin. I remember being able to play the Lord Of The Rings theme on the violin as my ultimate achievement. Being in the Orchestra was also a chance for me to wear a suit for once and perform while a lot of people watched. No, I was not by myself, I was in a large group so that helped.
As awful as my childhood was, I was lucky to have some good things going for me. Even now as an adult, I cannot help but think the big role church and extracurricular activities played in my development. I guess I never got full Incel territory because I had interacted with so many people through social activities so it was tough for me to go mentally down a very dark path. However, when you peel back the layers and look past the smiley happy kid in public, a darker home life took place.
I don’t know what got into my dad during my middle school days, maybe it is because I didn’t get into the charter school, but he became evil. My dad had the look of hatred and anger in his eyes every day and never smiled or did anything of the sort. The only thing I remember from him was shouting, barking, and yelling. I cannot think of one point in my life during my middle school days when my dad was happy and seemed jolly in life.
The other way my dad tried to torture us was by not letting us exercise too much. We were force fed a high carb and unhealthy diet on top of being forced to study all day. As a result, I grew fat and got out of shape. Throughout my life I was thin but in my middle school days, I had become mostly overweight because of what my dad put me and my brother through. One doctor even yelled and shouted at my dad when he was taking my brother for an annual check up, telling him how he is killing my little brother with what he feeds us. Come to think of it, we were not allowed to exercise and told that it is for stupid people. I should mention that my dad was a very overweight man who did not look out for his health.
Maybe he was going through stuff at work but who really knows. What I do know is that I was the one he took his anger out on. I remember doing homework and having him stand over me as I did homework, shouting if I did anything wrong. I was yelled at, barked at, and on some days almost cried. From then on started what was the abuse. I don’t like to use the word bully because it would mean I give someone power but he was a low life, let’s call him that. A man too lazy to do his job, struggling, and then decides to take his anger out on his kid.
The abuse I endured, mostly verbal, played such a role in my confidence issues. I cannot help but think that the abuse also made me quite anxious and fearful in my middle school days. As bad as middle school was, I found comfort in kids that society would consider as being on the wrong side of the law. Yeah, the World Stars gave me more love and respect than my father ever did. I can’t believe I am saying this.
One other solace I found in my middle school days was hanging out with my friend Nick, actually, this was so significant that I will end part 2 here and dedicate a part just to this.