(This is the second part of the post I released yesterday) On the other hand, my social life at this age was going well – I was just starting to find myself and discover my talents:
My mother was a teacher, so every day I had to stay extra hours at the school after it was over while she was in meetings. So, she signed me up for after school computer lessons, mostly just as something for me to do while I waited. It was there that I learned a lot of the graphic design skills that I used to design the subject headers, and other digital art, for this blog. Designing simply came naturally to me, and all of a sudden I was rushing ahead of the class and mastering extremely complicated animation on my first try. Without that class, I never would have discovered my talent for animation, graphic design and digital art which I now use almost daily and hope to possibly turn into my career one day.
I also started messing around with cameras, filming and stop-motion animation. I’d spend hours fiddling around with paper puppets or using my Playmobil toys as actors. My poor family had to suffer through each and every one of my poor-quality ‘film projects’. At school, I was always among the best readers in my class and would speed-read my way through the library’s shelves. I’ll never forget the late night ‘missions’ I would embark on: to do a ‘mission’ I would fill my bed with as many teddy bears and blankets as possible because I discovered that it was harder to get to sleep when I was warm. I would then use that warm, stuffed bed to help me to stay awake until my sister (who used to share a room with me) went to sleep. After she was fast asleep, I’d creep over to the bookshelf and take as many books as I could carry over to my bed. By the glow of our night-light, I’d one-by-one make my way through the pile until morning, often having to go back to the shelf to get more.
I liked writing too (which I also hope to do professionally one day) and would take the many stories that I wrote into school for my classmates to read. Once, the teacher read one of my books out to the class: as she and the students showered me with compliments, I became determined to never stop writing and sharing my passion with others.
Regarding friendships, I had an extremely close friend who I would spend all of my time with. Now that I think about it, we were such an odd pair: he was into sports and was well known for being one of the fastest boys at school. He played football, participated in running competitions and took part in numerous other athletic sports. Sports weren’t really my thing, and I can’t think of many common interests that we shared, yet still, we were inseparable (we did share a common love for the Cartoon Network show Ben 10 though. I think that was what first made us friends). We’d spend all our time laughing and joking around together and he was endlessly patient when it came to my disability, so much so that the adults around us called him my ‘knight in shining armour’.
I’ll never forget when his little brother was having a birthday party at a huge indoor play park. My friend’s parents gave him the option to take one friend of his own with him – and he chose me. I just remember feeling so happy that he hadn’t chosen any of his other football friends, he had chosen me. It made me feel so special, and the day that we spent at that play park was one of the best in my entire childhood. Even now I can remember almost every detail.
He provided me with the push that I needed to be slightly more daring: the play park had three huge slides which I was too scared to go down but he dragged me to the top of the highest one, and when I started to get cold feet, he quite literally pushed me down it. I fell in love with that feeling of falling, and even though it took me quite a while to make it up the winding staircase to the top and past a ton of impatient pushing and shoving children, we rode down that slide again and again. He also dragged me into the ‘horror tunnel’ section of the park which I had always been too scared to go into before. With him, we smashed a mirror at my house while having a plastic food fight and broke a vase at his place with a soft football; life was always more interesting when he was around. While he brought my more daring side across, I would provide him with the caution and sense that he needed: I would often take charge in a classroom environment, challenging him to reading competitions or helping him out with assignments.
These are pictures of a spy adventure book that I created which starred me and my best friend as the main characters (I censored all of his pictures and the mentions of his name for anonymity’s sake). I wrote this when I was nine-years-old:
So many years of our childhood were spent stuck to each other like glue. We didn’t care that he was a boy and I was a girl; that he was white and I was black; that physically he could achieve things that I never could – we just made sense together. Inseparable doesn’t begin to describe how close we were.
Image Citation: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oLbFJrKq-Mw