My birthday is in August. I had just tuned 5 when i started kindergarten. As the oldest child I didn't have any social experience with kids my own age. To say I was shy? Understatement.
I don't remember a lot of my elementary years in school. Probably because I didn't do much. Just showed up and sat there.
What I do remember?
Missing the bus and arriving to kindergarten late. With my savings envelope. Do they do that anymore? I don't think so. Anyway. I shuffled timidly into the room, chewing on my envelope. I don't know if the teacher said anything to me. She simply walked up. Took the envelope. And swatted my butt. I never understood why. I don't know to this day.
Second grade. All the kids played marbles. I got hold of a marble from an old Chinese checkers game. I found the courage to ask to play. I lost my marble first round. Of course I started to cry. Not sobby. Just tears leaking out. The older girl, bless her, didn't make fun. She said it's ok, and gave me a different marble. Even though she was so kind? I never tried to play with other kids again.
All grades. The oral book report. I hated them. I'd turn red, sweat, and when I spoke, it was barely a squeaky whisper. And always the teachers. "Speak up. Start over. Speak up!" I still cannot speak to a group larger than 4 or 5 without feeling I'm about to throw up.
I don't think I actually interacted with the kids I went to school with until 9th grade. I had neighborhood friends, but usually they were a year or two behind me in school. The kids my age lived farther away. In the 9th grade, a new family moved in with a daughter my age.
We were polar opposites. I was the quiet shy mouse. She was an extrovert. Loud. Confidant (or so I believed then). And...obnoxious. She was my best friend through high school. I thought. I was much older when I learned she wasn't that good for me. The lessons we learn too late.
I still am not a very social type. I have few friends. A lot of aquaintances. I'm sure it's me. Not them. I just don't let people in.
This past year, between Twitter and blogging and my addiction to TapTapRevenge on my iPod, I have met more people and made more connection with those people than the entire rest of my life. It has also made a difference in the way I interact with the people I know "in real life". It may sound like a sad thing.
It isn't. This is the first time ever I've felt socially accepted. And I feel a debt of gratitude to my "virtual friends" for making me see my own worth.