About five years ago I started writing a memoir. I kept at it for a little while, writing about 1,000 words a day for a few weeks. I hadn’t yet been to therapy and there were many things I didn’t really understand about my life, but I still find the unfinished memoir to be a fascinating look into my own past. I’ve decided to post it in installments here, with only a few redactions. You can find the other sections by clicking the Memoir category.
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I went to preschool in Pittsfield at a place called Wee Kare Kiddie Kollege, which was a good school in spite of the staffâ€™s apparent inability to spell simple words. There was a big tree, or maybe just a tall stump, in the yard out back of the school. I remember throwing up during naptime after eating too many Friehofferâ€™s Chocolate Chip Cookies (Original Recipe). We took naps on red mats, and I threw up on mine while lying down. I felt it on my cheek for a few seconds before one of the day care workers â€“ Kollege Perfessers? â€“ took me off the mat, cleaned me up and called my mom.
I hate throwing up. I realize that nobody likes to do it, but Iâ€™m actually terrified of it. I have a very strong gag reflex, and I always choke and gasp and break out in a cold sweat when I throw up. Iâ€™ll go to such lengths to avoid throwing up that I probably make myself sicker by fighting it. I hope youâ€™re not reading this while eating lunch, by the way. Another thing I donâ€™t like is talking about throwing up, so youâ€™re probably safe for the rest of the book.
In fact, Iâ€™m fairly creeped out by talking about most bodily functions. I come from the kind of family that didnâ€™t discuss those sorts of things, and itâ€™s hard for me to change now. I donâ€™t like talking about medical procedures or secretions or runny noses, and Iâ€™m embarrassed about some aspects of sexuality. My parents werenâ€™t skilled at â€œthe talk.â€ As a matter of fact, I donâ€™t ever remember having a conversation with them about sex, except once when I drew a picture of a naked woman accompanied by some less-than-wholesome words Iâ€™d recently learned. When my parents saw it, well…
Add to that the zany sexual taboos of organized religion, and you end up with one neurotic and sexually traumatized teenager who could really have used some guidance. I turned out okay in the end, but I missed a lot of opportunities because it took me an extra 10 years to get past my conditioning.