The Lost Years

(Continued from previous two posts)

I was stealing by age six, shooting neighborhood animals with BB guns by age ten, and vandalizing by age 15.  I don’t want to imply that these were behaviors that I was always engaged in, but they were present.

I was the smart and golden child in an area blighted by poverty.  Most people growing up in that area would go on to be drug addicts and poverty-stricken adults.  For many growing up around those parts, this was fate.  There was no future that their parents did not already live.

Being the golden child meant that I could get away with a lot, however.  I was never once suspended from school and never found myself in the juvenile system.  I was able to steal, vandalize, and disrupt classes because I was never suspected to be a problem.  With disruption, for instance, the teachers would chalk it up as an anomaly rather than actuality.  I was off everyone’s radar.

By my late adolescent years, it was apparent that I controlled my parents and not the other way around.  Their former behavior of bloody beatings and neglect gave way to deference.  They realized that I was poised to become the first “successful” member of the family and they figured that I knew well enough how to handle myself.

There were spurts of antisocial behavior and delinquency, such as the time the truant officer stopped by because I was chronically “sick” (read: faking illness to stay home) or the time that I blackmailed a teacher into giving me an ‘A’ in a class I was not fit for, but in general times were relatively quiet.  There is only so much an adolescent can accomplish until they are on their own two feet…

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