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Clarissa 29 Brighton UK. Atheist asexual cynic. Loves green. Hates kids.
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I was a wayward child
Sat, Jun 24 2006 @ 13:21   //   Category: Me about me   //   15 comments

So yesterday in the context of something else Michelle asked me this:

I've wanted to ask you anyway what you were like as a child and how you felt.

I started replying (in German) and it went on and on and on and I thought "heck, why not turn this into an entry" so here it is...

I don't know that much about you as a child.

Neither do I. :| Ok maybe it's not quite that dramatic, but I'm currently reading Julian Clary's autobiography and he describes so much of his childhood in detail, how on earth can he remember all of that? I always feel like that when I read autobiographies. How do those people do it, how can they remember all those details? Perhaps they embellish their existing memories... I mean I remember some events and disjointed scenes, but if I had to produce anything continuous, it would end up being very superficial.

Anyway. That's as an aside. "As a child" is fairly vague. When? And in what context? Ok let me try...

So at school.... I went to a private catholic school (private not in the UK sense!) for a year and a bit and I have to say, I have barely any memories of that. Isn't that terrible? I wasn't that much of an outsider, but also nowhere near the "centre of popularity". Gotta say tho, I still have a [er, dunno the English term for this, a book where your friends at school draw pretty pics & write 'you're a great friend' poems] from that time and that also contains entries from people I remember as fairly popular. *lol* Oh and I remember that my babysitter somehow went to the same school (this was a secondary school too) and she'd sometimes dote on me during breaks and that made me a little bit cooler too.

Other memories from that school...
1. there was a forest bit that was part of the school grounds but we were only allowed in there on special occasions. It was always very exciting!
2. Martine, whom as most of you know is still one of my best friends now, went to the same school, and we had a weeeiird game/scenario that was set on a submarine.
3. well there was the horribly traumatizing coffee incident.

Then we moved to a different suburb and I started going to the local school. I guess it's very difficult retrospectively to form an opinion on what you were/seemed like as a child. I don't think I was a particularly unhappy child at school. I was more or less integrated in our class, I had my share of "best friends" (you know how that regularly changes at that age...). There were skirmishes with some of the boys in our class, but I don't think I was ever much of a fan of the typical girly catfights that would happen.

Was I a tomboy? I did love fighting and one of my long-term best friends was a guy called Frank. LMAO Martine just reminded me that him and me had the most amazing physical fights:
you know, in cartoons when characters start fighting, the only thing you can see is a "ball" and sometimes an arm or a leg sticks out
when you and Frank had a fight, it looked a bit like that
then you stopped and one was pulling the other's hair
then you continued

I was definitely less girly than average. I did have a lot of matchbox cars, GI Joes, transformer robots, and oh my God did I love micro machines! I think there were two three strong contributing factors to this:
1. my brother (whom I only saw on holidays, but then we spent loads of time together doing boy stuff)
2. my parents who didn't force me into girly stereotypes
3. general boy friends.
But I also did love my Barbie dolls, My Little Ponies and... oh what were they called? Polly Pockets! They were cool!

Sooo as I said earlier I was quite happy in our class I think. The kids I did have trouble with in primary school were the ones from other forms. Like the ones in our parallel class, there were rivalries "by definition" (some sort of "which is the better class in our year" competition), and Frank and I had some serious enemies there. I remember them frogmarching me to the local newsagent & forcing me to openly apologize for stealing some stupid pen. I can't even remember how they found out I'd stolen it, but the ironic bit was that Frank had learnt stealing from some kid in their class (whose name now escapes me) and they all knew that. Hypocritical fucks.

There was a lot of stealing in my childhood, all really stupid stuff. Partly I did it for the thrill (like that ridiculous pen - it was pretty tho, with glitter and all!), partly... er I dunno. It was never a matter of proving anything to anyone. Frank was often involved tho. I also stole money from my mum, usually I'd check if she had a lot of notes in her wallet and when she did I'd take one. This would usually be 100 francs, equivalent to around £1.50. That was a lot of sweets in those days!

The first time I "stole" was when I was around five. Quite a funny story really, which I do remember, partly because my mum has repeated it to me so many times since... but I also have a frighteningly distinct memory of what led up to it. My then-best-friend Stefanie and her brother had decided we were going to the local grocery store down the hill. I said something like "oh ok I'll just have to get my shitty money out of my shitty purse" (I still know, with absolute certainty, that I said "mein Scheißgeld" - she was German so we spoke German - even though most of the rest of the episode is a blur to me).

So anyway, I went home, to my mum's purse, and took out a 1000 francs note - around £15 - and off we went to the store, where I bought something worth about 30p (TicTac breath mints I believe). I have noooo idea how the shop owner knew/found/contacted my mum, but he did, and we were picked up, and it was all very funny to the grown-ups - the little kiddy who had no idea what money was worth.

Later, when I stole from my mum (which I didn't do that  often, but fairly regularly anyway), I wondered why she wasn't more careful (her handbag was always within easy reach). I wondered if she suspected... she knows now I did steal because we have discussed it since, but I've never asked her if she knew then. I'll have to ask.

[/ end kleptomania paranthesis]

So I was talking about primary school. My most traumatic primary school experience was definitely the bullying me and Frank got from 3 guys who were one year above us. This went on for about two years. They'd wait for us after school and tease us, scare us, beat us, steal our stuff, whatever. They'd find us at other times too and it was scary. My parents categorically refused to do anything about it. They said this was our/my issue and nothing to do with them. I didn't forgive them that for ages. I can see now what they wanted to teach me by doing this, the whole "life's tough, stand up for yourself" thing, but God, I was fucking terrified.

I remember one day I was at the local store and one of the guys saw me and waited for me outside. I was too scared to leave the store and stayed in there for ages until one of our teachers happened to come in, recognized the situation and gave me a lift home. It got so bad I got a number of my friends (there must have been half a dozen of us) to go see the parents of the worst of the three, but they weren't in and the boy just laughed at us from the first floor window. Incidentally, the father was later my latin teacher and I loved him to bits. I did bring it up with him once, but he changed the subject and I'd moved on by then so I let it rest. He definitely knew it was happening tho. (it stopped when they finished school. we all went to the same secondary school too btw, and I ended up turning the tables on 2 of them in a funny way... but that's a different story)

Wow. Talk about going on for ages.

I should probably say something about religion. Lux being what it is (a Catholic country full of bigots) it certainly played a role. I was "religious" as a child - I went to mass, I was even in the church choir for a while! - but how much of that was because I wanted to fit in, and how much was true conviction is hard to tell. I guess I did believe in God, but mainly because I never really questioned it. My parents didn't indoctrinate me and let me get on with it, even though both were atheists. My nan on the other hand wanted me to be a good little Christian and made me pray with her before bedtime when I was staying over.

Religion classes were compulsory in Lux until I was 11, so I went. Well, towards the end I sometimes didn't. I guess my belief just sorta... waned. We had one weekly lesson with the local priest and he'd ask each of us in turn if we'd been to mass. Of course he knew if we'd been, the little fuck, being the priest 'n' all. So I'd tell him I'd been with my gran in a different suburb. Which I'm sure he knew was a lie (I bet he called the priest of that parish to check lol). But I still felt the need to lie instead of telling him where to stick his stupid mass.

My parents were known as what they were... my mum divorced, the two "co-habiting" (i.e. not married) and my dad - shock horror - officially expelled from Church, and both with a mild leftist background. People talked, and it did affect some people's attitude towards me (I was deemed "a bad influence" by some, and was barred from playing with one kid for a while. Back then I thought it was because I was a bit of a wild child... little did I know they were afraid I might corrupt their kid with our Godless ways!). But I didn't have it so bad. One of my friends later told me what they had to endure (their parents were in a similar situation). One of them once came home crying from kindergarten (!) because of a caustic comment the teacher had made. (!!!) Fucking bigots.

When I was in 5th form the government officially introduced an "ethics" class as an alternative to religion. That first year there were three of us taking the course. Three out of 21 or sth! :)) It was a lot of fun tho, we got to find out where babies came from with the help of cute comic books while the rest of them drew scenes from the Bible. And we felt like right renegades. :D The next year (our final year at primary school) more parents plucked up the necessary courage to defy the bigots and the class got bigger. :-)

The obligatory dig at Catholicism now done with, what else is there to say... not much really. Some odd memories like this one: I had a supercute jumper my mum had knitted for me, featuring a tomato with a face. I loved it (as you can imagine). Until the other kids started calling me tomato, because I'd become incredibly red in the face when getting angry. I don't remember the blushing, but I do remember the nickname, so there must have been something to it. :))

Thus my school memories up to the age of 12. I think this will do. I'm exhausted from straining to remember. :)) I shall now return to Julian Clary's faaar more interesting memoir.

People say...

I see many parallels to my childhood - even the name of your friend, Frank, hehe. Maybe if you remember more about your childhood, you could just write another entry. It's interesting, and I believe that you learn much about your character if you think back to where you came from. When you're a child, your character is still very pure. Later you try to adapt to people and social expectations.

One reason why I remember a lot about my childhood is probably that I decided to remember everything that had happened before when I was about 5. It's weird for a child to make that kind of decision, but I tried. I also thought about problems way too early and had to deal with too many fears, losing people, hurting people. I think I woke up too early from that innocence children grow up with usually.

I'd not consider it a bad thing if you do not remember your childhood well. But I think you still remember lots of details, too.

Posted by: Michelle on Sat June 24, 2006 at 14:18

You have a pretty detailed memory.

Coffee is killer! I'm sorry those nuns ruined your future enjoyment of it.

Are you talking about a "Yearbook"?

Did you have a Cabbage Patch Doll? Just wondering.

I'll write my own memories on Myspace, I'm sure that it won't be as elaborate as yours!

Posted by: jimmyboy on Sat June 24, 2006 at 16:47

>>he describes so much of his childhood in detail, how on earth can he remember all of that?

La Toya said when Michael did Moonwalk he was always asking Katherine and Joseph stuff, I guess that's what Julian did/most people do.

>>the other kids started calling me tomato, because I'd become incredibly red in the face when getting angry

Ooooh, just like Pink.

>>a book where your friends at school draw pretty pics & write 'you're a great friend' poems


That was really fascinating, how cool you managed to remember all that. So you were raised Catholic? I didn't know that, I knew you went to church as and stuff but I didn't know you WERE Catholic. Hmmm.

Yeah, cool. Liked that one.

Posted by: The BML on Sat June 24, 2006 at 19:21

Ok I ought fo finally reply to this.

Yeah I may do another entry at some point (but then I always say that about things)... I was thinking earlier there is so much I've left out. Really this was only about school, there was so much more going on, like scouts, holidays, my parents, the weekends at my father's... but then perhaps it would never end.
So you're saying you made that decision when you were 5? That is certainly unusual.

Nope, no cabbage patch doll, don't think we had those at all. I'll read your entry now.
And no it's not a yearbook. A "Poesie Album" (that's what we call it) is blank when you start, and your friends just get like a double page each to write & draw sth to remember them by.

My mum would probably remember even less than me. She didn't even remember I was wearing an eye patch for a while as a kid cuz I had a lazy eye.
Well ja @ catholic. Obviously not at home, but there was no way around being 'raised' catholic in Lux back then. Why do you think I hate them so much now.
As for yearbook, see above.

Posted by: Clarissa on Sat June 24, 2006 at 22:29

Oh also I thought I'd add after speaking to my mum...

1. she said she did suspect I stole from her but that "pretty much every kid does for a while" (and she did too, she told me some hilarious stories).
2. I was wrong about the grocery store guy, he didn't call my mum for us to be picked up, he actually gave us a lift home and turned up on our door step. Cute.

Posted by: Clarissa on Sat June 24, 2006 at 22:34

BTW, the Cabbage Patch Kids dolls were never really successful over here in Europe. These strange dolls were more of US-only phenomenon.

Posted by: Tobias on Sun June 25, 2006 at 1:04

The Cabbage Patch Dolls are awesome!

And I don't know why it says on Wikipedia that production stopped in 1989. I have seen them in the store in the last couple of years at least and they were still somewhat popular.

Posted by: jimmyboy on Sun June 25, 2006 at 1:14

How can Citz NOT like Catholism????


Posted by: Mel on Sun June 25, 2006 at 9:33

>>like scouts, holidays, my parents,
>>the weekends at my father's... but
>>then perhaps it would never end.

Ooooh, tell more more more. That's interesting!

>>So you're saying you made that decision
>>when you were 5? That is certainly unusual.

Yes, I was a weird little child. Thought too much about things children probably should not think about. Also made early decisions about my life that I partly fulfilled later. Maybe I'll finalize it one day.

I also began criticizing the Catholic church in my second grade, because I believed in evolution, couldn't buy the story about Adam and Eve. But I was a believer after all, went to church sometimes even twice a week, joined the church choir, turned my back on the church when I was 12, too, but for some reasons I'm still some sort of believer of some God.

I think Nietzsche is a great example of what church can do to you if you grow up with too much hardcore church.

Posted by: Michelle on Sun June 25, 2006 at 10:25

Veeeery cool entry.

Marilyn Manson went to a Christian school, and we all know how he turned out!

Posted by: Vega on Sun June 25, 2006 at 10:51

Cabbage Patch Kids craze of the 1980s [from the Wikipedia entry]

*snigger* Yeah I remember seeing those actually. They do look strange to me too, sorry Jimmy. Tho I have to say I like the idea that each one was unique.

@ Michelle, ok well I might start writing another entry once I'm done with my assignments for the job - if I still have 'writing energy' left (or I might write the entry in between working on the assignment as a way of procrastinating...)

As for people raised (more or less strictly) within a faith... they can really turn out either way, I don't think there is a rule. Some become strong atheists, some fervent believers, some moderate believers, some turn to another faith... there are so many more factors at play (btw this is something I am fascinated by... as you can tell )

Posted by: Clarissa on Sun June 25, 2006 at 11:35

I know the book you mean, in polish it's called pamiętnik which translates to memoir in english They're not common at all here though, I guess we just use yearbooks for stuff like that.

We didn't win on the lottery again yesterday aaaand it was another rollover!

Posted by: squiZZle on Sun June 25, 2006 at 11:59

Where have all your other entries gone?

Posted by: The BML on Sun June 25, 2006 at 12:15

Aaah @ squi, interesting.
And damn @ lottery.

BML, all my entries are in the archives. See the links on the left under "navigate"? *lol*
I'm only displaying the most recent entry on the main page at the moment while I decide... where to go from here or sth, and sort out some stuff.

Posted by: Clarissa on Sun June 25, 2006 at 12:24


Posted by: The BML on Mon June 26, 2006 at 22:46