Somehow I was given the gift to remember moments in my life, the memories forever instilled in my mind as if they were yesterday. Many moments I will forever cherish, others I often regret. But one thing remains certain; I remember everything.
There have been time in my life when I felt as if the world and time itself stood still; waves of happiness filled my soul and I had not a care in the world.
Those days it seems have taken a hiatus, as the world I know has begun to change, and life as we know it has gotten hard. Perhaps it is part of growing up, and seeing the world for what it really is, instead of seeing the world through the eyes of a child. While today my life is filled with ups and downs, twists and turns, and unexpected surprises, there was a decade in my life when memories of elation and happiness had seemingly been replaced with unpleasant memories of things going wrong, anger, pain, torment, and anguish.
Ever since I can remember, all throughout grade school, I was surrounded by a small handful of terrible teachers who thought they knew best. Grade school in general was a total disaster for me; I have always been way to autodidactic to sit and listen to a teacher ramble on with their lesson plans, though somehow I made it through. Barely. It was all tolerable until around seventh grade when my school principal blamed me for starting a fight on a day when I had undeniable proof of being absent from school for a week with influenza. No matter, for whatever reason, my parents sided with the principal, when they should have taken my side.
Grade eight, I was sent to a different school. Still, I was faced with a group of well-meaning teachers with good intentions, though the school principal was to blame in my opinion. My eighth grade principal was too cocky, self-absorbed, and aloof for my tastes; combined with an overzealous school psychologist, it was the perfect recipe for disaster.
Grades nine through twelve were spent at boarding school, which I hated. I still regret not running away from it all when I was 18, and had the ample opportunity and right to do so. But instead for whatever reason, I stayed, and I regret it still to this day, almost two decades later.
Summer camp was my childhood salvation. I had a handful of very close friends at summer camp, a few of whom have set aside time in their very busy lives to keep in touch with me. I regret having so much fun at summer camp that I often put aside my camera and writing notebook, and failed to document the experience at a level that I would have found to be satisfactory today. I have a handful of photographs, and many memories, yet those memories are fading and sketchy and details are what matters to me the most.
All my life, I have been an observer. I find much enjoyment from observing things and documenting the progress and changes of just about everything. I never knew why, and chances are, I most likely will never know for sure.
I often turn to my old friends, those whom have known me since childhood; almost my entire life, for their opinions. What they thought of me through the years has yet to change, but what do they really know? Nobody knows the real me, maybe I don’t, either. Somehow my writing became my lifes work, to learn almost accidentally that by some bizarre twist of fate or simply by default that I have dedicated my life to writing.
Everyone goes through some sort of pain in life, though few ever admit to it. Writers seem to suffer the most pain out of everyone in life through their unwaivering determination and quest to document things for how they really are, regardless of how unpleasant they may be. Somehow I survived to tell the tale, but does my story need to be shared in a futile effort to hold those who caused me such pain accountable? Should I document the faceless names of those who discouraged me, told me that I would never amount to anything in life, and tried their best to suppress my already quiet and unassuming voice, or should I simply leave the past alone? Life is full of questions, the majority of which often never result with an easy answer.
The header image was created using Canva, and uses the font Trocchi. The images used here came from my personal collection, and originals are noted here, in order of their appearance. Visiting Day at Camp Chateaugay (Wilderness), Summer of 1993, Grade 8, October of 1993, Thomas Slatin & Harvey Slatin, 2003.