Wednesday, October 5, 2011

The House That Built Me

It was a little two bedroom house on a quiet street. It was wood and painted red. It was surrounded by good neighbors, camellia bushes, bamboo and other kids my age.

It was the house that I lived in between elementary school and seventh grade.

It was where I got scraped knees and a baby brother. It is where I got my period for the first time and where I finally had my own bed. It is where I learned to play the flute and study. It's where I built a fort hidden underneath the palm tree and the bamboo. It is where I collected camellia blossoms for my mother and sister. It is where I learned that I could sing and where I learned to shave my legs.

It's where I learned about the birds and bees, and watched kittens and puppies be born. It's where I got my Shadow cat on my 8th birthday.

This house is just another small house in our smallish town, but to me it represents the time between innocence and awareness, childhood and puberty. In this house, things that I had only slightly questioned before became clear.

It was in this house that I realized that "doing it" meant sex (something that had always been a rather vague mystery in the past). It's where I realized that school work was something that I would have to deal with on my own. It's where I realized that there were times to lie ("No, my parents are not home. No, I cannot take a message") and times to tell the truth ("I shaved my legs because I am in sixth grade and the teasing is relentless, and I don't need anything else that sets me apart from these mean girls").

It's where I learned that the abuses in my own home were not as hard to deal with as the abuses that could be dealt by really mean girls in middle school. The girls that I was just friends with a few months before.

It's where I developed a quick wit and a sharp tongue. It's where I started building walls to keep others from getting too close. It's where I learned to protect myself, my heart, from the ones that sought to break me.

And it was where I realized that the little black boy that walked me home everyday was not as bad as my father made him seem. That just like me, he was just trying to survive being a poor kid in a rich kid's school.

This house was the between, between being a child and becoming a teenager, between the me that played with dolls and the me that loved to write.

And, although I have lived in many other places over the years, this was truly the house that built me.

In response to the NaBloPoMo prompt: List two things (however close or far) that your childhood home is between.

1 comment:

  1. What a beautiful, bittersweet walk down memory lane!


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