I think of William Golding’s Lord of the Flies and the roles we play in tribes. I thought I’d be Simon in the tribe. Simon goes off alone. He’s prophetic and dreamy. I think Simon goes into a cave and when he comes out, the bad tribe thinks he’s a beast, and spears him to death. That’s me, I say. I’m misread, on the periphery, and subjected to being lambasted by people who are afraid of where I’m coming from.
But I looked honestly, and this is not easy, but I believe I would’ve been in the bad tribe.
I acted out as a child. While there was love and encouragement, we were raised by adolescents. My mom was 18 and my dad 22 when I was born. I also became very sick which devastated my school life. My mom taught me to read when I was three and I was in special progress classes but couldn’t concentrate after the illness. My parents might have done more if they knew better. They gave me a wonderful childhood however.
But I became rebellious, destructive and mean. I wanted to be bad, to test limits. I remember rounding up kids to leave school to go to Pathmark to steal candy. Our families had money to give us, but once I got kids together to beg for money in the street. Another time I lied about the teacher collecting money for something and stole from kids in my class. Tyrone found out, popped out from behind a car, punched me in the head and followed me home to tell my mother. This was all at around the age of eight, and there were other things I did. I also did mean things to kids that I’m embarrassed about. If I smoked cigarettes I would have been a bonafide street urchin.
After surgery for my illness when I was 12, I befriended the main stream kids. They put me in check and I became docile and unsure of myself — they were the majority. I couldn’t be the wild little pirate anymore. I knew instinctively that being with these girls was a cocoon of protection, even though I was on the periphery. I later became an alcoholic then recovered which helped me to grow as a person.
As an adult I’ve been sited on my job review for integrity. One manager said she thought that I was a class act. My mom calls me Saint Sandee. While my core personality from childhood exists — my curiosity about death and mystery of life and my blunt approach – those negative traits were mutable and transient, though that mischievous acting out may be manifested in my extreme views and sometimes severe criticism.
I just hope to continue to nurture that part of me that people gravitate to. I want to be tactful, sympathetic, loving, generous and forgiving. I guess now, this is why I relate to being Simon.
I was with a man who wanted me to have a baby — blegh! I wanted nothing to do with them. Today I referred to a kid as ‘it’. I had good reason — I didn’t know if it was a girl or a boy — so I had to ask the dad, “What is it?”
My sister has two boys, so now I like kids, and feel sympathetic to little parasitical beasts all around. But I’m glad I didn’t breed and still harbor a strong anti-procreational streak — what would planet earth do with my spawn? I’m narcissistic, nihilistic, and a nervous nelly — I’m not a physical specimen and not good at math — AND — I know nothing of building rocket ships. Perhaps though for some reason beyond me, the earth did need my spawn for some large part of the picture that doesn’t necessarily suit me and my ego. I say maybe it ‘did’ because it’s too late now. Having a kid now would be selfish and dangerous because I’m old. I’ll be fifty. Here’s a good reason why I shouldn’t — how I turned my nephew’s carefree day at the playground into the Lord of the Flies.
I want my nephews to be bully-proof alpha males. I want them to be in the good guy tribe from The Lord of the Flies, unafraid to stand up for what’s right, and while using their brains to fight battles, like the finest general, they will have valiant physical prowess — oh yeah — and the older one will be a neurosurgeon and the little one will be an astrophysicist. They will be extremely well-adjusted, have lots of fine friends and will be indebted to Auntie Sandor Sword-Chinned Bitch until the day she dies. That’s why when we went to the park, I chased behind my then 3 year old nephew to make sure no kids tried blocking his way to any one of the slides. I won’t get into specifics. I’ll just say that my sister told me, “No, Sandee, you can’t do that! They’re just kids.”
I watched the kids play as if watching war games. My nephew got into it with an older kid. The kid says during a break in their shoot ’em up game, “You don’t know anything about guns!” And check this out, my nephew screams, “YOU don’t know anything about guns!” He pointed vehemently, his whole body shook. He got the last word — yeah! When we got home I high-fived him about it, out of view from anyone who might judge me as an ass.
It was an exhausting day, trying to figure out where he’d fit in the tribe. Back home I wanted to cry. “Sandee — he was having a good time — calm down,” my sister says. Yeah? Doesn’t she know there’s politics in the playground?! Next time I’ll tell you about the horror of a kid’s birthday party.