I remember the first house I lived in. It was white with green shutters and chipped paint. The door was an off purple that, from a distance, appeared to be forest green, but, up close, was actually blue. I spent most of my time on its roof and in its back yard, collecting rollie pollies from underneath its porch.
I remember driving past that house for ten years and not knowing which it was.
I remember having my future planned out before I was five years old. I was going to adopt four children and raise them all as a single mother. My plans haven’t changed.
I remember spending recesses alone from the time I was in Pre-K until the time I was in 4th grade. I would lie on the cement near the school building while the other kids played on the swings, jungle gym, monkey bars, slides, court, and in the grassy field.
I remember eating lunch with my classmates but never talking to them.
I remember my first semi-crush being a boy named Corey Free. He had caramel-colored skin, thick glasses, beady dark brown eyes, and long toothpick-like legs. He was the only person I ever talked to from 1st to 2nd grade. I remember that on recess he wrote the words “I love you” in the sand. I asked him if he knew what that meant, and when he said yes, I told him he didn’t.
I remember never talking to him again.
I remember watching other kids play Double Dutch with their friends in the sun while I sat in the shade, writing about how much they sucked in Ekir, a language I made up.
I remember feeling like I didn’t belong here or anywhere.
I remember never being into guys but knowing that I wasn’t into girls.
I remember being told that people were no good; men were a waste of time, not to care about people who don’t care about me, to never let my guard down, and not to trust anyone.
I remember applying that to every relationship I had. I still do.
I remember praying to God to send me an angel who would understand and love me for me.
I remember crying myself to sleep almost every night until God sent me one.
I remember looking in my grandmother’s medicine cabinet and downing ten different types of over the counter. I took two of everything, three if it looked lethal. I swallowed them whole and before I knew it, I was out like light. I was eight.
I remember waking up the next day, realizing that I had slept through half of the day.
I remember trying eight more times when I was in elementary school and middle school and once in high school. I lost count.
I remember crying when I found out that I had failed the 4th grade. I felt like my heart had been cut out of my chest and crushed by my inability to be or do anything right. I remember promising myself that day that I would work so hard that I’d never fail at anything in school ever again. I haven’t since.
I remember slipping after nearly two years of sobriety without anyone’s help. I remember telling my best friend. I remember feeling betrayed when he told me that if I didn’t tell someone about it, he would. I remember feeling embarrassed and ashamed when I said, for the first time, that I needed help.
I remember pushing people away.
I remember wishing that I couldn’t remember anything.