In this new chapter of my life I began to seek out a non-exclusive status. I would purposely skew my test results to get something lower than an A. I increased my bad behavior to match those around me. I loosened my top button and matched my dialect to those around me. I told the other geek in the chess club where to go and quit. I stopped playing any musical instrument and stopped participating in extra school events. All of that was easy compared to my desire to quit the enrichment class. I struggled and struggled and fought with the teachers and the principal about my continued participation. I tried reasoning with them and then I would refuse to go but they would come into the regular classroom and make a big scene until I did go. I even ended up with some of my friends mocking me, inferring that I wanted to be treated special by not going. Crazy. It finally took convincing my mom to come down to the school and raise a little hell. Eventually, I had my freedom, and I found myself sitting in the regular class once again.
A few weeks after finding freedom from my exclusionary ways, our teacher presented us with a creative writing assignment. I don’t remember what the assignment was, but what emerged from that assignment was a series of writings and drawings that lasted the next four years, in which I had convinced myself that I was an extra-terrestrial being called X15-QI. I see the irony in this now.
By the time that assignment had ended I had written several chapters of an origin story. The details of my existence through this extra-terrestrial state were vivid in my mind. It was like I was having constant flashbacks and it was all I could do but to write it down as quickly as it was coming to me. I remember sitting in class one day in grade ten, actually convincing myself that it was not possible that I was an alien being. Grade ten.
I believe what had happened to me in that class was a dissociative fugue – albeit a very creative one.
I say that because in all honesty, the amount of memories I have of sitting in a classroom are less than ten. That is less than ten times I remember sitting in a classroom in any of my schools, in any of the cities that I lived, in the twelve years of school that I participated with. Over the course of this story you will have been introduced to every single one of them. Something broke inside of me in this place. I was shattered into many pieces and it has taken many, many years to put back the pieces – to try and make sense out of my journey. This story is the first time that I can share the story as a whole. And it is hard. Very hard. It is hard because some of what I share I feel like I have experienced just this morning. Some other things I share is a result of others telling me what I did or said and that cannot be denied, although I have no memory of it myself.
My mind looks like a china doll that was shattered and is now put back together. However, you can still see the glued scars of the past trauma. I have physical scars on my body from past trauma – some I remember and others I don’t. I stare at the scars on my hand where I punched a window with my fist in order to escape my overturned vehicle and then work to free my girlfriend. I don’t have memories of that. I remember quite vividly the details leading up to that accident and then standing on the road when the first car that drove up was her mom. That I remember. But not the broken window. Not a big deal I suppose but when it is mixed together with many other blanks of time and conversations with people and periods in my life, then the full extent of the dissociation is felt and it saddens me.
I was broken. Everything had caught up to me in this northern city and I was now broken. I didn’t ask for the bullying to happen. I didn’t ask for the sexual abuse to happen. I didn’t ask for the academic exclusion to happen. But it did. And now, I was broken. All I wanted was companionship. Friendship. Intimacy. Inclusion. But now, alone, in this dark place my name really didn’t matter any longer, for that person had ceased to exist and X15-QI was born.