normalization of cultural conditioning

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Growing up, I had enough struggles to keep out of the way, to understand what was going on around me, and to navigate my own way through puberty in junior high and high school.  As it was for everyone else, it wasn’t easy for me.  I had no conversation with my parents about any of it because I did not feel comfortable talking with my parents or my father about anything.  Understanding came later with my father and it is still difficult to have any conversation with my mother.  Oddly, the one person I felt completely safe with, my grandmother, never brought up the subject and I never thought to ask.

I was different.  I read a lot of books and my socialability developed late, so I was shy and appeared withdrawn and awkward.  Where other boys were abusive and rude to teenage girls (which in retrospect is “normal” in this society of male conditioning), I made an effort to be kind, understanding, and as protective as I was able because that’s what I projected from childhood.  I am still that was in many aspects.  When boys stole purses to torment, I attempted to play along when they were playing catch and once I had the item, I returned it.

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