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Friday, November 14, 2014

Tales of a Second Grade Fabricator

All right, so I have made a decision about the future of this blog.  I have decided that beginning now (well, minus the Advent Calendar that I have planned next month), I will focus less on pop culture topics and will put more focus on my thoughts, opinions, and views on a variety of topics.

And, well...if I am feeling brave, I may just share some personal secrets about myself that until now, I have kept private.  But, only if I am feeling brave.  I am not quite there just yet.

I have also made the decision to try and keep my blogs to a minimum.  Sometimes I can be quite verbal, and that can be fine in some cases.  But for people with short attention spans, I get that some of you are probably annoyed by my tendency to drag things on and on and on.

Well, kind of like I am doing now.

So, I promise.  The blog entries will be as precise as possible.

And, as it turns out, I think I have the perfect topic to talk about. 

You know, they say that an online blog can be similar to a journal or diary.  It is a place where you can share your most personal feelings and thoughts, and try to make sense of where things are in life.  Well, okay, so my blog is a lot more...shall we say...public than the average diary, but regardless, it has really helped me come to terms with who I really am, and I love having a space where I can have a voice without being silenced.  Believe me, with the way things are lately, trying to find that voice has not been easy.  So, I appreciate the fact that I have a forum where I can at least share my thoughts.

But, I didn't always feel this way.  In fact, there was a time in which I thought journal writing was one of the most pointless things ever.

I know.  Shocking, isn't it?

Well, back when I was in elementary school - particularly in the first and second grades - we were given a notebook that we would use to record an entry in a journal.  Now, this project would be a year long effort, so given that our notebooks were only 32 pages long, we would go through at least four books - possibly five.

Now, given that we were in grade one and two at the time, our journal entries were a little bit different than a typical journal.  Our journals combined words and pictures.  I know that in first grade, our teacher would go around with a pen and write the text part for us until we learned how to write cursive, but in second grade, we were expected to write our own words.  The pictures were drawn by us, and we would use pencils, crayons, magic markers, or even ink stamps if they were available.

It wasn't anything real fancy.  You just had to write about something that happened to you that day, and draw a picture about it. 

And I absolutely hated it.  For a multitude of reasons.

For one, journal time was also known as the "I can't spell anything, so let's go line up at the fat kid's desk in the corner because he can spell anything!"

Note:  I was that fat kid at the corner desk.  And, yes, after a while, telling kids how to spell words with more than five letters in them grew to be a frustrating experience - especially since none of those kids wanted anything to do with you after you gave them what they wanted.  If only I had charged them a nickel for every letter they wanted spelled...

Oh, and there was also the fact that when I was in grade one and two, my art skills were basically...well...non-existent.  Oh, sure I could draw naked stick people and dogs that looked like "the blob that ate Ohio"...but that was about it.  The kids in the class seemed to have better artistic skills than I did, and it definitely showed.  I only wish that I had kept some of my old grade one journals to show you, but I got rid of that "evidence" years ago.  Thankfully, my art skills and handwriting improved (though thanks to my grade one teacher, I hate writing in cursive).

But, in all honesty, the main reason why I hated writing in my journal was because I didn't really have anything to write about.  Most of the kids wrote about going to friends houses, or winning the blue ribbon in a sports competition, or other fun things that kids did back when they were seven. 

You want to know what my journal entries were all about?  Watching television, staying inside to play games by myself, and basically entertaining myself because there were no kids that lived in my neighbourhood.  Not exactly the most exciting things to write about, wouldn't you say?

I honestly have no idea if I have ever shared this with anyone before...but I may as well share it again.  My biggest confession regarding my journal entries in grade one and two is that 75% of them were total fabrications.

I made them all up.

And, admittedly, the reason why I did it seems so stupid now.  But I made up stories so that I wouldn't have a blank page in my journal book and I made them up so that I could pretend that I was having the same experiences as my peers.  I told some stories too.  I moved to three different houses even though we never did.  I played with kids in the playground even though they didn't know that I was playing with them at the time.  I did all sorts of cool things at home even though I really didn't.  It wasn't as if the teachers provided background checks or anything, so it wasn't like I had to prove that I really played volleyball with Corey, Michael, Jonathan, and Jason in the middle of the school playground the afternoon of May 11, 1988.

I always felt as though I was committing fraud whenever the teachers would hand back our journals, and I would always get stickers saying "Good Job", "Awesome", or "You're Terrific" stuck on the pages filled with lies and half-truths.  Oh, sure, I did a great job illustrating these sweet little lies, but who was I kidding?  I wasn't active, popular, or a member of Fleetwood Mac.  I was just a kid who lived a sedentary lifestyle and didn't bother playing with other kids out of a fear of rejection.  Just because my journal was an exciting (but fictional) read didn't mean that my life was all that exciting.  It was anything but.

That said now...I suppose that making up all those journal entries did help me do one thing.  Sure, I lied like Pinocchio in my journal.  But I also showed that I could be quite the storyteller, and I suppose having to come up with a new journal entry each day helped me awaken my creative side.

(But, just so we're clear.  This story is 100% the truth.  I promise.)

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