In 1975 I was the teacher’s pet at school. I got by on being charming and amiable. As well as I could remember, my life had always been like that. That summer my family moved from Arizona to Hawaii. I had solid pre-existing notions that everything would be the same or better. The opportunity to make new friends thrilled me and I started my third grade year that fall with optimism.
I don’t think there would have been any way to prepare me for the culture shock. The slightest disrespect derailed me. In the lunch room I decided to invite two boys to Sunday school. When I asked them if they knew where the Lahaina Methodist Church was, one of them asked me if I knew where my ass was. I was crying in less than a minute raising my hand for a room monitor. When I sobbed to her that these guys are teasing me she told me to finish my milk.
The new world was too different for my previously sheltered life. For the first year I had no friends. Most afternoons after school I played by myself in my room with toy cars. I created worlds and situations. At night I told myself stories with spaceships, castaway islands and any kind of escape from the real world.
And even after having best friends later on in life I continued to live with denial. Only recently attending a support group I started to step out of denial. But it’s like a warm bed on a cold morning and the world can be pretty cold most days.