I was a big fat liar as a kid. Well, maybe minus the fat because I was stick thin. I have this habit of making elaborate stories just to get me out of trouble. I once told my teacher my mom lost both of her legs because I didn’t want to join the talent show.
Some would also say I was a very tenacious kid. I love asking questions that adults seem to have zero answers for. The teacher would present us with a Math problem, you know the ones where there are 3 people who would get a ridiculous amount of candy and then you have to either add, subtract, multiply or divide them. I’d be that kid who will question the logic of the Math problem. I would say things like, “There is no way Pedro’s parents would allow him to buy 30 candy canes!”, than doing the actual Math.
I enjoyed being the funny kid. One of the first laughs that I remember is doing an impression of the town drunk. I grew up in a very poor part of Manila. Our neighborhood is a mish-mash of ex-convicts, gamblers, drug pushers, rowdy housewives and the like. It was a fun neighborhood but not all the safest for a developing 4-year-old. There was a town drunk who has huge cobra tattoos in his belly and chest. I remember doing an impression of him once that cracked my friends up. Then again in front of bingo playing adults. Then again during dinner. I did it again and again until it got stale and I proceeded to do impressions of other people.
I had a kleptomaniac phase. I don’t even go for the big ones. I just take whatever it is I think I can get away with. So as an adult I am very mindful of my things when there are kids around.
I had no real talents to speak of as a kid (even as an adult). Some considered me smart because I used big words like quotidian, auspicious, delectable etc. I used obscure phrases like elbow grease, birds eye view and long winded in my essays. Maybe I should also explain that English is not my first language, so for a 1st grader, this is quite a feat.
I loved to run. For miles and miles and miles. I was so stick thin that I felt like if I run fast enough the wind would blow me away. We didn’t have bikes growing up but I used to borrow our neighbors. I taught myself how to ride a bike because my parents were not around when I was growing up. I once biked down a hill only to find out the brakes are not working. I was going downhill too fast and I am just a shirt distance away from colliding on a parked truck. With a Hail Mary attempt, I swerved the bike, making a hard right, but the bike was too heavy for my skinny body that I just fell over sideways. The momentum was too fast that it made me slid all the way under the truck. When I finally stopped, I opened my eyes thinking I was dead. I checked my body for bruises and when I realized I had none I started to cry from extreme happiness and relief. I went home feeling super bad ass that during dinner I declared, “I don’t need no vegetables!”
I used to have a book that I should have probably called “My Death Note”. I knew I wanted to be a writer of fiction as a kid. I read Sleeping Beauty and thought of how poor and defenseless Aurora was, considering she has 3 magical Godmothers. I hated it so much, I wrote my own version of the story where Aurora absorbed all of her Godmother’s powers and she punished Malificent herself. I kept a notebook where I would write down ideas for characters that I would later write a story for. Problem was I’d get bored with the character and kill them off in the most brutal way possible. I’m pretty sure this is all normal 8-year-old behavior.
I was a very shy kid. Very passive. I hated rule breaking so when I do, I know I must have a good cover story. I study hard but not too hard. I learned how to set the proper expectations to my parents, knowing that if I did too well they’ll always expect the same result every time and ain’t nobody got time for that.
I was an avid reader. I used to memorize the capitals of countries because I thought it’s what grown ups ask each other. My favorite actor was (and still) Jim Carrey (because of The Mask).My favorite actress was Michelle Pfeifier (because of Catwoman, obvs). I saw myself in characters like Bettlejuice (Betelgeuse), Morticia and Wednesday Addams, Rogue from X-Men, Michelle Tanner from Full House or most probably any character that wants to break free from something.
I had a very good upbringing as a kid which included fear and corporal punishment. Don’t worry, I’m very well adjusted.
I remember very few things about certain events of my childhood. Maybe because I blacked so many things out. But what I do remember is that I’m pretty much the same story weaving, rule following, anxious and shy kid that I used to be. That thought is very comforting. I love kid me.
What was your childhood like? How would your parents punish any rule breaking? Do you also think that Michael Keaton is the best Batman?