i was in south korea, in elementary school. at the end of every term, the school would have a field day; various competitions between the classes. i don't remember the details of the race but i ran the wrong way.
i don't know why i did, but i ran the wrong way. the school lot was made of dirt and there were tiny little flags outlining this track and that, this field and that....i guess i got confused. i don't know if we were ahead or behind but there was no one else on the track....but i ran my ass off and i was so focused on that supposed finish line, i didn't realize what i was doing. i get to (i think) the finish line and i was met by my teacher with a verbal tirade punctuated by slap after slap.
i don't know how many times he hit me but i remember being hit to the ground, picking myself up, coughing out the dust in my lungs, and wiping the tears from my eyes. imagine that, a grown man in his 50s launching into a child of five. and he demanded that i run it again, properly. so i ran again. and i ran the wrong course, again. and again, in front of the entire faculty, students, and parents, i was met with yelling and backhands. so i ran it again, correctly this time, and collapsed to my knees, my mind and face blank and swollen with trauma, my body shuddering with shame and fatigue.
although i've remembered that day before, i've never actually thought about its consequences. i died that day....any sense of self worth, confidence, self-anything, died.
my fear of success, fear of the unknown, fear of a challenge, it all stems from that one moment. these fears made me believe i would fail in almost everything that i attempted; relationships, school, and simply SEEING reality. i've been afraid to study, to pull through for others and myself, to meet deadlines, practice an instrument, etc., because at the finish, i was afraid i would have made a mistake and someone would backhand me and tell me i'm worthless.
i was severly punished for doing what i thought was right. so, why do anything right and good for myself if there's a chance i'm going to be punished? i made a mistake and i was punished. so why even bother with taking a chance? why trust myself to do anything right? why do anything at all? just stay put, go to work, come home, and disappear.
but that's some mighty fine bullshit. if i truly believed that i would do the world a favor and knock myself off; one less useless human being. but i am not him. i've finally recognized and forgiven my five year old for messing up that day. i was just a baby....cute and soft. it's time for him to smile again and grow up to fill this shell of a man.
come on, let's go play.