Young Unrequited Love

Zach from The United States

My early childhood sexual experiences were immediate and powerful. All of my emotions came online in a very adult way all at once. In third grade I was totally devoid of any issues with the opposite sex, I was ignorant and everything was fine. Then, in fourth grade, I fell in love in a completely inappropriate adult way. Not like the

“I want to play doctor with you,” kind of way; but in the

“I want to have children with you,” way.

It was horrible. It was not even remotely appropriate. And it was all made worse by the fact that I tend to be radically honest about who I am. My parents taught me not to hide anything or hold back. So the idea of concealing thoughts and emotions from people was not really a skill that I learned.

Growing up I have always had a tendency towards narration and story telling. I love writing and I was known in my school for these amazing stories. As soon as this hormonal switch flipped inside of me, whenever we would do story modules in class, I would involve this poor girl in the stories and then I would read them in front of the class. I made this poor girl in my fourth grade class the object of this utterly unwanted affection, in an intensely public way. To make it even worse, she was a Japanese exchange student and had that amazing Japanese awkwardness of public humiliation.

I wouldn’t write penetrative sex scenes, not like Bodice Ripper stuff but I would have us making out and things like that. There was very explicit intent and it was very clear. It wasn’t like I used you in my story, it was I used you in my story. It was awful. It was so awful and I had no idea why this was wrong. I didn’t have any context or understanding of she doesn’t want this. All I knew was I had these immensely powerful feelings and urges washing over me and nowhere to put them and no coping skills to deal with them.

What really surprises me in all of this is that nobody ever took me aside and explained to me why this was wrong. They were just asleep at the wheel. I think they may have said things to me like,

“maybe you should try being a little bit more subtle about it,” but nobody ever sat me down and was like

“this is wrong and you shouldn’t do this.”

I had to come to that conclusion totally on my own.

Then, I did it again to another girl in the sixth grade. This was a thing for me, this is how my emotions were running. I fell in love twice in two years, it’s not that crazy but if your only romantic role-model is a John Hughes movie, you’re going to do a lot of fucked up things.

This time though, my parents were actively helping me. They knew exactly what was going on: total unrequited affection. I would tell them in detail what I wanted with this woman because again, no shame. I would have my mom wait with me in the car for her to come out of school so we could give her a ride home so she wouldn’t have to ride the bus. She would accept because the bus sucks but nobody was telling me that I was doing bad things. Except for all of my peers but fuck them, this was true love.childhood love

I was ostracized. It was not just in the context of this, my emotional state was going haywire in many different ways at this point. I was hyper smart and no chill about it. I was a really fat kid, I had a really awkward haircut and I made this decision that I was really into hip-hop culture. If you have any recollection of what hip-hop fashion looked like in the late 80’s or early 90’s, it’s not a good look at all. It’s especially not a good look on a suburban white kid with a bad haircut, backwards pants and matching jumpsuits and gold chains. It was terrible in every way, shape and form.

The initial reaction to these stories from my friends was,

“dudeee take it down, take it down,”

but then if you don’t take that hint right away, male adolescent peer pressure doesn’t take a particularly gentle form. When you are fucking up literally every social convention and you don’t immediately take the hint, the next hint comes in the form of you getting the shit kicked out of you. I was mercilessly mocked and physically picked on. I’m also a stubborn mother fucker so when they would hit me, it all became a point of pride. I was like

“Oh, you think the fifty of you can break me but you don’t know.”

I also had some anger issues, and I am a giant, which generally doesn’t mix well. In second grade, a kid cut me in line so I threw him into a locker and hurt him pretty bad, getting me kicked out of school for the day. My mom’s way of dealing with this was to take me home and tell me we were going to watch a movie, but it was going to be Gandhi. Her method totally worked, I became a committed pacifist at seven. So when my peers started picking on me, I elected to use passive resistance against them. I would stand there with my hands at my side defiantly getting punched, which didn’t work at all. It only instigated them to find better ways to get me to react, which only instigated more violence.

This was a pattern in my early emotional development. That to me was the emotional end of my early sexual life- it just totally ruined everything. It also really fucked up a lot of my relationships, not just with the girls but with my whole peer group in school because then you’re that kid. You’re that kid who does these weird things. In a lot of ways though, this whole thing helped me learn to dial it down. I also learned how to have more nuance and less full throttle emotional interactions with people.




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