Monday Roundtable: Our Childhood Disobedience, Revisited

Kids! They’re such little rascals! And when we were kids, we were little rascals, too! In keeping with our Bad Behavior theme issue, we asked our staff writers and editors to share the things that always got them into trouble when they were growing up. (Spoiler alert: Some of us haven’t outgrown our childhood disobedience!)

Alaina, Staff Writer

I got in trouble for looking mean and not speaking to other adults a lot as a kid. Turns out, it was anxiety. And being told I looked mean for most of my childhood really fucked up my ability to say “no” as an adult, so you know, don’t tell your kids they’re mean unless they really are. ??‍♂️

Alexis, Staff Writer

Dissociating. Whenever I felt overwhelmed/too much yelling dangerous things felt like they were taking place, I’d like pretend I didn’t exist and you couldn’t see me/go like deep in myself until maybe I could come out? But the thing is, people *could* see me but I didn’t really register it, and so now it’s a running joke in my family. Like whenever someone doesn’t want to be seen, they’ll look off (like I used to out the window) when they don’t want to be noticed and everyone calls it “pulling a Lexi”.

On a less traumatic note, just leaving places. Like, I got in trouble for going to different classrooms as a kid and just like, not being where I was supposed to be. This is still a part of me cause it’s like the very small rebellious part of me that’s like “you can’t dictate who I am and where I put this body!” I still very much believe this so, it’s gonna keep happening.

Heather Hogan, Senior Editor

I hardly ever got into trouble when I was a kid because I was already a hundred years old when I was born and something inside me has always been urging me to Do The Right Thing. My friends called me No Fun Heather for my entire life (and sometimes they still do!).

The thing I did that drove my parents the most bananas, though, was question literally everything. I’m happy to do what people tell me to do if it makes sense to me why they’re asking me to do it. If not, though: Okay but like why does my room need to be clean? Why can’t I play outside in the rain? Why do I need to wear a dress to this thing? Why can’t I spend the night at my friend’s house? Why do I need to be home by 10:00? Why can’t I watch this movie? Why do we believe the Bible the infallible word of God? And, again, if the answer to “why” was logical, in my estimation, I was happy to drop it. If not, I was just going to keep on with my rational brain demanding rational explanations until somebody cracked. “Because I said so” and “Because I’m your parent/teacher/boss/pastor” are reasons that have always made me roll my eyeballs out of my head. (Because they’re not reasons!) (Exercise your authority with intellectual honesty!)

I also wandered off a lot on my own because… I wanted to be on my own. Playing with other kids was good and fine, but mostly I wanted to play by myself with my own imagination. And after that I wanted to play only with my best friend and my sister. I really did like other kids but I could only handle their constant noise and rude jokes and inability to talk about anything substantial or sit still for so long — after which I’d just sliiiiiiiiide off to some remote corner of the classroom or playground or, oh I don’t know, way the heck into the deep woods in the middle of a snowstorm for some peace and quiet and time with my own thoughts. My parents used to get furious at me for “getting lost,” but I always knew exactly where I was and why.

Anyway, all of these things are still true about me.

Erin Sullivan, Staff Writer

What’s very weird is that I got in trouble for being quiet at school???? More than one teacher seethed at the sight of me because I didn’t talk a lot? To them? I don’t know! One time a teacher slammed a box of books on my desk and demanded to know why I wouldn’t talk to her, which in looking back was a VERY weird and VERY inappropriate move. Uh, I’m 13 and you’re 40? The most I can figure is that with the unfortunate accessory of my less-than-welcoming resting facial expression, it read as me being smug. I’ve not grown out of my face or my being quiet when I don’t have a lot to say, so if either Mrs. Pace or Mrs. Braun still want to square up at me for this, send them my way.

Yvonne Marquez, Senior Editor

I rarely ever got in trouble at home or at school. I didn’t talk back to adults. I wasn’t a hyperactive child or talkative. I kept to myself and didn’t speak out of turn. I was a good kid! But I remember my family getting after me for two things the most: crying too much and slouching! I was and still am such a chillona so when I was little I was usually crying because I thought my cousins were being unfair when we were playing or I was being misunderstood. I felt too much and didn’t know how to articulate my feelings well enough for my family to understand. My aunts would get after me the most for crying too much and tell me that I needed to toughen up and life was hard so I needed to learn how to deal. I always felt weak for crying but it was like spontaneous combustion, just *poof* and the tears would be rolling down my face. My mom would always defend me and tell my aunts that I was just sensitive.

On the other hand, I would get in trouble with my mom all the time for my bad posture. “Yvonne, sit up!” was all I heard at the dinner table, in the car, at home, at church, just everywhere I went. My mom would kindly remind me to straighten up but after the 50th time, she would be like “you’re going to have a hunchback when you grow up!” I have terrible posture to this day. I blame my terrible self-esteem from all those years in the closet, being a woman, and my boobs.

Creatrix Tiara, Staff Writer

My EXISTENCE was a problem. Growing up Bangladeshi in Malaysia, I was under extra scrutiny to be a “good kid” — but when I WAS being a good kid, that was bad, because how dare a “dirty Bangla” be better than anyone else. I never got enough A’s for anyone’s satisfaction, but I also had a class teacher tell my classmates IN MY PRESENCE “Don’t let the Bangla kid do better than you in the exams.” At some point I just checked out — didn’t bother with homework, didn’t bother studying. What for? Exams are meaningless anyway, but if I’m just going to be punished no matter what why not just spend that energy on the sort of learning I like to do naturally?

This has lead to something of a lack of work ethic: mainly, I’ve not been convinced of the value of “hard work” because nine times out of ten it’s the stuff I whipped together in the last minute that has been more fruitful than the stuff I actually spent effort and energy on. I’m a fast worker, an effective one, but that somehow makes me “lazy.” It’s possibly not the most productive way to do things, but at the same time — why bother?

Molly Priddy, Staff Writer

As a kid, if I went a week without my mom warning me about my tone, it was a good streak. I was smart and anxious and empathetic and verbal, and all that mixed together growing up meant I had a lot of big feelings and opinions on them, but didn’t really know how to properly express those. I saw the world in a very black-and-white lens, and if I was right, I didn’t care about anything but proving that. My dad pulled me aside when I was about 11 to tell me I had to stop fighting with my mom, that she’s more of an emotional person who doesn’t use words the way I could, and that I needed to go easier on her because I’m making her cry. I realized it didn’t matter if I was right so much as if I could make a connection with someone to help get us on the same page, even if it’s not the one I initially wanted. I’ve gotten better at tact and context and appreciating the gray areas of life as I’ve grown up, but sometimes something will just really fuck with me and I’ll burn it to the ground with a viciousness that leaves me feeling breathless and also powerful and then I sort of regret it and know that I can’t live my life that way.

Rachel Kincaid, Managing Editor

Lying! Just constantly lying for no good reason. I wrote a whole essay about it, I did it for years and years. It wasn’t really lying to get out of trouble or for a purpose; I was otherwise alarmingly well-behaved, didn’t party or go out, had straight As, etc. But from the time I was very young I would make up pets, family members, bunk beds I was forced to share with my brother, the list goes on. Sometimes I would get away with it; other times it would somehow get back to my parents and I would be forced to awkwardly take it back or apologize, and explain to Christine that I did not in fact have my own horse, etc. It doesn’t really hold any appeal for me anymore, but the skill set of making up something convincing and intricate on the spot is a useful one; I have a thriving and fulfilling partnership with an imaginary boyfriend that I can describe in great detail to strange men on the street who ask if I’m single! We’re thinking of having kids and he’s going to propose soon!

Riese Bernard, CEO/Editor in Chief

As a very young lil bit in the world, I feel like I got in trouble A LOT but I can’t remember what I did wrong! I think I was often reprimanded for blowing bubbles in my milk, talking too much, talking back, getting my clothes dirty, being mean to my brother / making my brother star in elaborate short films and weird plays I put on in the living room, being shy (which came off as rude) around strangers and not wanting to wear a dress or brush my hair.

I think the most… um, revelatory story of me getting in trouble as a kid (which maybe I’ve told here before but I’m not sure!) was in 5th grade when I wrote an entire full-length play, cast it with members of my grade, and held rehearsals during recess, to lead up to a production I was organizing and staging and publicizing myself with the help of my friend Beth who was my Assistant Director. And my teacher called me to the front of the class after casting happened and yelled at me in front of the class for doing a thing that made some kids feel excluded. I started crying and my best friend Janelle, who was really pretty and also our teacher’s favorite, came up to the front of the class and just lightly scratched my back while I was getting yelled at. It made me cry more, that display of kindness, but I was glad she came up there and stood with me. I hadn’t wanted to make anyone feel excluded, I just wanted to put on a good show! I was a theater kid so I’d already been rejected for parts I wanted a million times, I thought it was a fact of life. Not like I’d endured my own rejections with anything resembling grace, but I generally assumed my reactions to things were overblown and everybody else was better at it than me.

I guess we worked it out somehow because I put on two plays that year? As a teenager I’d face similar persecution for my school-adjacent creative endeavours that the school wanted nothing to do with; including but not limited to a school newspaper that reported on what we perceived to be draconian disciplinary methods and an erotic literary magazine. Also in that same 5th grade class, everybody was collecting trolls and keeping them on their desks and giving them personalities, and I turned our collective troll collections into a mini-society with a government and media and a gossip magazine and a phone book, which eventually got way out of hand. Somehow troll-related drama led to a kid stabbing me in the arm with a pencil?

I was also constantly getting scolded for being too shy and withdrawn OR for being too social and speaking out of turn, which still checks out. 50% of situations make me unbearably socially anxious like I’m an insecure 7th grader and 50% of the time I won’t shut up and am saying inappropriate BUT FUNNY things nonstop. I remember “Marie is too social” was on a lot of my report cards.

Kayla Kumari Upadhyaya, Staff Writer

I did not break rules as a child. I was so adamant about everyone following all rules at all times that when my parents told my Norwegian cousins we could set off fireworks on New Year’s Eve, I pulled out a coloring book my third grade class had been given by the fire department that noted that setting off fireworks in our county was illegal and cried until they agreed not to do the fireworks. This is how I became known as the least fun cousin.

That being said, the one thing I used to get in trouble for both in school and at home was talking too much/too loudly. The one and only time I was reprimanded in elementary school was because I wasn’t using my “inside voice,” and I cried for about two days about it until my teacher finally apologized for yelling at me. I really did not like to break rules or get into trouble of any kind. And even though I’ve become a little more #chill over the years, that aversion toward breaking rules still follows me a bit. On my first date with my girlfriend, I got a little drunk and confessed to her that I’m a rule-follower which is, you know, a super cool thing to tell someone you’re trying to sleep with. Meanwhile, my mom still yells at me for talking too much at the dinner table smh. I have a lot to say!!!!!!

Laneia, Executive Editor

I was constantly in trouble for talking back to the adults in my family and for sulking when I was mad. Oh! And slamming doors! My mother’s favorite story to tell about me is that one day, after years of me slamming the door, she’d just had enough, so she had my stepdad come and take it off the damn hinges. No door, no slamming it. HER PROUDEST PARENTING MOMENT. For the record, I no longer slam doors and no one in my house has ever been permitted to slam a door and they’re all terrified of me thinking they did slam a door when they didn’t — like when a cross-breeze slams it shut, they’ll scramble to make sure that I know it wasn’t them! That was the wind! Sorry!!! You are forgiven, my child.

I will never grow out of talking back or sulking. These things are part of me like blood and bone ok. And I like to think I’ve put my talking-back skills to great use as an adult who enjoys proving points and getting the last word and being right.

This is the roundtable about defending your most obnoxious traits, correct? Great.

Alyssa Andrews, Cartoonist

I always got in trouble for silly little things. Growing up, I was more of a clown-type than anything. I was painfully sarcastic, and always finding excuses to take nothing seriously. I spent a lot of highschool in the Principal’s office as result. As an adult, I feel like I have outgrown a lot of the obnoxious clowning and become quite the rule follower, but I definitely have some of it left in me.

Carrie Wade, Staff Writer

The thing about my worst childhood behavior — being a little shit to my older sister — was that I rarely got in trouble for it to the degree I deserved. Which obviously makes it worse! But I guess I knew how to game the system at that age. I was simultaneously a prankster and a Good Kid who mortally feared punishment, so I’d push riiiiight up to the line of plausible deniability and get out unscathed way more often than I should have.

Those kinds of behaviors feel completely foreign to me now and I’m mortified that they ever happened in the first place. (Can confirm the Good Kid won.) So let me take this moment to say to her, and to all upstanding older siblings similarly roasted by their counterparts: I’m sorry, and you never deserved it. Thanks for being my friend now.

Cameron, Cartoonist

When I was younger, my older sister decided her favorite color was blue and that as such, I wasn’t allowed to have blue as my favorite color. I didn’t fight her, I just decided green was nice too. The same way that my sister claimed blue, she claimed trouble — not on purpose, but that’s how it shook out. 

I was a good kid. I kept to myself, I got good grades, I didn’t DO trouble. I had to call my dad to ask him what bad things I did to which he said, “I can’t think of anything big. You weren’t a problem child. We didn’t worry about you.”

The things I got in trouble for most were: 
1) Fighting with my sister (usually about sharing)
. 2) Tracking mud into the house. 
3) Bringing toads and newts and bugs anywhere near my mum. 4) Reading at the dinner table, and 5) Bringing the neighbor’s cat into the house, which I had my neighbor’s permission for but my mum’s explicit forbiddance.

It’s all pretty low-level kid stuff that I either don’t do anymore or don’t get in trouble for as an adult.

“But in school,” says my dad, “at parent-teacher conferences across the board, your teachers said that you’re too quiet and you don’t participate in discussions.”

Still true.

Vanessa Friedman, Community Editor

When I was a kid, I used to masturbate everywhere. Obviously as an adult I realize this is very much Not Okay, but as a kid you don’t know anything! I taught myself how to masturbate when I was really young – like 4? – but I didn’t really have a concept of how it related to sex at all, I just knew it felt really good and I wanted to feel good all the time. I must have known on some level that it wasn’t really something that was okay to do in public because I remember trying to be secretive about it but unfortunately I was not particularly good at being subtle, as it turned out. You’re shocked, I’m sure.

At that point in my young kiddo life masturbating basically involved humping a firm surface, and I am embarrassed to tell you that multiple elementary school teachers had to ask my mom to tell me to stop humping the rug/floor at story time. My mom also had to explain to me that I couldn’t masturbate in a public swimming pool using a pool noodle, in the living room of our home, or in the bathroom while I had friends over. I wasn’t trying to be bad – I was just obsessed with feeling good.

I would say the spirit of this behavior is still with me, in that I am very interested in getting what I want when I want it and I have no patience and a very high sex drive/desire to masturbate, but no, the literal behavior is not still a part of me because I’m not interested in making others around me feel intensely uncomfortable just so I can get off.

Carmen Phillips, Staff Writer

I guess… I talked too much? I was VERY chatty as a kid. I never, ever shut up. That’s probably the thing that got me in the most “trouble” with teachers.

Off the record (as in I wasn’t caught for this behavior) — I went through a random mean girl phase in the 4th grade? I was a very angry nine year old; I started puberty a bit earlier than the other girls in my class and my hormones were off the charts. At the same time, my grandmother was battling cancer and that took a major toll on my whole family. I’ve never connected it before now, but I think those two awful milestones lead me to take out my bad behavior out on the girls around me. Girls who (presumably) had grandmothers who weren’t filled up with tubes and getting sicker by the day. Girls whose bodies hadn’t yet betrayed them.

My war strategy was cold and calculating. A full on Regina George of my elementary school (with a teeny, tiny burn book)! I’d methodically plan out the exact meanest thing I could say to needle some poor kid’s insecurities, and then I would say it out loud! Or I’d write it down in this composition notebook I kept and then share it behind their back. A group of girls and I pooled our lunch money together and started a “secret club” where we would, like hoard the Little Debbie brownies from the cafeteria? Or something? To keep the treats from the other girls? I can’t quite remember. The details are fuzzy.

Looking back, I seriously regret that there was a phase in my life where pint size me could be so cruel, especially to other pint size girls. It feels so far and distant from who I grew up to be. I know I was in a lot of pain. People in pain who don’t have productive ways to heal, often cause pain in others. By 5th grade I had mostly moved on, and by the start of middle school I was a different person entirely. Still, sometimes I wish I could back to those other girls in my 4th grade and apologize. They really didn’t deserve the hurt that I caused. And now I can’t even remember their names!

Stef Schwartz, Vapid Fluff Editor

As a small child, my younger brother and I were determined to destroy each other – I’m talking Spy vs Spy level plots to take each other down. If you’d asked me, I would have told you that his birth had been designed as a personal insult to me, and that his only purposes in life were to intentionally get me into trouble or to take things I felt were rightfully mine. We fought constantly, from the time he started talking to… probably the day he got taller than me, and I’m pretty sure I was in college by then.

Both of my best friends also had little brothers, and while one of them also had a Ferguson-from-Clarissa-level antagonistic relationship with hers, the other seemed to actually like her brother??? In a healthy and normal way??? I was completely confused by that dynamic. How was it possible? As far as I could tell, we were natural enemies. I recall seeing an awful lot of self-help books about sibling rivalry and destructive children on my parents’ nightstands.

As an adult, honestly, my brother is fine. We couldn’t be more different (he’s the most straight laced 31-year-old little old man you’ve ever seen), but we are actually friends in a way that seemed inconceivable to us as children. This probably has a lot to do with us not living in the same house for 17 years.

I am still a wildly jealous nightmare person though, that’s real.

Valerie Anne, Staff Writer

The first two things that came to mind were getting in trouble in school for doodling and at home for staying up past my bedtime to read. Which is really all you need to know about me to know all you need to know about me. I still doodle in meetings at work, and now I’m usually staying up too late to watch another episode of TV vs another chapter of a book, so really the only thing that has changed is that there’s no one around to yell at me.

Before you go! Autostraddle runs on the reader support of our AF+ Members. If this article meant something to you today — if it informed you or made you smile or feel seen, will you consider joining AF and supporting the people who make this queer media site possible?

Join AF+!

the team

auto has written 722 articles for us.


  1. Being a loudmouth/bit of a drama queen is what always did me in. My parents were supportive of me expressing myself to a point, but I could go overboard sometimes and get overly emotional and loud sometimes and I was often told by teachers to dial it back a little because I was making WAY TOO BIG A DEAL, out of things.

    I always wanted to be in charge too, which was also acceptable up to a certain extent, but I definitely went a bit overboard at times and could throw a bit of a hissy fit if it was someone else’s turn to be in charge.

    My mom called me Sarah Bernhardt as a kid due to my constant dramatics.

    It actually took me until my 30s to learn how to keep my emotions in check in a healthy manner.

  2. I was very much a rule follower, because most of the time rules either made sense to me or at least didn’t interfere with whatever I wanted to do. HOWEVER, the two times I can remember being in serious trouble was when someone else – a boy, both times, did something I felt was egregiously unfair, and I physically did something about it. I slapped one boy in the face, and pushed the other to the ground pretty hard. Because what they had done that set me off was something grown-ups couldn’t see (the boy I slapped was telling all the girls on the bus they couldn’t sit in certain seats), but my response was visible to grown-ups who were otherwise not paying attention, I was the one who took the heat.

    • That’s kind of like bullying these days and also self defense stuff like when someone’s house is broken into; for whatever excuse (there’s no reason for it) the victim is also penalized for defending themselves even when there is evidence and knowledge of the harassment.

  3. I’m fascinated by how recognisable you all are from your photos – and also the way in which childhood traits translate or mutate. Riese that story of the play! Yvonne the literally holding things close to your chest and protecting them with your posture! It’s all so interesting.

    The trouble I got in was inevitably due to my astonishingly active imagination. For instance reading about Houdini as a tween, and greeting my mother’s friend as they looked in on me in my room with a “Could you tie me up some more, and tighter?”…

  4. I was a random childhood liar too! I think it was more of a way to see what I could get away with and as a creative outlet. I was otherwise a pretty hardcore rule follower, so long as I deemed the rules/authority opposing said rules to be worthy enough to follow.

    My most creative and longest-running lie was probably taking artistic liberty with my family tree for a 3rd grade class project. I wanted to stand out but my family story was pretty suburban white kid standard fare so I made up a very elaborate story about how my great-grandmother came to the US on the Titanic. 9-year-old me was heavily invested in all things Titanic for some reason so I had enough background knowledge to make the story convincing and no one bothered to really fact check me, pre-Internet world and all.

    • Was this in 1997? All the girls in my class made a big deal over Leonardo DiCaprio but I suspect they had no idea who he was before that time. I was confused by it so I went to watch the movie. I was still confused by it because who cares about Leo when you have Kate Winslet.

      • Haha, I was definitely more interested in Kate Winslet, even if I wouldn’t realize why until years later. No, this would have been circa 1994. I was just a weird kid who liked to tell strangers unsolicited history facts.

        • The attendance at the exhibition made years later shows that there are way more people interested in it than one might be inclined to believe. I bought the replica of the blanket and a piece of charcoal!!

          While your fascination with it might seem off the wall to you, sometimes a person’s love for certain things is enough to get more people interested in it. I found out Alcatraz exists because a kid in high school brought a book about the criminals there. I looked into it since it seemed so important.

  5. Ok, ya’ll were darling children and I want to bring back 80s-90s floral & fruit prints stat! ?

  6. Mini Riese looks like she’s about to get eaten by a tiger….which sounds like one of those stories parents made up

    “If you don’t behave the evil tiger will gobble you up”

  7. well rachel i just read the essay you linked and now i’m lying on the floor and overwhelmed.

    i love this roundtable

  8. I think it’s interesting/telling that the things people mostly got in trouble for were being too loud or talkative, or being too quiet and appearing antisocial… says a thing or two about the way non-boy children are socialized…

    All three of my siblings and I were always getting into intense physical altercations, and all of us got in trouble for fighting in school too (with each other and other kids). We have all worked through our various anger management problems as adults, and none of us get in trouble for fighting anymore, but there’s definitely an emotional intensity to our Family Issues(TM) that is reminiscent of our turbulent child selves.

  9. I was a rule-follower, except for a few notable instances of rule-breaking. Examples of rule-following included refusing to watch Brokeback Mountain at a sleepover when I was 14 (because it was rated R), turning in every single assignment on time in middle school to avoid getting a “consequnce tutorial” (aka forced study hall), and getting straight As throughout my entire academic career. Rule breaking included escaping from after care in 3rd grade with my best friend, checking out Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone from the library and reading it in secret when I was 6 (because it looked fun, but my parents thought it would be too scary), and getting suspended for participating in a prank in 8th grade. I also got in trouble for talking back to my parents and teachers, for being mean to my younger sib, and for slamming doors.

    • Hah. I read The Diary of Anne Frank in secret when I was like 9 – my mom didn’t want me to read it for the same reason, she thought it’d be too upsetting. I also secretly read Are You There God? It’s me, Margaret around the same age. And that’s the last time my mom tried to limit my reading. I guess she figured it was better to let me read whatever I wanted and come to her with the stuff that upset me.

      • Oh man I have so many “movie at the sleepover” debacle stories ? including many memories of phoning my mom so that she could look up movies on (a Christian movie review website) and make a determination on whether or not it was an appropriate movie for me to watch. ??

    • Was there any particular reason they wanted to watch Brokeback Mountain? That’s an odd choice for a sleepover.

      • We were theatre kids, and the girl hosting the sleepover was obsessed with gay boys/men. It is a weird choice, looking back. Because I was such a stick-in-the-mud about it, we watched Little Shop of Horrors instead.

    • I was so much a rule follower that I avoided things my parents didn’t want me to do even when they didn’t tell me. Like I found out that my mum had told my friend’s mum she didn’t want me to read Tiger Eyes (I think, is that the one with the sex?) and so I didn’t read it even though Mum never told me she didn’t want me to read it.

  10. Rachel! Your essay! I am having a lot of feelings about my dad now. He was similar to yours. IT’S A LOT. Anyway tho, your essay was just so very good!

  11. All of your little kid pictures are absolutely precious.

    I didn’t have many things that I would regularly get into trouble for (I had an extreme aversion to getting into trouble) but I DID get told off by my mom several times for wearing gray T-shirt’s too often.

    Also, when I was in Jr High/High School, I was often scolded for spending too much time in my “cave” (bedroom) and isolating myself. I’m sorry, where ELSE am I supposed to read my Harry Potter fan fiction???

  12. also i got in trouble for never finding things whenever my mom would send me to get something / burning rice on the stove / not defrosting food before my mom came home.
    i also was yelled at for not talking enough, mumbling, etc.

    also my weight seemed to always be something to “ADDRESS” cause i grew into a fat kid and fatness was like not something my family could deal with????

    • Aw man, I was always forgetting to defrost dinner until I heard the garage door start to open.

  13. I was a rule-follower. I was also a dreamy, creative kid and I would get in trouble for dawdling, not being ready on time, procrastinating and being off in my own world.

    I’m still pretty dreamy and I still struggle with procrastination and with the intense shame I feel about procrastinating.

  14. I was a rule follower to the extreme, and as the middle child I was always the peacemaker. My younger brother was very loud and aggressive and always biting other kids or getting in fights so I felt this burden to be the perfect child because in my mind that would cancel out his bad behavior and my mom wouldn’t leave us. Not sure where all that came from, but hey, kids pick up a lot of weird stuff. When I did get in trouble it was always for being “inflexible” which is turns out is just a fun word for “you’re bipolar with a touch of anxiety and ocd.” I had an obsession with being perfect and having my day go in a very specific way so whenever something derailed that I would become absolutely inconsolable. I ended up developing some kick ass coping skills that got me into my late 20s and mental healthcare.

    Oh and one time I attempted to strangle my brother in the basement while our pastor and his family were over for dinner. To this day I can’t remember why but I can still feel the rage and see the fear in his eyes! So don’t push quiet, good little girls too far.

    • I can relate to the trying to be better than a sibling. Even to this day, I facepalm at his poor decision making and can’t understand how he manages to get anywhere.

  15. I very seldom got into trouble as a child, because I was a Good Girl. There was a Bad Girl in me who had her own opinions of things, but she kept pretty quiet. I have now pretty much entirely adopted my Bad Girl opinions of the gender binary and am trying very very hard not to raise my own daughter with that whole Good Girl thing hanging over her head because ugh it screws you up but good.

    I remember thoroughly detesting my little brother when we were kids (most of the times I did get into trouble, it was for not being nice to him), but we are close now. Once we each realized the other was actually a decent human being, we compared notes and found out that each of us had thought there was something wrong with us for not liking our sibling, because our parents each liked _their_ siblings…My brother was super-supportive when I came out to him and now I think I am very lucky to have him.

  16. @Vanessa, see, I wasn’t going to mention that because the idea is STILL so taboo but since you did, hallo. We started early. I KNOW I was four and I remember what caused it (and why I kept doing it ✌) but I didn’t know Sex Is Evil so when I was caught, I’d get spanked in the rear. I didn’t do it in public though. People think I’m a prude when the truth is, I’m very particular about who I want seeing and chilling with my junk. As for other causes of chastisement and castigation:

    Resting Bitch Face, not doing homework, procrastinating in general, eating mostly Snickers ice cream bars when they were available at school, and apparently, I’m really good at insulting people. Finally, I blab a lot on the internet but in real life, I’m selective about what comes out of my mouth (unless it’s vomit in which case I have no choice. Even my body does what it wants.)

  17. Was born in the mid-80s and child of immigrants, so my mother and aunt must of have thought Chucky 1 & 2(the movie about the doll that kills) must have been a children’s movie. My aunt rented and let my cousin and I watch it. We were around 5-6 years old, I think & fucked me up for a few years. At night I was afraid to use the bathroom and instead would water the plants. My parents after the 2nd or 3rd time caught on to me and told me I can’t do it or they’d leave alone at home. I still did it, because I was worried that doll would fuck me up when I wasn’t looking. They didn’t do anything other than telling me it was wrong to water plants that way. I tried to look cool as a kid by telling others I saw that scary doll movie and it didn’t do anything to me(it did, especially after the 2nd one).

    • OMG. This is giving me sympathetic chills. Chucky terrified me when I saw it as a teen at some sleepover. Can’t imagine seeing it so young.

      • Yeah, I admitted years later that my bad behavior was due to fearing dolls sneaking up on me and attacking me. My mother apologized for not knowing better; but, I don’t fully blame them my parents were only in America 5-6 year at that time. I think to her and her sister it just sounded like a kids movie about a bad doll in the vein of cartoons from the 60s & 70s cartoons, like Tom & Jerry.

  18. I think I was most often in trouble for being a space cadet? I remember being on soccer team at age six or so and literally just sitting down to pick flowers in front of the goal. And I couldn’t just sit and listen to someone talk, I would be doodling on my paper or reading ahead in the book. I think some of it was just usual kid stuff and some was disassociation because of the Not Great things I had going on in my life. But aside from that, I was never a great rule-breaker and I’m still not.

  19. i just asked my mom and she said “well, you didn’t really get in trouble unless it was about reading when you shouldn’t have, but when your sister was born we had to tell you not to lick her”

    so! i still read all the time frequently in places i probably shouldn’t, but i can safely say i’ve not been tempted to lick my sibling in over fifteen years

  20. Oh my glord all y’all cute but (Al)aina’s picture is the cutest, I am melting.

    My “natural” smile looks like smirk, curious nature and headstrongedness does not lead to a natural follower or a kid that shuts up when told to be quiet and stop asking. Nor does it lead to a peaceful 14 months apart in age sibling situation, but to be fair I never broke any of his stuff just because it possible to break it.
    We were like Iberian lynx kittens, got to a certain age and there was a literal attempt to fight to the death instigated by one of us. Nature’s way of trying control the amount of predators or make sure only the most lethal survive? Who knows,just I know me and all my sibs are cut from the same obstinate AF cloth with killer instincts and if one of us wasn’t much older than the rest of us one would have been successfully murdered or a murderer.

    But at school my special ed-ness was the trouble every fucking time, for everything and anything.
    Did good? Must have cheated! Or special ed was a scam and that child must be disciplined.
    Did bad? Clearly wasn’t putting forth the effort or absolute proof I must have cheated on that other subject that takes entire different skill set
    Attempted to have my IEP respected? Well little girl they won’t accept this “learning disability” thing when you get to [Insert Next Level of Schooling, college included] so tough love for you! Or THAT’S CHEATING and must be disciplined lest the other monkeys run wild too.

    One of the diagnostic criteria for a learning disability is an intelligence vs performance score thing so…yeah.

    When teachers don’t respect or treat a child right, the other kids pick up on it like sharks smelling blood in water so any other inter-personal related problems I got in trouble for are also related to Special Ed.

    • Damned if you do, damned if you don’t. One of my younger siblings had problems but a lot of it was due to a teacher not qualified to be assisting with special Ed kids and the other is because putting people on meds is the order of the day. I honestly think these ladies should have been not teaching anymore because I have an almost ten year age gap and they were already old when I went to that school.

      • Educators need to stay updated because things DO change from when they got their accreditation, but we don’t even require that for doctors. >_>

        One of my teachers, the worst one in fact, was “qualified” to teach special ed but honest to god that racist old bitch hated all children and I believe on got a job as teacher because that was one of few reliable, stable jobs available for a woman back when she was a young woman. She “taught” with an iron fist it is better to be feared than loved way, reminded me of Disney Judge Frollo.

  21. Addendum: I was so quiet in school that I was put into a remedial class in…1st or 2nd grade maybe? My teacher thought I couldn’t read because I preferred to read silently and we “weren’t supposed to be doing that yet.”*

    Later I also got in trouble for writing too small? Which is basically writing too quietly. Nothing changes.

    * To be fair, since I wasn’t reading out loud, I wasn’t developing verbal skills on track and my sister was so annoyed (I had a slight speech impediment) that she stuck me a room with her TalkGirl onto which she recorded language exercises to correct my R’s, L’s, and W’s. It worked ¯\_(ツ)_/¯.

  22. Alexis- I’m pretty sure my girlfriend dissociates hard-core. I used to wonder what I should do when we were having a conversation. Snap my fingers, wait patiently for her to come back. Some mixture of the two?

    • Hey! I definitely would not suggest snapping your fingers, at least for me, it really made me self-conscious and dissociate even more/be a lot less obvious about it and sometimes unexpected noises can make it worse (though, if you can ask your girlfriend if this would help, that’d be better cause it could be different for her!). Waiting patiently would be good, for me it really helps when people talk to me in a calm voice, like asking questions about where we are so I can come back if I feel safe enough to, or giving an option of tabling the conversation maybe by going into like safer-feeling topics til you both can participate in conversation.

      • Hey! Thank you for your response. I want to apologize because I was sort of coming into this comment thinking that I relate… but actually I don’t. I guess in this scenario I relate to your family members instead.
        I don’t think I’ve ever literally snapped… although we’ve been together for awhile and it’s entirely possible I’ve forgotten. I definitely have said thinks like, “You were saying… ” and asked what I should do.
        It’s funny that you mention tabling topics because I just recently suggested that she could just tell me to table something and that seems really helpful actually. Thanks for the reminder to be more sensitive; I really enjoy and appreciate your voice here.

        • That definitely makes sense, and there is a learning curve with this really, so I’m just really happy you’re asking about it! I’m glad the tabling thing seems to help!

          Thank you for your comment, it made me smile!

    • Is it actual dissociation or just her mind wandering? If it’s the first, there are lots of good articles online about how to handle it when someone is dissociating. I’m fairly certain snapping your fingers in not on any list. :P

  23. 1. i was a biter & a fighter (but i kept it in the family)

    2. one time my english teacher emailed my mom because i was watercoloring / collage-making in class.

    like i had watercolors, brushes, scissors, magazines, and glue out. on my desk & the empty desk beside me. I’d asked for a fake bathroom break to fill a cup w water for the paints.

    i was 15

    my mom texted me within a minute of getting the email, and i turned to my teacher and asked her why she hadn’t said something to my face

    • “and i turned to my teacher and asked her why she hadn’t said something to my face” #thuglife

      • I once flipped the bird to a teacher in middle school, can I also be a badass? (It wasn’t actually an aggressive middle finger as much as a joke, but I just want to be cool.)

        On a more serious note: Teachers who can’t handle talking directly to kids about issues they have with them might want to rethink their careers…

  24. I called my mom cause I don’t recall many details of my childhood, and she said I was a great kid but not in a rule-following way. I was a challenger of authority and I had a lot of opinions (I do remember not standing for the pledge of allegiance cause I thought it was incorrect and also didn’t think it should say “god” in it, despite being raised in Catholic schools my whole life). But teachers respected me for this. I always believed I knew what was best and would go around the classroom telling everyone how to hold their pencils or this and that, and my kindergarten teacher wrote on my report card “If Camille spent half as much time worrying about herself as she did about others, she could go so far”. At home, I was equally as opinionated, and even more apt to speak out against what I felt was wrong or what I supposed I knew better. I used words to hurt others, especially my brother who was twice my size all my life, and fought against my words with his fists. My mom says I was a button pusher and knew exactly how to get to someone to hurt them, if I felt they deserved it. I remember my dad would get so angry with me because I constantly questioned his authority, why was he always allowed to chose the channel (paying for the tv never was an explanation. He is the ADULT, he chose to have me, Im not old enough to have a job, so of course you have to pay for the tv!!). He always wanted “because I say so” to shut me up, but it never did.

    All of these things are still extremely true to me. I don’t push others or use words to take others down, but if I need to, I know I can. I still question everything and every authority figure. I still annoy my family with my constant opinions and beliefs that I know best. I definitely still believe that I often can do things easier and better than my peers, but keep that mostly secret and don’t tell others how to do things. Instead, I just do most things on my own because it feels easier than tip-toeing around others feelings rather than tell them how they should be doing something. I’m constantly striving to be more and more like my kid self without apology.

  25. I recognize the constant questioning and needing a reason to do what people tell me A LOT. Through childhood and still. It drives some people crazy, but I think it’s just common sense. You don’t do something just because someone else tells you to. In fact, it can be dangerous to follow orders without questioning them. A lot of bad shit happened that way.

    I do think “because I’m your parent” can be valid though. My dad often tells my brother than while it can feel unfair that grown ups get to decide everything, that’s how it has to be when you’re too young to take care of yourself, and that makes some sense to me.

Comments are closed.