(I was given “The Book of Myself,” a do-it-yourself autobiography in 201 questions, as a gift last year. I've decided to answer these prompts in a series of blog posts.)
THIS is how people described me as a child, and how I saw myself.
I know my siblings thought of me as a brat and probably spoiled. I was the youngest of four with an age gap of six and one-half years between me and the next youngest, and I'm sure they thought I got everything I wanted. Once, when iI was around five or six I went home to tell my mom that I had been called a bad word. I refused to say the bad word so my older sisters (11 and 8 years older) started guessing to no avail. Finally one said I was such a brat—yes, that’s the bad word I was called. I was also a jabber mouth. A neighborhood friend’s mother frequently asked me if I ever shut up.
I saw myself as a good friend and the champion of the underdog. Bullying has been going on for centuries. I couldn't stand for anyone to be laughed at or made fun of and I would go out of my way to become that person’s friend, inviting them to come over to play, spend the night, go to movies etc. I also did not like conflict and tried to avoid it at all cost. This included my mother’s angry and demeaning outbursts, usually aimed at my dad. I found I liked to go off with just my collie Honey for long walks to escape the conflicts at home.