11 Schools, 14 Moves By 16

5 elementary schools
3 middle schools
2 high schools
8 states

After a while, I stopped making friends. Being a new boy at school was most challenging by late elementary school through middle school because that's when boys fight. I got kicked out of one middle school for fighting even though the school was ill-equipped to deal with bullying. I knew, after suffering severe bullying at one school (late ES) that if I let the bullies start up with me at the new school, it would never end. So I fought very quickly at subsequent new schools to set a precedent. Not that I'm tough. I only discovered that most people don't want to fight and if you hit them in the face first and don't stop, you win most fights.

As I mentioned above, I stopped making friends after a while. You know, the kinds of friends you go over to their house and stuff. By high school, I started making friends again but we were never that close because most people made close friendships by then. I don't have one friend from my childhood today or anyone I keep in contact with.

Moving a lot was made more challenging by my family's poverty. We weren't moving because my fathers job took us anywhere. We were homeless a few times, lived in extended stay motels twice, and otherwise lived in apartments, duplexes, and a couple single family homes. We moved because my father had mental and financial problems. I was also not a military-brat, so I lacked any sort of group identity. I wish I was a military-brat because military families are accommodated for their moves. Educations are not interrupted and you have other kids with whom to identify. I completely lacked that identity.

Education itself is difficult because when you go to one school, they have a curriculum program set up for their students. When moving to another school with a different education plan or testing, I was put in basic classes and worked my way up to AP course-work. When we moved, I had to work my way back up to AP classes all over again.

Athletics were another issue, especially by high school, because teams had been assembled. In baseball, my natural positions were third base, catcher, and pitcher. In HS, I generally was relegated to the outfield because those positions were taken. The same was true of football.

I did complete my undergraduate degree and am working on a graduate degree, so I can't say my education was completely ruined, but it was made far more challenging than necessary.

Consequences as an adult: Everyone is different and we are not made only by our experiences so I cannot claim that I would be a totally different adult today if I hadn't moved so much, but I notice differences between myself and others who did not move frequently.

Some things I've noticed: I don't have a large array of friends. I have many friendly acquaintances, however. I'm highly social. I can make friendly acquaintances in a grocery line very easily. I can identify with many different people very easily. I can put myself in the shoes of others. I can converse with people on many different subjects and actively listen.

I think the above is true because I met so many different people from so many different backgrounds over the years. I went to mostly black schools, I went to mostly white affluent schools, I went to mostly white poorer schools, I went to schools with significant numbers of Hispanics and Asians. That caused me to have an ability to talk to different people with diverse experiences and backgrounds and actively communicate.

Additionally, I enjoy my own company enough. I don't have a need for other people like people who had stable childhoods.

Also, as an adult, I've found myself very averse to moving. When I could help it, I stopped moving and have lived in the same house for longer than ever before by the age of 28. I still haven't moved.

Some of the downside of moving so much as a child is I have zero identity with any group. When I'm asked, "where are you from?", I have no answer so I've reverted to claiming my state of birth even though I haven't been to that state for 20 years. While I have many friendly acquaintances and a few very close friends, nobody has close to anything resembling my experience in life. I've lived urban, suburban, exurban and rural. I know of no on else with that kind of childhood background.

Also, I have a high degree of disdain for people who claim to have moved around a lot when they moved 3 times as children but several times as adults. Moves are hugely different for adults than children. I know because I've moved as an adult and it pales to a childhood move where you go to school with entirely different people and cliques powerfully form.

And 3 times as a child is nothing for me. I did that by the age of 4. If were are talking about different schools, I went to 3 different schools by grade 2.

I am married and that's a good thing, however, my wife has a greater need for communication than me. There are times I can go without talking for long periods of time which does not suit her. Then again, that may be the age-old male/female dichotomy at work. Women complain their husbands don't talk enough and men complain their wives won't stop talking all the time.

In the evolving analysis, I would have preferred to be a more stable child. I would have preferred to go to one school system with its education plan. I would have preferred to participate in athletics and not have to fight so hard for a spot on the team because the team's already been assembled. I would have preferred to have friends I knew for more than few months.

The other side is if I hadn't had such a tumultuous childhood, I'd lack the empathy I possess today. I'd likely be more cliquish. I'd probably look down at people more easily. I'd probably not be as friendly to people in line at the grocery.

But I do miss the identity others have. I do wish I had a greater connection to a place and community. I missed out on a lot of childhood joys because of the moves so I do wish I hadn't moved so much or not at all.

But then again I don't suffer from blind allegiance to my city's sports team. That may not even everything out, but it is something.
dvarum dvarum
31-35, M
Sep 11, 2012