It surprises me to say this, but you can forgive most things as a child.
Things happen to you, but at least you are innocent of causality. You are malleable, still forming; your bones, your psyche - you can be shaped to fit; bend without breaking. You might look back and wish things hadn’t happened but at the time they seem only different - not abnormal, because the baseline for normal has not yet been set. It is not until you are fully formed that events become T-intersections in your life.
As a child, things certainly happened that shaped me. As a child, I was raised in an environment of intense faith and yet, I was often confronted by its absence, or the antithesis-of. I grew into many things, and when the veil of childhood was swiftly and bleakly lifted, all burgeoning things became quite clear. It was a confronting, but not unwelcome experience.
I strode with these experiences, not always in acceptable directions (but from the books I read, often expected). If I had the time or inclination to explain my every outlandish hair colour, outfit, music choice and unsavoury action, I would - but as the tone of this sentence implied, I won’t, and I stand by that.
I will say things became rocky on the day my father decided to call the whole thing off, and that day kicked many things into clarity for me – including an instinct for trouble, talent for lying and ability to fake things you should not, such as intimacy, understanding and giving a sweet god-damn.
It was a big day.
I can also tell you that, in the years that followed, I gained a wonderfully bizarre mix of abandonment issues and hatred of human intimacy. They flourished gradually, but there was a definite period of cataclysm involved.
I remember a moment from those soon-after years, so simple and defining, that it sticks with me. To summarise a myriad of analogies, I suppose it is as good as any another.
Upon being invited to a movie with a group of friends, I dressed and waited by the door, only to find my mother waiting expectantly with me. Having then been given a list of reasons why she wasn’t invited, she turned to me and begged, “Don’t do this to me. You’re my best friend. I need you.”
I don’t remember the movie. I remember arriving very late. It was just after I had that bad perm. I think I was 11.