Playgrounds & police officers

A long time ago, when I was probably 5-6 years old, my family & I were visiting my grandparents in Charlotte. My grandpa, my dad, my brother, & I went to this park to help combat boredom.

Here’s an important detail you need to know: my brother (SA) is 5 years older than me & at the time, I idolized him. I craved his attention, his approval, & his love. I wanted to hang out with him & be like him. No matter how many times he rejected me, I always came back to him.

So SA & I went up to the playground. He went up the monkey bars or something & I was basically in his shadow. He quickly got annoyed with me & told me to go somewhere else. Normally, I wouldn’t have. I would’ve stayed with him & ignored his desires. I probably would’ve played in the sandbox or something but stayed “with him.” I’m not sure what made this time differently but I had had enough. I was fed up with his rejection. I was his sister, dammit! I just wanted some time to play with my big brother. That’s why we were at the park! Why was that such a terrible request?

And so I left.

I walked off & went to a neighboring playground. It was the same park but there was considerable distance between the two. I found some other kids & played with them. I quickly put my brother’s rudeness out of my mind & enjoyed myself on the slides. I wasn’t playing too long when a police officer came up to me right when I was about to go down the slides again.

“Are you SC?”

I just stared at him. Half-scared that he knew my name & unsure of what to do. Do I reply? But he’s a stranger & I’m not supposed to talk to strangers. But he’s a cop. I should answer cops, right? Umm…what the fuck do I do?

I decided to continue to stare at him in silence, frozen in fear.

“Okay. Come on down the slide & come with me.”

I quickly obeyed. Stranger or not, I decided it was best to follow him.

He & another cop walked me over to my dad & grandpa. They were relieved to see me. “OMG, honey! Don’t do that again! Why did you leave SA? We were so scared!” My brother didn’t seem to notice my disappearance.

At an early age, I learned my brother can do no wrong in their eyes so I decided to take a moment before I answered. I could say “because he wouldn’t play with me” but that would get spun around to being my fault somehow. Like, “Well, you should learn to play by yourself,” even though that’s all I did, or “He’s older & a boy,” as if age & gender are relevant in any other friendship. In that quick moment, I chose a white lie.

“I wanted to play over there,” pointing to the playground.

Yes, it’s true that I wanted to but that was only after I was pushed aside. Everyone was satisfied with my answer. Dad & Grandpa talked to the officers & I stood there glaring at SA. I don’t remember my brother rejecting me that hard (maybe once or twice) after that particular event.

Little memories like these pop in my mind as crucial turning points in my life. This is the first strong memory I had where I had enough rejection. Even at a young age, I decided I was gonna go my own way & make my own happiness.

Fast forward 30 years & I’m still pioneering my own path, searching for my own happiness. 🙂

 

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