I moved around quite a bit as a child. My dad worked in the banking industry and, back in the day, when you moved up it also meant that you moved on. I was born in Halifax, Nova Scotia and lived in Cape Breton for a bit until moving to Windsor, Nova Scotia. Dad then became a branch manager and we all moved to New Minas, Nova Scotia until I was in Grade 3. We then picked up and moved to Saint John, New Brunswick until I was in Grade 5. Then I
moved one last time to Amherst, Nova Scotia (population 9,000) when Grade 6 started (waaaaay back in 1983). It was here that my family finally set-up roots, dad opened up a pizza restaurant, and it became the place I called home for the next 15+ years.
It was also here that I began to make friends. We ended up moving (AGAIN!!!) from one part of town to the other about halfway through the school year, so I began to make friends all over again. I gotta be honest, though…I have very vague recollections of this time in my life. There’s one very vivid memory of a Christmas concert where I sang a solo in the school choir, but that’s another story for another time.
Thankfully, the next year was Grade 7: the first experience of a blended school. I got to hang out with the friends I met during the first half of the previous year and the second half of the previous year. I suppose this actually was to my benefit because I wasn’t starting from scratch.
Let me tell you a bit about myself at this point, though. I was a kid who was constantly showing off in school in an effort to get attention. This was due to a few reasons:
- I barely saw my dad as a kid because he was a workaholic. Our “family time” consisted of meals and television and the occasional vacation. That’s about it. So I was doing what I could to get attention somewhere from somebody.
- Because we moved around often, I was always having to make new friends. I found that being the “class clown” was the easiest way to make a few friends right out of the gate. But this also meant that I could very easily been seen as a little dickwad by those who didn’t share my sense of humour.
- I had undiagnosed ADHD (primary inattentive), so it was simply a reaction to my body not acting the way it should have.
I made a few really good friends over the next few years. Guys who I still consider best friends today even though we barely talk or see each other anymore. It sucks that we drifted apart, but that’s later in the story.
As high school came to a close, I can look back now and (thanks to the numerous video tapes I’ve seen over the past few years) see just how lucky I was to have any friends at all.
Seriously. I look back and see that I was just so damn desperate for attention and acceptance that I had a cocky, arrogant attitude about me. This was a façade, though, as I was probably the most insecure person in the entire school.
Horrible hair…big-ass glasses…a ridiculous sense of “fashion”…and vicious acne issues that earned me the nickname “Pizza Face” for awhile (thanks to that awesome family pizza restaurant…ugh). The insecurities only piled up due to (a) getting picked on and made fun of by those in school who felt as though they were “cool”, (b) constantly getting berated by my father for not ever being good enough or living up to his expectations (an issue that arose because of the ADHD, as I always had “so much potential” that I could never fulfill), and (c) never having a girlfriend throughout high school.
My first kiss was in sixth grade. My first make-out session was in seventh grade. I think I had a girlfriend for a week in eleventh grade. That was it until graduation. It made for a brutal high school experience on one hand, but I still had some fantastic friends that helped me get through each day. In fact, I ended up not only accepting the “pizza” nickname, but embracing it…even getting a “PIZZAH” license plate for my second car in my high school senior year.
It was in my senior year that I really cemented most of my friendships. I was still a goofy, nerdy, arrogant show-off, but my real friends either put up with it or saw through it. There was a good number of us who graduated being close friends…something I never thought would change or end.
I was wrong.