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White line drawings on black background: Young girls reading in closet with small bookshelf, lamp, shoes, baseball glove and ball, and teddy bear to show Sharon as a weird kid hiding out to read.

Growing up, I was a weird kid.

I know this won’t come as a big surprise to a lot of people. I am still kind of an odd duck in many ways. But when I was younger, I was truly a weird child.

I was what my mother called “an old soul.” As a baby, I didn’t fret or cry much. Even wet or hungry, I tended to keep myself occupied and waited till people got around to tending to me, rather than screaming for my needs to be met.

Quiet and shy, I struggled to make friends with other kids. My Kindergarten teacher wrote on my report card, ‘Does not work and play well with others.’



There was a time when I was seven and my younger brother was not quite four. We were sitting at the dinner table and my brother suddenly piped up with, “When I grow up, I’m going to marry Sharon.”

Of course, everyone got a laugh out of it, but then my mother said, “You can’t do that.”

And my brother asked, “Why not?”

“Because,” she said, “you can’t marry your sister.  You have to marry someone who’s a stranger.”

And in all his glorious youth and innocence, my younger brother said. “Well, why can’t I marry Sharon, then? She’s strange.” All with a shrug and a straight face.

Kid you not. True story.



As I got older, I preferred the company of adults to that of children my age, but I mostly kept to myself. I spent most of my time reading, preferring to be swept away to other realms. I built a nest inside my closet with an old sleeping bag and dragged in a small lamp. I hid there, avoiding the world and my large, loud family.

Other things set me apart. I had cats that used to wait for me to come home from school and come running down the street to greet me and follow me home.

TBH—a few hundred years ago, I would likely have been accused of being a witch.



One time, I found myself in a dark mood. I must have been seven or eight. I can’t recall what set me off. I don’t think it was any one thing. Just a black aura that came over me. I pulled on an old black skirt, found a black shirt that belonged to my brother, and went out and shoved my feet into my father’s big black rubber boots. (Trying on Goth before it was a thing?)

I then proceeded to march around the block. Not just once, but several times. Stamping my dark displeasure onto the sidewalk. After a few rounds, I finally felt some sort of release. My chest opened up, my jaw relaxed, and I walked home. I slipped out of my father’s shoes, went to my room, and changed into play clothes. And that was that. No one ever said a word about it.



To this day, I have no idea what I was trying to accomplish. Perhaps I was trying to be visible. If so, it wasn’t very effective. No one seemed to notice.

Or, if they did, they didn’t find it especially eccentric. At least, not for me.

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