#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 4

To be honest, being invisible didn’t happen right away. It was something that came on slowly.

To be really honest, I had something to do with it too.

When I got to my new school at the end of first grade, I was still the same me. I got invited to sleepovers and had plenty of boys to hang out with at lunch and recess.

I remember needing to come home from one of the sleepovers because I didn’t want to be there. First, I felt like I didn’t belong. The other kids were playing games that I didn’t really like as much as they seemed to. Then, they wouldn’t go to sleep. A guy has to get his rest! So, I called my parents and asked them to pick me up. That started the boys asking me over less. I guess I could understand that.

As we got older, almost all of the boys got into sports: wrestling, football, soccer. I am not an athlete, at least not with contact sports.

If they played video games, it was sports games only. Or, games I wasn’t allowed to play.

No one had Legos. No one was into Star Wars. Not much anyway.

When I brought a book to school to read, they thought that was weird.

Then, they started to notice how different I was.

It became my goal in life to not be noticed.

Otherwise, I would hear: “Hey, Jack! What are you r-e-a-d-i-n-g?”

“Uh, Jack. Why do you always know the answers the teacher’s questions?”

“Jack-y, why don’t you play us a song on your trumpet.”

I needed to become invisible so they wouldn’t notice that I liked to do things they didn’t and that I wasn’t giving them up, just because the other guys didn’t like them.

In elementary school, I also started on medicine for my ADHD.

It wasn’t totally my choice, but it wasn’t my parent’s fault either.

My favorite teacher to this day, Mrs. Reece, saw how much trouble I was having in school. How I would break down over a simple spelling test. How horrible I thought writing was.

I hated school. I hated how loud it was in my head – with all of the songs and voices and ideas.

My mom tells me that I said at the start of winter break one year, “That was a great year, but I’m glad to be done with school.”

She had to break it to me that I had a whole second half to go when January started.

I wasn’t as mad at school on the medicine. It was much easier to get my work done.

But it helped me grow invisible because I didn’t talk as much. I felt dull, less creative. I just faded away.

26 thoughts on “#SOL18 – WIP Chapter 4

  1. This is such a great format for slicing-you always bring us along on a journey- but this year it’s not your journey. This has been so fun to read, I am anxious to get to the next day’s post. So insightful and real!

  2. I am loving reading a taste of this each day. Such great voice development!

    It’s sometimes pinching my heart, though. My own not-at-all- little middle schooler is ambitious in his pursuit of invisibility. Parenting both him and his sister has taught me a lot about executive function, and it’s always made me a much better teacher. I still sometimes wish they were lessons my babies and I could have avoided.

    I detect a LOT of authenticity in this developing story.

  3. Writing from your son’s perspective makes it so real. Chapter 4 is powerful. You show us how your son grows apart from his friends and how the medicine he takes impacts his personality. I hope you continue writing chapters. This idea of fading away – becoming invisible – reminds me of Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson. Could this be a children’s middle school novel?

  4. Love the authentic voice in this, Aileen. I think it would be a powerful book for young adults because of the insights it gives into Jack’s personality. I think it also shows the part other students have in making Jack who he is…a part they probably don’t know they had.

  5. Love this. Very authentic in your writing and it makes us want to read more. In this chapter Jack reminded me a bit of my own son. He’s only seven and in first grade but saw some similarities. Always good when we can relate or connect to a story, and I am really enjoying reading Jack’s. 🙂

  6. Ugh, poor, Jack. I just want to give him a hug!

    My husband tried medicine for his ADHD one time. He said that the medicine made him feel worse than what he was used to deal with in regards to his ADHD. I feel bad for those that have to go on medicine in order to improve their focus because I know the side effects sometimes outweigh the risks.

    Thank you for not being afraid to write about this.

  7. You certainly have taken us along on this journey with your son. It is such a powerful story. I look forward to reading the new chapters.

  8. Aileen,
    You make complex seem so easy. I love how you told us “To be honest, being invisible didn’t happen right away. It was something that came on slowly.” and then showed us as well!

  9. I love your authentic writing. Enjoyed finding out more about Jack’s journey. Kids would love reading this to realize they aren’t alone in their feelings and experiences. Keep the chapters coming!

  10. Wow – this is my first time reading your blog and I will continue to follow. I love that you are writing form your son’s perspective, providing a powerful look at what ADHD means, the good of the medication and the bad… My heart broke a little for the child who thought school was over for the year at winter break. I have a son who is already counting down the days, and we go to the end of June. Heartbreaking.

  11. This is so powerful. I’m jumping into the story late. I’ll have to go back to catch up. Teachers need to read this. Too often we focus on the wrong things with kids like Jack. He need to help kids like him to find the thing that makes them shine at school. To make connections.

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