My counselor graciously read my awakening experience story. He wanted to know what events led up to my experience. Who was the Kendall up to that point? So I’ve decided to write about my life from birth, albeit a much more broad and zoomed out version of my life than I’ve talked about so far.
I was born in Houston in 1992. My parents were 22 and 21 and in college at the time. I was the firstborn of three sons. We moved to Lubbock the following year and that’s where I grew up. As a child I loved to have fun. I had a lot of energy. My Mom babysat and we would dig with spoons in the dirt, making tracks for our hotwheels. My brothers and I would ride our bikes around the neighborhood all the time without our shirts on. I always went around barefoot. I hated shoes.
I liked to play with legos and build castles and robots. I really loved the middle ages and would have pretend wars with my toy warriors. I also loved to read. In 2nd grade I read the chronicles of Narnia and didn’t look back. Fiction, especially fantasy captured my imagination and opened me up to worlds that I never knew were possible. I was homeschooled when I was young. Though I had a brother 2 years younger than me and one that was 6 years younger, I was lonely. Books helped a lot, but I wanted friends.
My parents were also very hard on me as the firstborn. They expected me to be a little adult, and behave well. While I loved having fun with the kids my Mom babysat, they also riled me up. My mom would give me a spanking, but that would only increase me being upset and I would often get two or three spankings. My dad’s spankings when he got home were the only ones that really scared me though.
I learned to watch my parents. I learned to watch for my Dad’s unpredictable anger. I never knew what was going to set him off and what I would do wrong next. I became very fearful and unconfident. But it was a complex life. My parents still very much loved me. My Dad and I would often wrestle when he got home. My mom patiently homeschooled me even as I could not sit still or focus. All of my physical needs were provided for and I had a community in extended family and church.
I also loved God. When I was 8 years old I felt close to God, but wanted to know him closer. I felt pure at that time and that it was a good safe time to be baptized. I read the Bible and prayed to God. Yet I also transferred my understanding of God from my understanding of my father. I thought I had to be a certain way to be worthy to have a relationship with him. I felt very ashamed when I sinned and thought I had to do a lot of penance to make up for it. I thought that a true relationship with God required reading the Bible, prayer, journaling, etc. every day. I would exhaust myself and then give up. I would go about my own ways for a while, but felt empty. I would then come back to God and try to live up to his standards. This was a vicious cycle that I repeated over and over.
In the next post I will talk about starting to go to private school in 4th grade.