Of sharp-edged tin cans and misaligned stickers

Carla Delgado

It’s funny, the things we realize about ourselves when we look back on our earliest memories.

When I was around three years old, we had a tin can in the house. Actually, lots of them. They were from various canned goods. I don’t remember which brands because we always remove the paper wrapping before washing it and re-purposing it for something else. You can imagine how dangerous it would be in the hands of a child as the edges were very sharp and could very easily make a wound. That is exactly what my parents told me when they saw me playing with one – to stop playing with it or else I might accidentally cut myself.

I did put it down, but sometime later I eventually picked it up again and played with it. My parents were probably already satisfied that I put it down, but I still found where they put it away. I don’t know why I was so fascinated with it, but then again, do kids really need reasons why they like a toy? Everything was going well when suddenly, I accidentally cut myself.

I can imagine it probably hurt a lot. It was a tin can with a sharp edge, so I’m sure it really must have hurt. I knew this was exactly what my parents warned me about, so I stopped playing with the tin can and tried to hide the cut in my hand. No tears were shed. Unfortunately for me, my dad saw it (and I probably didn’t hide it that well) and he asked me about it. That’s only when I began to cry – when I got caught.

I look back at that story and realize that it illustrates the type of person that I am. I do make mistakes and try to hide it the best that I can, and other people knowing about those mistakes that make me feel disappointed with myself. It’s weird, yes, but that story has “me” written all over it. It then makes me think, is there anything else from my childhood that shows perfectly who I am as a person?

I am the type of person who wants everything to be organized. I keep a planner and some pages even have Post-Its on it. I make schedules and follow them strictly, and I hate being late to anything at all. I write very neatly, and when I was in elementary, I rewrote a whole day’s worth of notes just because I didn’t like it. I color inside the lines and I wrote “blue-to-blue” on my notepads. All of these do check out with another story from when I was a little kid.

I must have been four years old this time. I wasn’t going to school yet, but I was very excited for when I actually do. My parents were very supportive of me wanting to emulate my sister (who goes to school). They even got me my own bag, notebooks, notepad, and uniform even though I was just inside the house. I would amuse myself by pretending I was at school and writing down things in my notebooks like my life depended on it.

At that age, I absolutely loved stickers. I was OBSESSED with stickers. I had lots of stickers of different characters with different poses, different cartoons on different sticker booklets. That was one of the things that occupied my time. As a student (that wasn’t really a student), I love putting stickers on my notepad as if that was my homework. Whenever they weren’t in the lines, or they were not aligned with each other, I would always peel the sticker off and put it again properly. Can you imagine how difficult it was to remove stickers from paper and not from sticker booklets? It was a struggle! Yet, I persisted because I absolutely will not let those stickers be misaligned.

That’s very telling of who I am, I believe. Until now, I have the same qualities as I did before. There are more stories from my childhood days that reaffirm my behavior of the present time and day. Very rarely are stories that show otherwise. This leads me to believe that perhaps we don’t really change all that much. I guess the personalities and habits we develop in our formative years really stick with us. I mean, my sister’s pretty much the same with some of her habits from when she was a child. I find it so interesting to look back at my younger self with this much more experience.

I wonder what more I’ll discover about myself when I look back at this age many years from now…


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