In this era, I began to understand how complicated living seemed to be, and how people often say one thing yet do the opposite.
I started learning more about power, fear, the roles of men and women, and the difference between being middle-class and being poor. I also learned that animals and some special grown-ups will love you unconditionally.
I learned that there are different kinds of poor: the sick and angry poor, and the happy, optimistic poor. Some families have a positive, energetic core to them, and some seem to be exhausted and have multiple layers of crap happening to them.
I learned about the scary kinds of people that exist: sick loners, manipulative users of people, and straight-up pedophiles and abusers.
In spite of some nasty, scary or desperate lessons that life revealed, there was still sunshine, the beauty of young innocence and laughter, and the relieving joy of escapist imagination and fantasy play. I could be a soldier, or an athlete, or an architect or a hero, or a problem-solver.