The Boy with Two Brains

Brain PainMy Real Memoir

Many of my memoir posts have had a Tom Sawyer-ish tone, provoking “Oh, you had such an idyllic childhood!” responses. But in the last couple of months, there’ve been darker entries. In the past two weeks, I spoke of a tragic incident and a near-death experience that resulted in a terrifying phobia. And before that I wrote about a recurring nightmare that continued into my early adult years.

What changed?

In a word: puberty. Not that all of the joy drained out of my world when my hormones kicked in. It’s just that my world became more layered, more complicated. I’d always lived in my head (still do), but when puberty struck, I moved from simply feeling and thinking to feeling and thinking about feeling and thinking. I no longer simply asked what the world thought I should do, I began asking what I thought I should do.

An incident that stirred up a ravishing hornet’s nest of feelings occurred when I was leaving my buddy Rory’s house. A fence made up of redwood slats separated his yard from the neighbor’s. I caught a glimpse of light between the slats, so I moved closer and peered through. The pretty twenty-something-year-old lady who lived next door had just stepped out of the shower.

It was my first lesson in female anatomy. And much more. It was the blossoming of desires I didn’t even know I had. I fought with the voice in my head, shouting, “Shame on you! It’s wrong for you to look!” But I’m admiring her! I told it. Granted, she might not have liked knowing an eleven-year-old boy was watching as she shaved her legs and powdered her body. But if she didn’t know, what harm was there? What should I do?

I stayed.

I felt guilty afterward. And giddy. And a dozen other things. As with the death of my friend’s dog, my own near-death experience, and my recurring nightmares, I was trying to process thoughts and feeling I’d never experienced before—and trying to process them on my own. Why? Because my teachers, society, and even my parents couldn’t tell me what to do. I needed to decide for myself.

At puberty, science tells us, the two main chambers (cerebrum) of human brains switch from working in unison to carrying on an ongoing “conversation” with one another. And as a result, puberty isn’t just a physical transformation, it’s a moral one. Theologians call it “the age of accountability,” the age at which we begin asking ourselves what we should do.

So what did I think?

I thought it was wonderful.

And awful.

And everything in between.

And the only thing I knew for certain was…

I would never be the same again.

My Real Memoir is a series. To read the next one, click here.

About mitchteemley

Writer, Filmmaker, Humorist, Thinker-about-stuffer
This entry was posted in For Pastors and Teachers, Humor, Memoir and tagged , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

39 Responses to The Boy with Two Brains

  1. Pingback: My Phobia | Mitch Teemley

  2. ejstoo says:

    speaks volumes for curtains in a bathroom 😉 Also curtains in the bedrooms. Good reminder 😉 Now there seems far fewer boundaries. Maybe we could focus on appropriate training and training in what is appropriate to splash all over Twitter.

    Liked by 4 people

  3. cigarman501 says:

    Love this…the writing, not puberty. Thank you!

    Liked by 3 people

  4. cindy knoke says:

    How fascinating Mitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Well written, honest essay, as always, Mitch; tho ironic how (your words —>) “teachers, society, and even my parents couldn’t tell me what to do.” Perhaps, at the time, the groanups [sic] in your life had yet to fully figure out the various stages / phases of the human condition? Maybe such an evaluation even remains true (of all of us) in the here and now? Our salvation is the ability to maintain an open to learning mind; right up till our Earthly departure; and, naturally, beyond that space/time, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. A bit like a song from the ’60s. Or was it the ’70s? So true, Mitch!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Thank God humans only need to experience puberty once.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. revruss1220 says:

    Mitch… you should really start charging folks to read these memoirs. But I don’t honestly know how you would because they are PRICELESS! I can SOOOO relate to this one! Memories like this elevate my respect for 7th and 8th grade teachers higher than they already are. Our parents had it tough enough, trying to corral our exploding brains and emotions, but think of trying to wrangle an entire classroom full of similar two-brained kids.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Nice and wise writen 🕊️

    Liked by 1 person

  10. pkadams says:

    As the mother of five boys, posts like these make my heart ache. I know they are going through things that they don’t share or ask for help to deal with and all I can do is pray for them. Growing up is so complicated.

    Liked by 2 people

  11. So honest but with so much porn available girls and boys at a very young age are exposed to more than a David and Bathsheba experience. Society is playing catch up to know how to teach respect love and lust.

    Liked by 3 people

  12. capost2k says:

    For all the info for girls getting ready to experience their first menstruation, I have never read or heard of anything addressing a guy’s first ejaculation of semen. That was traumatic as I knew God was judging me for my impure thoughts and had allowed me to “break something.”

    Liked by 2 people

  13. rwfrohlich says:

    So THAT”S what was happening back then. Wondered why I was dazed and confused.

    Liked by 2 people

  14. Badfinger (Max) says:

    What is that saying? Too old to be a child but to young to be a man. That is the most confusing time in a young mans life.
    Now with the internet many grow up way too fast and many things go wrong because of it.

    Liked by 2 people

  15. I had never heard that the chambers of the brain start to part ways at puberty. I guess that explains the arguments I’ve had with myself most of my life. 🙄

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Never be the same again….yeppers!!

    Liked by 2 people

  17. murisopsis says:

    I saw the cerebral disconnect happen to both my sons… fortunately they managed to pull it together and survived with few scars and no criminal record!!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Thotaramani says:

    Yeah! What we think we should do. You know when sit in meditation by closing eyes for few minutes, we get so many ideas.

    Liked by 1 person

  19. Sleep Tree says:

    Thanks for sharing. A handy insight for a mum of now teen boy!

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Ann Coleman says:

    Puberty is such a confusing time, it’s a wonder any of us survived it!

    Liked by 2 people

  21. Ahh! The Age of Accountability! Yes! Everything changes then. We become piercingly in need of a Savior, though completely unaware and largely at a loss.

    Liked by 1 person

  22. Dear Mitch

    Many thanks for your post. Honest and true. But then where would we be if boys thought girls were undesirable? And vice versa. No more children perhaps?

    Of course in the the beginning they ‘were naked and not afraid’. Life is very strange. But then it is the unusual that makes us stare when we haven’t seen it for the first time, like the photos of some of the weird and wonderful buildings you posted.

    If there were lots of naked women and one little rare brown winged bird, which would we men stare at I wonder?

    Kind regards

    Baldmichael Theresoluteprotector’sson

    Liked by 1 person

  23. Pingback: The Year I Began to Figure Out Who I Was | Mitch Teemley

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