As a newborn baby, I gained much more appreciation for being an actual person. In no way, shape, or form were babies to be considered people. I couldn't do anything on my own.
It wasn't even like I had memories of a past life yet, per se. I just knew that I could do more than sit and wait for someone to wipe my ass.
But I couldn't.
And it frustrated me beyond belief. If I tried to eat something, I wouldn't be able to chew properly; if I tried to move, I would only be able to wriggle around a bit before getting too tired to even think; if I tried to speak, it would come out in garbled noises that made absolutely no sense, even to me.
I had no true connection to my parents. They felt wrong to me somehow. My mother was alien, my father a stranger. They were at a loss for my distanced nature, suspecting I had some sort of mental problem.
For the first year of my life I had no clue who I was, only some foggy notion of wrongness, of not fitting in my body, my family, my life.
The second year of my life was slightly easier. I was allowed a little more autonomy, with my parents having to return to work, and leaving distant sitters to watch over me with unseeing eyes and uncaring actions.
However, the feeling of wrongness only grew. I felt more strongly than any child had a right to, I wanted more independence than anyone was willing to give. I certainly wasn't the picture perfect child people wanted me to be.
I grew ever more hateful of the situation.
And then I remembered.
At around age two, I was taken out for a walk in the park by my newest nanny (none ever seemed to want to stick around, for some reason).
She was fiddling with her nails, not paying attention to her surroundings, so I saw fit to wander away from her. It was her fault if something happened - after all, I was only two.
It was fun, exploring my surroundings. Everything was new, exciting, bright!
After about a half hour of walking, I saw a bunch of other kids around my age or slightly older huddled around a rock, poking something with sticks.
I trotted over, ready to make some friends. They were trying to nudge a beetle onto their sticks, laughing and squealing happily each time the bug moved a bit.
I tried to introduce myself. My childishly high voice quivered a bit as I stared down the group of children in front of me.
"Hewwo, my name ish Awashi Natshumi. What'we youw names?" I held out my hand, not knowing where I had learned to do so, or even to give that greeting.
They looked at me for a few seconds, then they all laughed, a slightly crueler tint to their joy than before.
"Dat giwl tawks funny!"
"She wooks weird!"
"Why she howding out hew hand wike dat!"
"Ewwww, giwls have cooties!"
The entire group (which contained a few girls, so I don't know why some of them were complaining about 'cooties') began to jeer all at once, their taunts and mean words making my eyes tear, despite not even knowing what some of them were talking about.
I didn't know what cooties were. I didn't know why people thought I talked strangely, or looked different. All I knew was that they didn't want to be my friend.
And without knowing it, that moment was what defined a huge portion of my life.
But that isn't why I remembered.
I remembered when I went back to the nanny. The nanny who, in the past month that I had known her, had never once looked directly at me. She was either constantly staring at her phone, texting friends, or avoiding eye contact with me by doing something else.
She was furious beyond belief. She started spitting words that I only understood moments later.
"You filthy foreign brat! You could've lost me my job! Fucking moronic kid!"
On and on, every insult that had been building inside her for the past month spurted out like someone had broken the nozzle on a faucet that was already running, instigated by a fear of losing the cushy new job she had looking after a kid that needed no supervision.
Finally, she raised her hand, bringing it down onto my soft, delicate cheek with a sneer on her perfectly painted lips.
I felt a sharp pain and warm liquid begin to run down my face.
And then everything went a bit fuzzy.
Faces and memories flooded into my mind, cramming themselves into the tiny space and latching onto me, giving me experiences and friends and family I had never known before.
I had the worst headache I had ever experienced in either lifetime. All I wanted to do was cry. So I did. I was two, what the hell did you expect?
The nanny, who I had almost forgotten was there, ignored my tears and dragged me behind her, stony faced and blank.
Once we reached the door to my abode, she grabbed my shoulders roughly looking straight into my eyes for the first time I had ever known her.
She looked a bit regretful, but also satisfied.
"Never, ever tell anyone what I did to you today, do you hear me?! And if I do or say anything else, well, that'll just be our little secret, right?" She said, sugary sweet, her hands tightening more and more until I nodded frantically, unable to do or say anything else.
She practically threw me into my playroom, leaving me on the floor to ponder.
For a few months afterward, she continued with similar erratic behavior, my parents not really noticing anything due to multiple business trips and being used to my quiet demeanor.
Then, they came home in the middle of one of her episodes.
I never really learned what happened after that, but there was a lot of screaming, and I know my parents were a lot more protective of me after that experience.
I never really trusted many adults after that experience, though.
The funny thing was, that even after I had remembered my previous life, it didn't affect me much. Sure, I missed my friends; sure, I missed my family. But I didn't expect to see anyone from a past life in this one. So, I didn't let the memories affect me much.
The problem was what unconsciously affected me, like my knowledge, intelligence, personality, etc.
As a child about to enter pre-school, three years old, I had a wealth of information stored into my brain – 18 years' worth of perfectionist tendencies and fairly fast processing ability.
As one can imagine, I had a lot of trouble fitting in, especially with my previous experience with children.
The kids at the park happened to be in my class, which was one of the worst things to ever happen in my second life.
I was a pre-chosen target, and an easy one at that. I didn't fit in, I was somehow weird looking and talked funnily. I was female. I didn't have anyone that I knew in my class.
All in all, I was the perfect victim.
For the next three years of my life in day care, I was tormented by those children. They hated me for some reason.
And every day that I still came in, never just giving up and deciding to stay home, they hated and relished my existence ever the more.
Kids are cruel. They love superiority, they love the feeling of euphoria that comes with adrenaline and power (not that adults or teens don't either). They know exactly how to make you hurt the most.
Every bit of self-confidence I may have obtained before going to pre-school was utterly destroyed, torn and smashed to pieces by the very children that should have been my allies.
I was miserable.