"Make peace with the past, so it wont disturb your present"
I've been thinking about this post for a few weeks now. Letting it knock around my brain and maybe turn into something worthwhile.
I wondered how this post would be received. But I really don't care. I'm pretty sure the only person who reads this is me and Matthew. So what the hell?
This really isn't meant to be a bitter post. Or a resentful or hateful one....But it probably will be....But really, it's.... Just honest....Or a calling out, if you will. I don't care if the intended people read this and I don't care if you like it.
It would be an understatement to say that middle school was "difficult" for me. It was 3 years of indescribable pain, loneliness and hopelessness. It was every bad made-for-tv-movie about bullying. I will always carry the mistrust. I will always have trouble making friends. I don't know if I even know how to have friends anymore.
If you went to middle school with me, make no mistake. This is about you. We were in girl scouts together, school plays together, and later, Confirmation Class! For the literal LOVE OF GOD! But I'll get to that later.
I don't even know how it began. One spring we were graduating from the 5th grade. The next fall, my best friend moved away and I knew...I just knew deep down that my life was over. I knew people left me alone because I knew her. I knew that protection would be gone. I cried and cried when she left because I knew I'd be alone.
But I was more than alone. I was alone, tortured and ignored.
What did I ever do to these kids. What the holy Hell did I ever do to you? These kids were everything I was not. Pretty, popular, athletic, smart. Was that it? Was my hair too short and my teeth too crooked? Was it my stutter? Why did those things matter then and did not matter in grade school?
But what did I ever do to you? You didn't even know I had NF. You just knew I was a freak.
What did I ever do to not only be ignored AND made fun of so badly I was on sleeping pills in the 6th grade? Where, even on them, I couldn't sleep for days.
To be taunted and stalked and harassed on such a daily basis that I'd hide in the resource room at lunch, because no one would let me sit with them. Nobody.
To be under so much stress that at 12 years old my blood pressure got so high I couldn't see straight.
The internet wasn't really a common thing back then, but if it was you'd probably all anonymously torture me there, too.
But what did I do to have my stuff stolen? My hair pulled so much that I cut it off, rather than try to look normal. To cry every day. To be terrified to walk home, because I worried that since you were all so bold to be cruel to me in school, that you'd be worse outside the halls.
I don't mean this to be bitter or angry. Just trying to be honest. I know this was roughly 17 years ago. I get that. But I want to make peace with all of this. I'm just so tired. So exhausted, you know? From being terrified of people. To have anxiety about social events. I'm tired of feeling this pain and hurt from something that happened so long ago. I want to let it all go. And to do that, I need to tell you all my past. Which kinda sucks; opening it all up again. Dredging up 17 years of anxiety and repressed memories of these people I'm now facebook friends with....But probably not for long. I'm so fucking sick of all of you.
Well, to be honest, I sort of hate you. I hate you for being in girl scouts with me, and then just......standing there, laughing with friends, saying scathing remarks about my hair, my teeth, my clothes, my spots, my stutter. Look, I get it that I wasn't the coolest person, but I guess I owe you thanks for pointing it out to me....Everyday.
Man. I remember my lowest point. I had this friend. This sweet girl who had the coolest hair. Tiny braids. I suppose she was catching a lot of shit for being friends with me. One day before class I sat down next to her and greeted her cheerfully.
She did not look up from her paper or her book or whatever she was doing. But she spat "I don't want to be friends with you anymore! Take the HINT!" My whole world, my whole universe shattered like glass before my eyes. My head spun. I was stunned and confused and hurt. I was utterly heartbroken. I felt abandoned. My very last friend in the world. I sputtered a meek "Okay" before taking a seat further in the back. Keeping my head down and my eyes averted, trying so hard not to attract attention and trying not to cry. I didn't understand.....but I did, you know? I was the biggest loser in our grade. Possibly our school. Truly the biggest loser. Why tarnish herself? The whitest white girl in the school hanging out with a pretty, smart, cool girl like her? It's funny. Thinking about it now, how clearly I remember the pain. Even though we made up during Nature's Classroom, it still hurt like hell. Why do these things still hurt almost two decades later? I was terrified of our relationship after that. So afraid to put a foot wrong.
I'm not saying I'm not without sin either. Angry, hurt, constantly humiliated, I did what any angry-hurt-humilated girl would do. I found a common target. Another few kids they were mean to also. Middle school is survival of the fittest. There was this one girl. We were best friends almost a decade earlier, in the early, early 1990's. But we grew up in different school districts and suddenly I see her in Middle school. I was over come with terror. We were best friends in Special Ed. Me because I had NF, and no one knew what to do with me. She for what I can only guess was severe learning disabilities. I was absolutely terrified. Terrified she'd seek me out and tell everyone we were BFFs...from Special Ed. Everyone knew she was in the extra help classes. And I was just so awful to her. First chance I had I pulled her aside and demanded she never tell ANYONE how we knew each other. I know you wont probably read this, but I know the last time we saw each other I told you how sorry I was. I'm just so sorry. I was cruel and hateful and scared and a mess. I took out my pain from others out on you and it was a shitty thing for me to do. I am just so ashamed and so sorry.
But there is another, more terrible story. There was a boy. And we shared a mutual hatred for each other. Why we hated each other so much I have no idea. But we loathed each other. He was nasty to me and I was nasty back. He was the only person I did not take shit from. I wanted nothing more than to see him expelled. God, I was awful to him. Everyone was. People called him terrible names. But I didn't hate him because he "Acted gay" or "Was gay" or anything related to that. Everyone else did, though. And I just added to the hate. For no reason. I had no reason to hate him, only that he hated me. And in Middle School, that is usually enough.
I'm so sorry I was cruel to you, too. It wasn't because you were gay, or black, or any other shallow reason. I was just alone and hurt. I was trying to deflect bullying away from me. It is so excuse. It is a cowardly one and a shameful one. But I was so sorry then, and I am so sorry now. I was the worst kind of bully and I am just so ashamed of it.
All of you have been friends since Kindergarten. I had to go to a different school district to get away from you. All of you. You are still friends. I will never have that. And yeah, if we're being honest, I do sort of resent you for it.
The only thing that kept me going in middle school and into high school was The Culinary Institute of America. I found out its existence in the 5th grade and made it my life goal to go there. I knew college was a paradise of oddballs and acceptance and friendship. Where it was okay to be a little weird. I'd be with peers who loved to bake and cook and learn about food as much as I did. It kept me going, it really did. When things got rough I'd close my eyes and picture myself at school, with a boyfriend who cooks. With friends at lunch. Learning how to make chocolates and pastries. It was my sanity and my peace.
I am internally grateful I did not have to go to school with you people. But at the same time I was annoyed I was sent to a Catholic school. Worse still, I had to go to confirmation class in the 10th grade. I was furious that I had to go to Catholic school with nuns who hated me. I was furious I was forced into Confirmation Class. When I protested, my faith wasn't even up for discussion. I was so angry. Forced into a religion I didn't know if I wanted to be apart of.
I had deep anxiety seeing three of the kids I used to go to school with. I hoped we were all a little older. A little nicer. The guys weren't outwardly mean to me, but they weren't exactly "civil" either.
My faith was never more shaken and my relationship to God was never more broken. Throughout Confirmation Class and High school I was confused and angry. Furious I had no choice in how or if I had a religion.
There's this line in the book Cut me Loose that seems to fit my feelings perfectly: "I think you can't really love God if you haven't turned your back on Him first"
It's so true and fitting. It took years to get me back to that place. But that isn't what this is about.
But while we're on the subject of high school.....The bullying stopped for the most part. Girls were still mean and catty to eachother in general. It was an all girl's school. That stuff was gonna happen. But there was this girl who I realized wasn't great when it was too late. It ruined my high school potential for friends. My freshman year, this girl and I did something awful. We online bullied a girl. I knew it was bad and I wasn't for it. I was in a new school and I really wanted to try and make friends and start fresh. But we did it anyway. God help me, we did it. Of course it was all over school. Girls hated me. And rightfully so. I think I've spent the time since then overcome with guilt. I'm so sorry and she knows how sorry I am. I want to spend the rest of my life making up for it.
I just want with this post to let go. To give it all up and just move on. I don't want this anymore. I'm just so damn tired. Tired of the fear of friends, tired of social anxiety. I feel like I've been carrying this for so long. I don't want to hate anymore. This wont make me like you more, or hate you less. I just want to let go of this blob of distrust and the burden of bullying. It sticks with you. It stays and festers. It never heals. It never scars. It's always an open wound. Always in the back of your mind. Never wanting to get too close or be yourself because you are a freak show. And if 100 students hated you and taunted and harassed you, who's to say they are wrong?
I'm putting this out there, because I'm done. I'm almost 30. I'm married. I own my car and have a job I really like with people who are so nice it actually makes me nervous sometimes. I'm done with this part of my life. I need to let it go of my past so I can have a normal present and a fullfilling future. I'm tired of my past. I'm tired of hating others and tired of hating myself for my wrongdoings. I'm tired of dwelling on my mistakes and the mistakes of others. Tired of wondering why. I just want to be normal. Close to normal as I can.
Be kind to each other. There's so much hate and pain already. Why add to it?