Okay as part of my http://aspieside.com/series-on-bullying/ I promised to write about my previous struggles. But wow this is really hard to do. This story is not all warm and fuzzy but I promise it has a happy ending but I guess you can figure that out since I otherwise I would not be writing this post right now.
My childhood was not exactly a happy one. My home life was good, my parents were not Ozzy and Harriet or whatever the gold standard is but it certainly wasn’t bad or anything. No, my issues were after I walked out of the house every day. I am actually really grateful for not having facebook back then because I would have been cyber bullied for sure.
I remember when it all started and I remember who started it. I was in first grade and when I got on the bus I accidently kicked or stepped on some girls foot. I said I was sorry but clearly she viewed me as an easy target. Well as we all know once the target is on your back it just all goes down hill.
At school people made fun of my last name, lucky me it rhymed with B.O., and there were all kinds of other wonderful sayings they came up with. Every day I was told that I was ugly, stupid, had cooties, all kinds of horrible things and that was just in elementary school.
I would go home and cry every night. My parents would try to help but nothing I tried worked. My dad said ignore them and I would. Then they would get in my face and scream “Didn’t you hear me? You really are stupid!’ He told me to laugh at them. Epic fail because then they said I was stupid for not knowing they were making fun of me.
In middle school it got even worse. I was one of the first people to hit puberty and those kids were terrible. I can’t even repeat some of the things that were said but being the only one with acne and starting to develop is not a good thing when you were already the target. Now a days it would be considered sexual harassment but we didn’t have such terms back then.
There are lots of moments I remember but the more people involved the worse the humiliation is. I remember in 6th grade we had to take some math test for a contest and the top 5 scorers were recognized at the end of the year assembly. I will never forget the whole school reacting in shock and disbelief when they called my name. It should have been a moment of pride but it wasn’t exactly. Part of me thought “HA!” but part of me was humiliated because there was such an overwhelming response. I guess it could have been worse but it felt pretty bad at the time.
During this time I felt that I didn’t fit in and I hated school. I felt scared and confused and didn’t know where to turn for help. I had suicidal thoughts but I never told anyone. Instead I found the group that would accept me and found my own “medication”. Yes I obviously survived this journey but I can never let my son walk this road. It is a very scary and dangerous road and I lost some very good friends a long the way.
I think back on those kids and they were far too young to die. One of my closest friends overdosed in the creek by my house. He had always told me he wasn’t going to make it to 18 and unfortunately he was right. He knew he might die but he accepted it because he couldn’t see a bright future for himself. Drug use is really just another form of suicide I suppose. That is so terribly sad. I truly know how blessed I am that my life took a different turn.
Believe it or not rejection actually saved me. One day they told me I didn’t belong. I was so upset, how could they turn on me too? But luckily I listened to what they had to say. They told me I deserved better. They said they didn’t have a future but I did. They told me I was smart and came from a good family and had opportunities they would never have. They told me I was different and I had so much more to lose. I often wonder what happened to some of them. I have found some old friends on facebook and they too have turned their lives around.
I slowly rebuilt my life after my latest rejection. I went on to college and no one there really new me. It was the clean break that I really needed. I was very shy and had difficulty making friends but I made friends. I wasn’t friends with everyone but no one ever made fun of me. As I gained friends and did well in school I gained some confidence in myself.
I did pretty well after college and even returned for another four years of law school. I remember someone I hung out with looked at me and said something along the lines of “Isn’t this weird, I was always the kid that was made fun of in school and now it is totally different.” That was exactly how I felt! I was actually class president and had to give a speech at commencement. Talk about a big turn around!
Although life has gone relatively well since school I still have emotional scars from what they did to me. Someone recently posted on twitter about how they wish they saw in the mirror the self image they had of themselves. I am sure they meant from when they were 20. Not me, I have a horrible image of what I look like and am still sometimes surprised by what I see in the mirror. Not ugly.
There is still a part of me that thinks I am stupid although evidence and logic says I am not stupid. From the treatment in the past I still have doubts about my abilities. Writing this blog has been a huge step for me.
But honestly now that I am older I care a little less about what people think. I am just me, like me or don’t, I have more important things to worry about.