I was looking at people I once knew as my every day. People I went to school with as a young child. It’s easy to do today with Facebook and such to stumble upon them at some point.
I still remember starting a new school (grade 2) after my biological mother died and hoping to be accepted there.
My first experience is crouching at my locker to put things in and one of the boys (S) kicking me as I fell face first in my locker.
And there started my painful experience in grade school. The boy was made to apologize, but my fate was sealed. I was out. He was considered the funny clown who made the odd new girl kiss the back of her locker.
I then spent years living inside myself after this first experience.
I found myself looking at people on Facebook the other night and came across a few I had frequented grade school with and instantly felt like that awkward little girl again.
It’s funny how almost 40 years can still make you feel the very same as the first moment you felt it.
I came from an uncertain place to suddenly be dropped into a place where I did not fit in. It started out badly and as a child with no tools to help me get over it and move forward, I placed myself in that position of the outcast.
I did it.
And then fueled it.
I put my nose in the books and when grade 4 became over burdened with too students in the class, they put some of us in grade 5 doing the grade 4 stuff. Talk about more segregation. Some of us did the grade 5 curriculum as well and skipped a grade. So I moved to grade 6.
After that things got even better. Not.
I remember getting an early eighties haircut from the father of one of the students who went to the school with me (M) and him telling me I was wearing a new wave punk hairdo (no doubt trying to make me feel better about myself) and in my stupidity I went back to school and announced that I had this new punk hairdo thinking that would get me in, which only did the exact opposite for me in the end. No fault of the poor man who tried to make me feel better about myself.
One girl (K) slapped me at one point because she said she hated my face. She was told that was wrong as well but the teacher at the time (Mrs. S.-L.) made an example of me because she kept pointing me out in class when she talked about my hair being in my eyes, further pointing me out as the outcast. Every chance she got, she would point out something that disturbed her about my appearance. This would be harassment today and bullying, but things were very different back then.
I took up as one part of a triangle of friends (R & M) that ended up being very painful for me. I needed attention badly, but ended up begging for it most of the time (even making up stories at times to feel important and in the spotlight), since they were so much into each other and I was there only to be the their audience. Something I realized happened whenever they were in each others presence. I was never made to feel as if I really mattered to these people, only when the other was not available did I get a glimpse at a meaningful relationship because they had no choice but be left with me.
When my mother separated from my father for an eight month period, any friends I had near home and at school deserted me and said they no longer wanted to be my friends. When asked years later why, they could not even remember the reason?
Only one friend stayed my friend over that period of time. Nicole. If I never said thank you for this. I am saying it now. Thank you for your friendship when no one would dare come near me. You probably saved my life and for that reason, you will always have a place in my heart.
During that period of time, I guess I was deemed a pariah to society since I had lost both mothers at that point (one dead and other gone – for good reasons – but still gone) and that would have been fine, but 2 girls (L & S) on the bus I was on with decided to terrorize me every day for weeks in that period. One would sit behind me and the other in front of me calling me names through the bus ride and pulling my hair. All I could do is just look out the window and try to keep my wits about me.
By the time my mother returned, I was suddenly accepted back with everyone, at least the harassment ended (maybe it was my interesting clothes choices at the time; I was pretty creative with a father who didn’t care what I wore and no money to buy anything new that was in).
I left 6th grade and then in a couple of years and a chipped tooth later (only got fixed 4 years later because we didn’t have the money for it) I finally went to high school.
I started high school, a survivor from both a rough childhood and then later grade school at 13 years old, but still had a hard time finding my place. I ended up seriously depressed in grade 9 and even having my father asking if I was doing drugs. If he only knew how close I was to offing myself, but again, it was different days back then as well with Reagan’s war on drugs and such.
I eventually found some awesome friends and met my husband later on in High School and for that reason alone, my entire school experience was not a complete wash.
All this to say, as I looked at some pictures of these people last night, all those very sad emotions came back to me and I was right there again.
First emotion was one of a child and how much I thought to myself that I hated all these people. Even the ones who didn’t actually do anything but were witnesses to my being harassed or laughed when it happened. I hated them all.
But after that initial 7 year old reaction, I quickly shook that off and although some of these people have spoken to me during the course of my adult life. A chance encounter here and there, I have been careful to avoid them, more to be able to deny these memories and their existence.
As I looked back on all of this last night, I started putting these things in perspective.
I didn’t fit in because I don’t fit in. I never have and I’m so grateful that I don’t. I would never want to fit in because that means I look like everyone else.
I think the boy who initially kicked me felt bad about it later, since he was not that popular himself when it all died down (he was short with ears that stuck out), but he was there to begin my journey that I was meant to have. The one that got me here.
The mob mentality of everyone who dropped me at the hardest time in my life taught me who I could depend on. It’s really less people than you think when the chips are down. And it made me look for the people who would support me as an adult. I have surrounded myself with the very best quality people. People who I know would be there if I needed them regardless of the situation. People who worry less about what others think and more about love and support.
From that awful grade 6 teacher, I can say that I learned that even a bad teacher in life can teach you something. She taught me that I should always treat originals with compassion, because these people think outside the box and those are the people who make things happen in this world.
From the harassers in my life, they showed me how beautiful bodies can be overshadowed with ugly personalities, teaching me never to judge a book by the cover, ever. And they taught me that I am so much stronger than I thought I was.
I am on a path now that has me going in wonderful new directions that even I don’t know what might be around the corner waiting for me.
I mourn the years of self-doubt but am so grateful for the person I have become. I am the little girl who suffered abuse as I have written about in previous posts. I have suffered bullying and harassment. I have been the black sheep and the odd man out.
I am still here. And stronger than ever.
I would not trade or exchange places with anyone at this point to avoid these things because all through these years, I think I knew somehow someway, I would be who I am today. And that person is awesome. I’m not talking about an ego trip here, I’m talking about love.
Yes I am awesome. And so are you! No matter what lessons show up in your life to try to make you believe otherwise? All you have to do is believe in yourself and all those teachers will soon take their place in history as having been there to make you as awesome as you were meant to be!
You can remember your pain! Just remember who it made and how it made you. And smile. Life is good. And you are an original, beautiful and special. Always.
Here comes the sun!