This blog is an extension of the diary writing I’ve done on and off ever since I was a young girl, but I’ve never shared what made me start in the first place.
I skipped a grade and this made me a little younger than the rest of my classmates. It never mattered to or seemed to even be noticed by the kids in my elementary class, back then it seemed like almost everyone was friends with everyone else.
When I got to Jr. High that all changed. My best friend went off to a private school and the rest us joined others from local area Elementary schools in one of the Jr. High Schools. I’d heard so many rumours about how scary the school was that even after orientation I was terrified to go there, it seemed so big and the older kids so grown up. I was 12, skinny, underdeveloped and painfully shy when I entered grade 8.
My former classmates went on to meet other kids and form new friendships but I just didn’t seem to have the ability to do so even with the nicer kids. I ended up hanging out with an overweight ex-classmate who was having her own challenges fitting in.
We would eat our lunches in the hallways of the school along with other outcasts and miscreants avoiding some of the meaner kids whenever possible. I found myself to be the target of teasing and bullying, strangely most often from the boys rather than the girls. I was invisible to most of the girls I think, the unkindest cuts from the girls was to act like I was subhuman and beneath contempt. At times school was a complete horror for me.
Then one day my friend decided she didn’t like something I did, or said, I was never clear exactly what I had done, but she decided to spread rumours about me to the other outcasts and I suddenly found myself the outcast of the outcasts. Nobody would have lunch with me nobody talked to me. I would go home, my mom would ask how school was, I’d tell her fine and went to my room. I didn’t sleep much, lived for weekends and dreaded Mondays.
My parents went through a major rough patch and when summer rolled around we travelled to Scotland where my Mum’s family lives with the possibility of making it a permanent move. I loved my family and my cousins were great friends to me but I just missed home. Eventually they worked things out and we moved back about a month into the school year. Now I was behind in school and feeling even more insecure. My English teacher informed me that the class was required to keep a journal to get into the practice of writing every day, he wouldn’t read it but we’d be required to turn it in for marking to show that we were ACTUALLY writing in the book.
At first it was difficult and then I found the feelings I’d been keeping inside pouring out onto the pages. Along with those feelings were the dark thoughts that had tripped through my head. I wondered to those pages if anyone would even notice I was gone if I were dead. I suppose the teacher meant what he said about not reading our entries but I’m guessing several words leaped off the page enough to concern him and I found myself held after class and discussing the content with him. I was terrified my parents would find out and I begged him not to say anything, that I wasn’t REALLY going to do anything to myself it was just writing and as far as I know that is as far as it went. I decided to keep two journals and went out and purchased another with my babysitting money, one that I turned in and one that I kept hidden in my room.
My journal gave me an non-judgmental “ear” to talk to and re-reading my entries would help to put my thoughts and feelings into perspective. Things always seem smaller when you look at them through the rear-view mirror. So by the time the second term rolled around I started to make conversation with some of the friendlier looking people in class and little by little I made new friends and with that started to get more courageous when people would pick on me. By the time I was heading to High School I had a new circle of friends, I had stopped dressing head to toe in black and came out of my shell.
High School was a completely different experience, I met my first boyfriend, my circle expanded with the addition of his friends and continued to grow outside of it. One thing I took with me though was the memory of how it felt to be the person outside a circle. I made a vow that I would never make someone feel the way I did. I always go out of my way to be friendly to people, whether it was new co-workers, people who work in the service industry or classmates in my University classes, wherever and I will be the first person to stick up for someone when I see them being treated badly. I mean really, what does it take to be a decent human being to another person? Not a lot.
There is so much judgment and intolerance in the world. When I read about kids who are bullied for whatever reason and harm themselves I feel so incredibly sad and as a parent it used to scare the shit out of me because I raised two nice, quiet sensitive boys and I knew what they may be in for. I talked about bullying from the minute they were in school, I kept the lines of communication open for ANY subject, nothing was taboo. They would confide in me and I would give them advice. My older son helped his brother by sharing his experiences but I’m guessing there was stuff they never shared with me either. School wasn’t always a picnic for either of them but they had their friends and they got through it okay.
Yes people talk about it more now, you aren’t told to suck it up like we used to be but even now with all the messages of “it gets better” I’m sure it is still hard to hear through all the other stuff going on in your head. But it does get better, you get stronger and the older you get the less you give a hot damn about the shallow things that people will judge you on.
These days my diary writing is in a more public forum and while I share a lot I don’t share everything in it anymore. I don’t have to for one thing, I have a wonderful partner in my Husband who has taken the place of that little diary and patiently listens to me while I prattle on about all the things that happen in my day. I think of this website as a time-capsule, something that will hopefully outlive me and give my kids and future grand-kids (assuming any of them care to read it that is!) a little insight into my life and maybe a few memories to look back on.