When I moved from the city to the country I was barely 8 years old. This was when I was educated to what a bully was. In the city, I wasn’t bullied or intimidated. Kids would come to my house to play, as we had a swing set, sandbox, computer just for games (yup, in 1988 we had multiple as my dad’s job was computers), and we had a mom at home. The dangers of the city drove my parents to buy a house in the country. At times those dangers of the terrible city seem more bearable than the every day bullying I was introduced to in the country. I had people hurt me, and break me when Iived in the city. I could feel it in my soul (over time I would heal), but the bullying after I moved to the county first broke my spirit, and then continued each day to rip away at parts of who I was. It never ended. I never was allowed to heal. Yet, I fell in love with actual country living, and I miss it every day. If I could experience the land, trees, air, and animals, minus the cruel and heartless actions of my peers, life would have been rainbows and daisies for the most part. Anyway..
My first introduction to a bully was a girl in my neighborhood, or perhaps a few of them. Freshly moved to the country, and I was the new girl, and I had two weeks of school left before summer vacation. There was a girl who was in my class and also rode my bus. She lived way up the country road that I called home now, and she was assigned to be my “buddy” the first few days of being in my new school.She was one of 3 sisters. It wasn’t until I was older until I understood the term “popular” either, but she and her sisters were. Every day until I was in middle school, for the following 3 years, riding the bus was one of the worse parts of the day. I had my seat kicked, I was told I was an ugly dog. The group of girls would tell my sister and I that we were poor, that we wore the wrong clothes, right down to commenting on our socks. There wasn’t a day I didn’t feel fear and confusion. There wasn’t a day that they didn’t break my spirit. My sister continued to have a rough relationship with the girl’s older sister, as they remained "enemies" throughout high school. This was the start of years of being bullied, not by the same girls, but by many many people. I began to hate school. I was the subject of bullying all through out school until 12th grade. You can’t get bullied if you are too sick to be there. I became physically ill on multiple different levels. There was so much physical (we will get to that later) and emotional trauma that my body just started failing me.
Well, we all grow-up and we are told not to let what other people think or say bother you. But let’s be truthful, it does. It still hurts. I want to be able to say that I don’t care. That I am an adult and only my husband’s opinion matters, but we all know that is not true.
I still have difficulty now fitting in. I try to build relationships, but they don’t happen for me. I don’t have a group of girlfriends that invite me out to Ladies Night. And the only social events that I have had like that in the past 5 years were ones that I have planned, and for most of them, only 1 or two people have shown. I would plan a Ladies Night at my house, and have only my sister show. It hurt. I would have nights out for my birthday, and have to cancel because all of my guests would cancel last minute.
Since I have married Joe, there have been more people coming to such events, and I tell my husband, “it’s because of you. They are your friends, so they come”. He tells me that it is not true, that I have made my own social group now, but this is still difficult for me to believe and swallow. Have I been scarred so badly that friendships seem impossible to me?
I walk in to the curling club where we curl, and my anxiety causes me to scan the room and get a feel for the environment. “Will I fit in tonight?” I have an easier time in a room of strangers, or people who don’t know me well, than with a group of people who have known me for years. I worry about offending people. About losing friendships. I am a huge ball of anxiety. Some times I am too quiet. Other times I talk too much. Some times I quietly hide beside my husband, just praying I fit in that day.
With blogging I am not face-to-face with those reading. But those reading, may just be people I know, or people from my past. These people’s opinions still mean something, even if the world says it shouldn’t. I don’t want to embarrass my husband or myself. It is rare that I just let myself be myself, like I do when I write.
In High School I was able to be myself in Youth to Youth (how I miss that club, and community). As an adult I had to wait until my divorce from my first husband before I felt like me, before I cut-lose and found myself again. I never quiet felt like I belonged with his family. But I did begin finding missing elements of myself: My perky, happy, crazy, silly self. My sensitive, over-emotional, anxiety ridden, loving, caring, determined self. I found that I always held on to my courage. I decided to run the Tough Mudder again, solo, since I didn’t have a team, and be true to myself after my divorce. Thus the photo.
I realize not every one is going to love me, or love me all of the time. I am a very sensitive soul, so words cut me deeply. So every day that I put my thoughts down and make them public, I am blogging through my fears.