I was teased a lot as a kid. I blame myself for a lot of the teasing. I was crier. I cried when I was scared, angry, hurt, and sometimes even happy. I am still a crier. I can control it a little better now, but it's taken years and years of practice.
The crying coupled with my desperate need to fit in made me an easy, easy target. I wanted more than anything to be popular. I wanted everyone to like me. My desperation was an invitation for some of the not so nice kids to torture me. I again blame myself. I trusted anyone who paid me any attention and I had verbal diarrhea, not a good combo.
I would constantly hear my mom's voice in my head, telling me to be careful of who I trusted and what I said. It was pretty typical mom advice, but every time I thought it's different this time. I think this person is really my friend.
I was followed home from school a couple of times by mobs of kids waiting to see me get pummelled. I was too afraid to defend myself. I could never explain my position without crying. I wish I could have. I just ran away from the fights.
One time a girl in the grade above me pretended to be my friend for a day. She convinced me to tell her the name of the boy I liked. The next day like magic that boy wanted to be my "boyfriend". I was beaming all day. At the end of the day the girl and group of kids chased me home yelling nasty things and telling me it all had been a set up. I was crushed.
I had some friends here and there but from fourth grade until maybe tenth grade I was miserable.
In tenth grade I seemed to fall into a groove. My core group of friends pretty much stayed the same until I graduated from high school. The mean girls didn't seem to bother me as much. I was blissfully unaware of a nasty rumor that they had floated around about me for years.
I'm still not even sure of the specifics of the rumor. All I know is it was based around my ill fated attempt to fit in as a cheerleader my first year of high school. I made the squad, and actually loved the cheering part of it all. I was not too into the cliques that formed within our squad and the varsity squad. I was horribly immature, so I gave up something I enjoyed to be spared the drama. I only became aware of the rumor my senior year when someone screamed it at me through a car window and drove off laughing. I had no idea what they were talking about. I knew I didn't do it, but it stung. I thought those years of my life were over. I thought the teasing was over. I never defended myself. I never really knew what or who to defend myself against. I even questioned my own sanity. I had no idea why anyone would makeup the story I was hearing about myself. It still stings. It stings because I was such a wimp.
I had forgotten about all of this or more accurately I had tried to repress and progress. It all came flooding back to me on a recent trip back to Pittsburgh. I was at the mall and I saw one of the girls I am pretty sure is responsible for the rumor. I immediately had that rush of anxiety that I lived with for all those years. The anxiety was then followed by anger. We are both adults, married, kids the whole nine. We never made eye contact. I'm sure the whole episode is something she doesn't even remember. I was so angry at myself for even caring.
It amazes me the things I hold onto, and the value I put on other people's perceptions of me. I am writing this to let it all go. I know who I am.