I know I have written many times that my middle school years were rough, then about a month ago I read a post by Molly telling here middle school story, "The one where I was bullied." I realized that it's not just that middle school was difficult and hormonal, but I was bullied. Her post resonated with me, in a way that I have never thought before but of course my story is a little different.
When I entered middle school (6th grade) and the hormones "blossomed" my metabolism began to change and I gained some weight this in and of itself made me very self conscience about who I was, but I still had my group of friends. My middle school years initially started off with best friend flopping and note writing. As if you had something so important to tell your friend that it required a 2 – 3 page note after seeing them all day. Then of course there was the unspoken competition of who could fold their note the best. I didn’t necessarily hang out with the “cool kids” but I had my group. Sometime in 7th grade things started to change. My group of friends used to have conversations around me at the lunch table. If I tried to talk to them they wouldn’t acknowledge me, but rather make fun of the things I said. They stopped talking to me in class. Me being so naïve or maybe just dumb I didn’t pick up on it. Then summer break came along and finally 8th grade started. So did the rumors all kinds of things about me none of which were true. By November of my 8th grade year not a single person in my class spoke to me. I was made fun of regularly, accused of being gay. I was ostracized. In gym class everyone would sit away from me in the locker room, I was always picked last for anything, if there was “group” work it didn’t matter who I was paired with they wouldn’t talk to me. I visited the guidance counselor regularly, but nothing ever changed. No one at the school ever called my parents and I didn’t know how to talk to them. I internalized everything like it was somehow my fault and I needed to fix it. I was so alone, so lonely…
I’m not sure what changed in high school but something did, I never forgot those feelings. I never spoke to many of those people again, but envied that they were “cool” and had so many friends.
I realize that these 13 year old girls still have power over me and it makes me nuts. Several of them have “friended” me on facebook. I accepted said friendships in hopes that in some small way their life stinks now. I know it’s not right and from the looks of things life is perfect for them. Cute kids, nice stuff, they stay at home, have great bodies after babies, they are fans of everything, still best friends, married to their high school sweetheart blah, blah, blah…
Then I look at my life and wonder why I still care. Why haven’t I risen above these feelings and moved past it? Why do these 13 year old girls still have this power over me? I look at my babies and never want them to experience anything like this and I definitely don’t want them to be the bullies themselves.
This weekend was particularly bad for me. I was faced with a situation that brought out all these ugly feelings inside of me again, but instead of “taking it” I defended myself in my own bullying kind of way, when I should have extended grace.
How much longer will there be a part of me that feels 13? Inadequate? Inept? Weak?
Do these now women ever reflect on what was done, recognize the hurt that they left behind; do they teach their children differently?
Will I ever forgive and forget? I know in my heart that is what I need to do.
Like Molly my kids will know this story. I will share this weakness from my past in hopes that their lives will be different, changed, better.