Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Me too

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.


Arizona Mamma said...

Heide, I think many of feel stings and rubs from our past. I would even venture to guess that these women with seemingly perfect lives have their own dark hurts.

I really sucks that you were the target of bullying, but in the end...you win. You are a wonderful woman, a great mother and a loving wife. You are beautiful inside and out. As a 13 year old you were beautiful inside and out. You were no less loved and cherished by the important people in your life because some immature girls picked on you. You were a treasure then, and you are today. Let it go. Dig deep for the confidence to do so. When you feel those old insecurities seeping in, redirect your thoughts. It's a shame if you do anything other than that! Those who know you have been blessed.

Arizona Mamma said...

P.S. It sucks, not I. That would be a whole different kinda comment.

Elizabeth said...

I feel your pain and know you have the ability to rise above it. I too had a rough time through Middle School and part of High School. Some of those friends requested facebook connections, I accepted but shortly after, when I saw they were still the same, just older, I deleted them. I don't need them or their approval on my life. They never understand, still don't and are raising their kids to be just like them. My kids were bullied, shut one of my boys was trash canned weekly his freshman year. Broke my heart, but we taught him to rise above those jerks. 10 years later, while his twin, the policeman, was at work, one of those kids were sitting handcuffed to a bench. He had the nerve to ask my son "How'ya doing", and my son said, "A whole lot better then you".

You too can be there for them during those years. We listened, understood, encouraged ours to get through it. You will too. We shared our stories only when he was used for a lesson.

As my boys said, it made them stronger people because of it.

My daughter was like you, on the big size and heard so many remarks it could have killed me to feel what it must make he feel like. Thankfully, she stayed in Bible study, prayed her way through it and doesn't look back. Sure som e of those girls LOOK like they have more, but they really don't. It's all superficial, on credit and can be taken away in the blink of an eye. What she has built is solid, strong and unbreakable.

Hang in there.

Mindi said...

I'm so sorry those things happened to you. Middle school is THE WORST!! Oh my goodness, I had some of the same experiences you did with gaining weight and all. It's horrible. I too take it so hard, and still struggle with it but also take it as a learning experience and want to teach my children by sharing my experience with them.

You are strong and a beauty!!

Jen said...

I am sorry you had to go through this. I will never understand why girls are SO mean, it's universal, and I will NEVER get it. I grew up in a small town, and there weren't a whole lot of options for groups, if you know what I mean. I worry about this everyday, I have a daughter in middle school, 6th grade, in fact. She has great friends, but I worry about the day that changes, if it does. And in the day of modern technology, Facebook, cell phones, email...it just plains scares me. I am so thankful for you writing this post and I am going to share it with my daughter, so she can see what might happen with her friends, and look a what a great person, wife, mom, you are, and always have been! I want her to know, from someone other than her mom (because I am sure someday I won't know anything), that other girls went through this and how to overcome!

I cannot thank you enough for sharing this. Thanks for putting yourself out there. And I agree with Arizona Momma, about their dark hurts that they are probably suffering with. Hang in there, and on days when you are feeling the pain of those memories, hold you head up high, look at your family, say a prayer, and press on!!!!!!!! We've all been there...ugh, I won't accept facebook friend requests from my classmates that didn't like me then, maybe someday, but I don't know.

Nic said...

Man do I feel you. I was always heavy in middle school/Jr high and the butt of jokes. It's hard b/c I don't think I will ever forget the hurt. Whats funny to me about blogs/facebook is we post the "good" pictures, "happy" stories. So really are you seeing their true life..

God calls us to forgive and love our enemies. Boy is that hard =)

Megan said...

Ugh. I can relate. I still get those same feelings about all of this, too. And I say to myself, "Why do I still care about this?" But...I do.

My mom said by the 20 year reunion you've all gotten over it. :o) I hope she's right!!

Tracy said...

Your story touched me too. Middle school was awful, and I'm sorry that you had such a hard time. I too worry every day that my kids will be picked on, to the point that I'm afraid it may be a self-fulfilling prophecy. It's so hard to let the fear and anger go and put your trust in God and his plan. Thank you for sharing your story.

Oh, and my theory on them "friending" you on facebook is that they do have regrets about treating you as they did, and they want to make sure they didn't destroy your life or something, in an effort to alleviate their own guilt.

Rachel M. said...

The bullying I endured was in high school. I went from an uber Christian school sponsored by my church that only went up to 8th grade where we could not cut our hair or wear pants or wear make up and jewelry. Imagine - 1989 - 1993, the years of big hair and lots of make up, me with hair down to my waist in skirts every day. What a target. I've never heard from those people again and better not ever! I will say it made me extremely tough and strong and probably gave me the aggressive edge I've used in my career. I did have an encounter with a girl from my church in middle school who picked on me regularly, one time she even scratched my arm so deeply it bleed, just because she wanted to ride in the front seat, we were on some camping trip. She friended me on MySpace and I wrote back and told her I didn't understand why she'd want to friend me when she was so mean to me in middle school. Surprisingly she didn't remember any of it! Seriously? I've never bullied anyone because it was so painful to go through, I just always assumed bullies remembered who they bullied. Anyway, really sad to see your 8th grade was so bad. I'd encourage very close communication with your girls when they go through that stage, there is so much information now with kids getting on the internet that I think we will probably be more savvy parents then ours were.