I never thought I was extraordinary. I was ordinary in every possible way. I had ordinary hair, ordinary grades, an ordinary physique. Nothing really stood out. Well, that’s what I thought. Life went by, as I grew from a child to a young woman, and it never seemed to slow down. Well, it plays like a heart beat. Some times it beats fast, sometimes it beats slowly. As a teenager, everything went by so fast. I was lost. I honestly did not know who I was. As I shed my childhood skin, only a blank space appeared. It needed to be filled. But as I got distracted by every one’s colours, I was lost as to what were mine. What were my colours. I was confused as I discovered what sexual attraction was. I couldn’t fathom the whistles I was suddenly receiving. It took me some time to realise that I wasn’t a child to people anymore. However, I was still a child to me. And as society responded to the changes of my physique, I was helpless. I was forced into accepting the fact that I was able to attract people, despite not being attracted to anyone myself. The child in me felt her childhood being stolen from her. And I don’t think I could ever forget the feeling of a sudden shift.
During my teenage years I stumbled through what I thought made a woman. Was it the hair ? The short skirts ? The heels ? The make up ? My mother and me never shared a close relationship, she never taught me how to be a woman. I had to learn by myself. Let’s say that nasty looks and sarcastic comments made me reconsider many choices in my appearance. Apart from the appearance, I also had this strong desire to be accepted. This longing to belong crawled under my skin as would a snake in wild bushes. It stayed there, haunted my nights, made me question my worth. This longing made me create different personas. It made me become the funny girl, well, what I thought would be a funny girl. I thought that if I played it cool, and put my friends first, I would receive some validation. However, seeing that nothing I did or said got me closer to my classmates, I decided that school was more important than anything. Friends were overrated. Boys even more. As my friends bragged about the young men they snogged, I was alone in the front of the classroom, eating a homemade sandwich while reading a book. Or I would wander alone in the yard pretending I was going to meet someone. But all I did was walk. I walked every lunch break. I became friends with the lunch lady, with the janitor, with the administrator officers. As I walked I saw those groups of girls, talking empty talks, fully aware that they would rehash the same conversation over the afternoon break to another group. Talking seemed to be more important than listening. And as every girl tried to overtalk the next one, the conversation quickly became loud, as if it was a competition to make the world know that you reached third base with your pre-puber boyfriend.
Oh, I eventually became friends with the teachers. Despite being labelled as an attention seeking geek, I really didn’t give a fuck. I liked discussing with people about things other than boys and other people. With the teachers I felt, for the first time, myself. I wasn’t judged for wanting to discuss further a text we had worked on, or about ways to get better, and overcome my weaknesses. I wasn’t judged for trying to become someone different than what the girls at my school painted me to be. I wasn’t judged for refusing a cigarette, or for refusing to skip a class, or drink alcohol. I could be my innocent self all over again. And I rejoiced in it. I rejoiced in my preserved innocence.
Yes, I was bullied. For as long as I remember I was bullied. Sometimes it happened once a week. Sometimes it happened every day, in tiny doses. The tiny doses were the worst. They were those scoffs, discreet remarks behind my back, the constant undermining of my person as I grew. At some point they didn’t even care that I was in the same room, hearing everything. It was as if I wasn’t worth any bit of respect. I was dirt. But thing is, I didn’t care. What kept me going was the thought that the only person able to destroy me was myself. Any one outside of my body shell had no real power over me. Any action they exerted on me only reflected an aspect of their personality and troubled state. I knew that they were in a place where each one of them had issues, and thus had found a way to handle them. I was the one they decided to spit on, to belittle and to crush the spirit. Have I ever considered suicide ? I think I did. But my will to fight was too strong.
For a long time I felt dead inside. But I knew that I was meant for something greater than myself. That the person who had to endure years of emotional bullying did not deserve to fail. She deserves a brilliant life. And she will get it.