I haven’t looked at this in a while. It pains me to see how hard I was trying. I was appealing to what I felt was my demographic rather than developing one based on who I am. I was still in the character frame of mind.
Now I have never felt more like myself. Not since high school. I had no idea I couldn’t just be me… until I proved how that wasn’t going to get me anywhere. It was junior year of high school psychology class that I got the idea. We needed an end of year project and I wanted nothing more than to impress my teacher, a young 20s woman who exuded honesty, who seemed to have made it through her adolescence into what I perceived to be a solid adult who was confident, comfortable, and courageous.
I had chosen to be ‘goth’ for the past couple years. Somewhere in 9th grade(?) Possibly sooner… Dyed my hair black, grew it past my ears, wore what band shirts I could find. I think it started with black jeans, boots, a chain wallet. I loved breaking the expectations, shattering the small town quiet with my wild habits (i say this all with caramelized sarcasm and liberal air quotes). I had no such disillusions and there was nothing all that revolutionary about me other than I was obviously not like other people.
I never hurt anyone, I never bothered anyone. Just being was enough for some people, though. They couldn’t stand it, it irked their sensibilies or dangled the prospect of showing their toughness. Whatever the reason (and I would so love to get an answer from at least one of them some day) they bullied me constantly. Before school, at my locker, in the hall, in the bathroom, even in class in hushed tones. Threats, taunts, insults and insinuations: years worth. I rode the bus with headphones, eventually sat in front. I would stick to the particular lunch table, be slow in the locker room, stay out of the bathroom unless during class… These were my coping methods. My friends, all knowing we were ok and each believing in each other, were the only thing that got me through.
More to come…