As promised yesterday, here I am with part two:
So, at the end of part one, I left off telling you about how I always felt self-conscious around other kids, and the sort of depressing tale of my first grade bully. Today, I am going to pick up from the post-physical abuse aspect of my bullying.
I’ve never really gone into the open, honest aftermath of that situation, mostly because I don’t think I realized how much my past truly impacted my present. To be honest, I could have turned out worse in the long run. I could’ve become a lot of horrible things as a result of that, but I didn’t. Deep down, I think I’ve always been an optimist, and, like I think I mentioned yesterday, I always thought, “When I’m grown-up, I will be able to save myself.”
That’s not to say that the physical beatings had zero effect on me. My self-confidence definitely plummeted. I felt zero desire to take care of myself, even at that age. Also, when I would get really mad at my sisters making fun of me, I often resorted to hitting them. Never more than once, but it was like, “They are ganging up on me with their words, so I have to use the only advantage I have. Force.” Luckily, that only lasted maybe a year or two, because one day, it dawned on me that I was hurting people the way that my bully used to, and I did not want to be him.
While I didn’t get physically bullied after my first grade incident, I can’t say that my life improved drastically. I continued to fear being myself, because I didn’t trust the other children. Even if someone tried to make fun of me in a small, teasing way, it unhinged me. I was hyper sensitive to everything: teasing, criticism, everything. I became a perfectionist, because I thought, “If I am too good to be made fun of, then nobody can hurt me anymore.”
Of course, I wanted friends. What kid doesn’t? I’m pretty sure I may have mentioned this before, but, in second grade, I became so desperate for friends that I paid a couple kids a quarter a day to say that they were my friends. When the teacher caught me, she told my parents. And, obviously, the kids stopped being my “friends” when I was no longer paying them.
At that point, though, my dad wasn’t working, so money was very tight. My dad was in construction and at that point, there wasn’t much going on. He began drinking more heavily. The more he became an alcoholic, the more of an asshole he became. It often felt like we were at fault for all his problems, and that he resented us for making his life difficult.
When I did manage to make friends, I held onto them as tight as I could, thinking that none of them would ever leave me. However, when I was ten years old, that changed. This story I may have mentioned as well in the beginning of my blog, but the summer after fourth grade, one of my best friends at the time stopped talking to me out of the blue. I thought maybe she was just busy with her other friends, which was fine.
Then, I asked my parents if we could invite her to the drive-in with us to see a couple movies. My oldest younger sister went to ask, and my supposed friend said, “She’s not my friend. So please, tell her that she is stupid and I have better friends than her now. I don’t want to play with her, anymore.”
I hid in the back of the van, and while I said it was fine, I cried for a majority of the night. I’m not even sure what movies we saw that night because I didn’t really watch them. Luckily, at the age of ten, I was still free to bring to the drive-in, so my parents really didn’t lose any money to me having zero ability to pay attention.
The next day, I sat on the couch the entire day, either reading or watching TV. I didn’t want to go outside, especially since my friend was a neighbor. I was about 4’9″ at that time, and right around 90 pounds. By the time it came to summer after my fifth grade year, I was around 145-150 pounds.
Yes, I gained about half the weight I would gain in a year because, basically, I became depressed over my best friend deciding she didn’t like me anymore. Because I cared what people thought so much as a kid, and I didn’t realize how much that was hurting my quality of my life.
People suck, and part three is going to be about the worst part of my life: junior high. So be prepared. Shit’s about to get ugly.