My 20 year class reunion is fast approaching. Did I go to my 10th reunion? No. Did I go to my own graduation? Yes. Was I seated in cap and gown among my fellow classmates? No. I remained hidden from view at the top of the gymnasium on a bleacher, dressed in civilian clothes. I had graduated early and did not want to walk among my peers. High school was hell for me.
Recently I became reacquainted with a friend (thanks, Facebook) whom I knew in high school and with whom shared my same disgust for the bullying that took place there. We were both bullied. She dropped out of school in 10th grade, (later getting her GED), and I dropped out of life. After years of anxiety, depression, and being bullied, I was hospitalized during my senior year. I just couldn't take it anymore. High school culture was killing me.
I don't blame anyone in particular. In fact, I feel sorry for the bullies. High school is a rough time for all teenagers. We were all so full of teenage angst and not mature enough yet to handle our feelings of inadequacy, belonging, emotions, etc.
I wouldn't go back if someone paid me. And believe me, money is quite a motivating factor right about now.
How I wish I was different back then. That was the 80's. Prozac was brand new. I wonder how high school life would be now that I am on Zoloft? Would it be much different? Would I be able to tell that bully to stop copying off my paper instead of just sitting there? Would I be able to raise my hand in class to answer a question? Would I be spared the silent panic attack that came during Mr. Yazzi's science class? My anxiety has always been on the forefront and has kept me from living life to its fullest. But it's also comfortable. Or is that my anxiety talking?
Being bullied was the little seed that was planted deep within my soul and grew to this compassionate tree much like a weeping willow. I bend when the wind blows; but my roots have found their strength in experience. To the kids that like to bully: come play in my branches, or my children's branches, but always remember, I make a nice whip.