Then, in Fifth Grade, things really exploded. I admitted to having feelings for a boy (while being cornered in the girl's bathroom). That's where things really changed. You might not believe that basically every day for the rest of the school year I was tormented about it. But the far worse thing was the way he was treated. Because obviously, to be loved by me was a curse. A boy, who'd always been nice to me, turned into someone, who hated me with a passion. And I still won't blame him for that.
The next time I fell in love, I kept it quiet under the assumption that I still loved the former boy. I'd learned a lesson. But don't imagine this was my prince charming. No, I'd fallen for an even more hurtful and hateful person. But I could see the pain he was in, and I wanted to save him... no matter what it took.
I didn't really have friends at school until Seventh Grade. But that friendship wasn't a particularly safe environment for a long time. Even as much as I love her and trust her now, at that time, she was key in making me hurt. Sometimes, in ways that couldn't have been helped. Other times, because she judged me harshly in front of everyone.
I couldn't imagine living past Eighth Grade graduation. By then, the boy I'd loved had figured it out.... just as the rest of the class. I spent the second half of Eighth Grade crying most of the school day. Eventually, people had put things together. My best friend was dating the one I really loved. Strangely, even former tormentors seemed to feel bad for me. But my Love delighted in tormenting me, himself. After all those years of me seeming - even to myself - unbothered by his calling me ugly (because I knew it was true) or how much I was in love with his best friend, he knew he had power over me now. And he used it viciously.
So, maybe you think bullying isn't a big deal? I'm certainly one of the more extreme cases. At least of those who can still tell the story. And well, don't think I didn't come close to not being able to. Several times. But my point is this: even after all the years that bullying has been gone from my life, the effects are still with me. They haunt my young adult life. They live in me, and no matter how much I try to love myself and befriend my darkness, they will always be around. I can't work. I don't socialize. I stay home. I wish that I could find that one person who can understand me and love me endlessly. But I'm just alone. And all I can do is dream.
After all that, High School was mostly calm. I made more real friends. People to share my stories with. While my one friend still had occasional outbursts against me, there was only one real incident like those in grade school. And afterword, I actually recieved notes from people who felt bad for me and actual apology notes from those invovled. It seemed that everyone had finally started to grow up.
But over the couple of years I lived "peacefully" in High School, something was bubbling up inside of me. I had crippling migraine headaches and an anxiety I just couldn't shake. And out of nowhere, I was having severe panic attacks - which I didn't know by name, so I deemed them "crashing". I thought I was completely broken. I was crying all day during school, even though no one was bothering me anymore.
And so, I eventually had to leave...
Though now, six and a half years later, in a life that I spend mostly alone, my biggest bully... is me. Caught in the echoes of the past, I'm always degrading myself. I will never be pretty or talented or smart. And anyone who says differently will get a rejection. I can't take compliments. I'm used to criticism; I usually agree with it. It's the opposite that I fear. Because if I trust in a compliment, that means the person can turn it around and hurt me with that trust. So, I don't - I can't trust people. Not in that way.