I’m 25 now. That means I have been living with this pain for at least 19 years.
Usually when someone gets cut, as badly as your words cut me, they either bleed out and die, or that cut heals, either permanently or just periodically until it reopens. I can both happily and unhappily say that neither of these outcomes are something that I have been through.
I’m still bleeding.
19 years of non-stop painful bleeding, and I can’t ever escape the pain. So why am I still alive? Because I’m strong, that’s why.
I was a young girl, no older than 6 years old when I started my new school. On my first day, I met A*, who welcomed me to the class by pulling at my eyelids.
My new teacher, Mrs C*, seemed nice. Back then every new teacher seemed nice. However, by the end of the year I had been in trouble more times than I knew to count, and for dumb reasons. I strove to make my writing look like neat calligraphy while writing faster. I would always inform Mrs C* when I did something I thought she’d approve of. I was desperate for some positive feedback from her. It never happened though. I was always slow, inattentive, bad, stupid, messy and hopeless. One day she stood me in front of the whole class and told the other children to never be like me.
A*, you were one of the people I dreaded being around, but you would later become my best friend. Little did I realize, I was going to wish you were still the new enemy swinging out of my eyelids.
I remember you, and the other kids, telling me how fat I was, and that I was mentally disabled. Back then, it hurt, as I didn’t know what it meant, and the mocking voices made me worry if I really sounded like that. I now know that my social anxiety was the reason I behaved so strange. I was always nervous! And can you really blame me?
We became pretty much inseparable when we hit our teens (although you preferred to tell people I followed you around). We were always laughing, writing notes and messing around in class. You introduced me to the guy I shared my first kiss with, and to B*, who was to be my first long term boyfriend. I would thank you, if B* wasn’t my reason for beginning therapy (if you don’t count the one I was brought to see when I was 7).
Most of the time, I really enjoyed your company. You were funny, and loud enough for the both of us. You would playfully poke fun at me and I assumed it was just “the way you are”. I started to feel like crap when you began calling me frigid for never kissing a boy at the age of 13. I felt like a freak, as usual, but this time I felt the need to create an imaginary boyfriend. I was afraid to dance at teenage disco’s or kiss a boy, in fear you’d catch me looking stupid. I remember you even told the class I attempted to hang myself with my school tie. You weren’t too far from the truth…
After I met B*, you never could resist making me think he was cheating on me with you. You were always wrapped around him or being interesting while I stood there being a mopey ball of nerves. I kind of wish you had saved me the hassle of meeting him in the first place after how he would try force me to do things I was uncomfortable with, only to brag about them later. While we were together, you invented a horrible name for me – a way to jokingly call me fat. I would be minding my own business when complete strangers would shout that name at me. Did I miss the memo with that name under my photo??
Your actions made me move school. When we got in trouble for passing letters (in which you insulted my weight), you burst into tears accusing me of bullying you. I got into trouble for it and went about looking for a new school, without telling anyone.
B*, I never wanted to leave you on bad terms, but I felt too pressured to be your virginity-loss tool. I was never going to live with doing it before I was ready. You didn’t need to hurt me with the name A* invented for me though. You knew how much I cried every time I heard a person calling me that name. I began dieting and binge eating and was sent for counselling because of what you did.
Since then I have witnessed people hiding from me at break to avoid me, being called fat and ugly by strangers, becoming obese, being cheated on and being second best to other girls.
I’m still in counselling. I’d love to say I have since improved, but I have in fact gotten worse. My social anxiety prevents me from making friends, as they don’t understand me and I assume I bore them or they hate me. I can be a bit clingy, but only because I have no idea where the neutral ground between clingy and distant is. I still have trust issues, I still binge eat and I would do anything to get out of this permanent fat suit. I have a fear of kids and teenagers and can’t go outdoors without my headphones and LOUD music. I am on so much medication I forget what I’m on sometimes, and I regularly burst into tears at the tiniest hint at an insult. I’m extremely paranoid and depressed.
I have been through so much shit for so long. I suffered in silence for years and have been hurt is so many ways. I regularly feel like ending my life and have the crisis nurses on speed dial. Every time I see a group of people I pray they’ll attack or kill me without verbally abusing me. The love of my life has to suffer each time we go outdoors, and I hate that I’ve made him feel anxious. He puts up with so much.
But I’m strong. i’m still alive, and the only cuts I have are from doing things I enjoy. If they were to suffer my pain and my memories for a day they would die of shock. I’m on my 25th year of survival, and I think that’s pretty bad-ass!
Now, I leave you with my theme song!
Inspired by To This Day Project.
Written as part of Mama Kat’s Pretty Much World Famous Writers Workshop