Do you know why I'm this sad? So angry, and tired with life? Why I’m abusive towards myself in ways I would never even contemplate being to another person, let alone people I care about? Why I think I’m worthless?
It’s because…. that’s what I felt I was being told for years. When kids excluded me, when teachers reprimanded me for misbehaving, when my parents expressed their disappointment in me, when we joked about how I was the devil and my sister was the angel. While she was smart and sweet and behaved in class, I was acting out and biting and talking back. Sure, I was smart, but my sister? A genius. When our class was told time and time again that we needed to act better, and how dare we treat our teachers like that? When my best friend in fifth grade did everything she could to make other friends -- anyone would be better than having me. When I was so frustrated with how slow classes were going that I complained and misbehaved, and my classmates told me to stop bragging and my teachers said “you know that was wrong, correct? Will you do it again?” Of course I knew it was wrong. But I was desperate.
Now I realize that those kids didn’t exclude me because of me. They had their own friends already; I was new, they were young and clueless. The teacher was just frustrated. My parents were just worried about me and my education. My parents obviously love and value me, and don’t see us as “good” or “bad”, so they didn’t even think the jokes would be hurtful. People were clueless or thought I would be proud to hear how smart they thought my sister was, and perhaps even take it as a compliment given that we’re closely related. Our teachers and administrators were just trying to do their jobs. That friend in 5th grade was just a kid who wanted to be included and fit in with other people. And maybe we weren't a good fit. Who knows?
Either way, it was never about me. It was never about me!!!
I feel so guilty for what I did. That I bullied that kid, made fun of the other one, etc. And was it okay? No. But I was a child. 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10. A child who didn’t know, who wasn’t taught how to deal with her emotions. Who was confused, who was just struggling to properly express all those hard emotions.
I wasn’t a bad person. I’m not a bad person. My parents don’t see me as a disappointment. They don’t think I’m worthless. They know I care a lot about other people, that I feel bad for the things I did, that I am not inherently flawed.
And maybe one day I’ll be able to see this for myself. See myself the way the other people in my life see me. That I’ll look back and not be choked with sadness and anger. That I’ll be able to forgive myself for everything I have told myself. That I’ll be able to forgive the people in my life who, unknowingly, sent me the message that I was terrible and worthless. Right now though, I’m just really sad. A little frustrated, a little mad. I feel a little bit ridiculous, because I feel like I am worthless and this is all just a way to excuse how terrible I am.
This is all part of my story though. Tomorrow I can turn a page. Eventually the chapter will change, and maybe, just maybe, I can be happy -- with myself and with my life.
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