This isn’t something I want to share, it’s not something I really want to talk about, or something that I think is worthy of being talked about. I don’t like that writing this feels like a big deal to me. I don’t like telling you that it feels like a big deal. It shouldn’t be. I should be able to just state the facts, stick to what is true, and be done with it. Ultimately that is my goal. I simply want to state things as they are. I want to say this is what happened, and this is why I think it might be worthwhile sharing. I want to be truthful and accurate, with no exaggeration and no omissions.
When I was younger I was not treat kindly.
People excluded me, made me feel left out, put me down, insulted me, called me names, made me feel like there was something wrong with me, that I was a less-than, and just not good enough. Being liked and accepted seemed like an impossible task for me. I always felt like an outsider. Rarely did I feel included.
This is what defined a very large portion of my elementary school career, from Grade 2 or 3 all the way through to Grade 8. It felt like my role, to be unpopular, unwanted, disliked. It happened for so long that it seemed completely normal, and that there was nothing wrong with it at all.
I denied to myself that I was treated this way because I blamed myself, felt like I was responsible, like it was my fault, and that there was something wrong with me, that I was not good enough. I was ashamed of the fact that I could not get people to treat me with more respect.
Whenever the topic of bullying came up in school, I would feel really uncomfortable because I was worried that when other people thought about who was bullied they would think of me, and I didn’t like that. At all. I would examine the definitions of bullying and convince myself that it was something far more severe then what I experienced.
So, I denied it to myself, avoided the topic, tried to convince myself that I was well liked, that people were my friends and enjoyed my presence, that no one was mean to me, no one really thought I was a loser, and that we were all just joking around. I learned to laugh at myself before anyone else could, and I learned to self-deprecate before anyone could.
For years and years I told myself that no one could hurt me. That I was like a brick wall. Unbreakable. Thick skinned. That I didn’t care what anyone thought about me because I was so “confident” that I was amazing just as I was. I prided myself on my resilience, my ability to let whatever was said and done to me pass right over me, and I built for myself on the surface, a sense of heightened self esteem.
I told myself that even though it seemed like no one saw how great I was then, they would in the future because I was going to be so freaking good at so many things that my awesomeness would be undeniable and people would have to love me. I told myself that one day they would all see me and be amazed. They would respect me, and regret how poorly they had treated me when they should have been trying to be my friend. Because honestly, if they had seen me for who I was, why wouldn’t they have wanted to be my friend? I was so kind, so hilarious, so easy-going and easy to get along with, and I was happy if other people were happy. So what was wrong with me? Why did people treat me like I wasn’t good enough. Like I was worthless?
Maybe I just understood people wrong. Maybe what I was, was not what other people wanted. Maybe I was just too clever, too smart, too eccentric, too good for them. Maybe I was too much of my own person. Maybe that was it. Maybe they were blinded and simply did not see me. I tried so hard though. I was outgoing, friendly, kind, yet it seemed like so many people hated me. It seemed like I was unwanted and I just couldn’t understand how that could be.
I pushed aside the present though, because I knew that eventually I would come out on top. I had faith that one day I would have accomplished so much that I would have long surpassed “good enough.” I was after all the “smart one,” athletic and good at sports, fairly musically talented, involved in the community, a natural leader. I was pretty good at almost everything, one of the one’s most primed for society’s idea of success. I knew who I was, I knew what I wanted to be and where I wanted to go, and inside I knew that I would make it happen.
My plan failed though, and eventually it all became too much. Too much on the go, too much pressure, too much failure to achieve unrealistically high expectations, just too much and I couldn’t handle it anymore. It was too exhausting, and the walls I had built for myself very quickly collapsed inwards, my sense of healthy self esteem suddenly disappeared. I became really depressed, and I felt completely encapsulated by very negative energy. I tried and I tried to escape from it but I just couldn’t. Everything started to become a huge effort, my mind felt foggy, I couldn’t think straight, I didn’t see the point to doing much at all, I didn’t see the point to bothering with living.
None of it seemed real though, I thought I must be imagining it and that any day I would get my act together and snap out of it. But that never really happened and I remained feeling trapped in a mind and energy so unfamiliar, so drastically different from what I used to know. This went on for months and months and eventually I started to really hate the person I was. I began to believe that I was not important, that I did not matter, that nothing mattered, that I was worthless, replaceable, and a waste of resources on this planet. My days became filled with lots of really intense emotions. Lots of anger, rage, hate, sadness, and tears. I didn’t know what to do with it all and I couldn’t stand it anymore so I began to self harm because it gave me the satisfaction of acting out the hate I felt for myself.
I’m sharing this because as I reflect back on my my very privileged life in a developed country where I have been well-fed, well-watered, provided with shelter, love, freedom from violence, this is pretty much the only thing I can identify that explains how I came to hate myself so much. I can’t really find any other reason for how I have come to want to hurt myself other than this, and it feels really, really silly, like it’s something in the past and I shouldn’t be talking about it now, but the fact remains that there are a lot of similarities between how I used to be treated and how I treat myself now, and as much as I hate saying that, it is true, I think.