Middle school wasn’t exactly the best time of our lives, as we went through our first of many identity crisis, and trying to withstand the social pressure of “fitting in”, along with social media magnifying the problem.
I thank God every single day that social media wasn’t around when I was in the 8th grade. Texting had just hit the market as something that was accessible to everyone, but I didn’t get my first cellphone until senior year of high school.
I was the wallflower. The perfect bait for assholes. And they took advantage of me daily because I was too shy to speak up, or stand up for myself. My friends could be counted with one hand. While everyone had boyfriends and hair straighteners, I still wasn’t allowed to wear make-up and go to dances. The only recognition I got in middle school was a certificate of some kind of “arts honors award”. I guess there was a small group of kids that were hand-selected by the art director at my school, and it was a big deal to be recognized in that category, as only 8 kids were selected out of hundreds. I was one of them, and I still have that certificate.
Receiving that certificate was one of the few highlights during my middle school experience. Mostly, I was just bullied or ignored. I allowed people to brush me under the rug, and if they didn’t, then I would do it to myself — as if I deserved to be a loser.
After finishing middle school, I still found myself there everyday running up at the track and the surrounding grasslands. To this day, I’m still there very regularly, running, walking, doing yoga, sitting and reading…
How is it that I find myself going back to the very place that holds the worst memories of my awkward adolescence? I have no idea. But just like being teased in middle school made me stronger, so did running at the track/area. I keep going back to the ground zero of my humiliation, and I think I subconsciously do it to prove to myself that this school full of horrible memories doesn’t OWN me, and I’m brave enough to keep coming back.
It’s ironic how a place that carries the worst memories of my past, is also the place where I actively show up to create my best memories of my present. I’m embraced by the big evergreen trees as I walk through the school campus, and the dusty red track is more inviting than any other running grounds. As pound one foot in front of the other, I pound away the memories of getting taken advantage of, being pushed around in the hallway, getting made fun of for my ethnicity, being called ugly, oh, the list could go on.
What’s even more bewildering is that the assholes of the past have become the most genuinely kind human beings of the present, as I’ve run into them one by one. I’m 25 years old, and here I am judging a human being based on their actions towards me when they were only 13 years old.
Do I carry resentment in my heart towards these individuals who are now some of my close friends? Absolutely not. The refreshing surprise of kindness never gets old, the more people I run into from my teenage years. For the rest of the assholes that are still assholes, they don’t recognize me, and so I get a good laugh out of messing with them. They’ll ask me for my number, a date, a “netflix and chill” (ew) sesh. Of course for these jerks, I’ll usually put them on the spot in telling them who I am, with a “nice try, get out of my life” attitude. Is that the right thing to do? No. It’s always better to forgive. But is it the most satisfying thing to do? Hell yeah.
Can anyone relate? Struggling with bullying? What to say to a bully? Your best/worst memories in middle school? Need advice? Leave your comment here!