Write about one thing you’ve never told anyone and explain why.

Hm. I’m pretty forthcoming as a writer. There are lots of deep, dark secrets scattered throughout this blog. I don’t really hold anything back, so the only thing that comes to mind when you ask for something I’ve never told anyone are the embarrassing moments, the moments that make me cringe.

I have lots of those. I was a misfit child and I’m a misfit adult. The difference is that, as an adult, I’m much better equipped to handle my oddballism. I don’t care what people think of me, except for those that I know and love, but in general, people can eat it. I don’t care what you, out there, think of me. I exist not for you, but for me. So, whether you love or hate me, I continue to exist in my own eccentric way anyhow. Your opinion doesn’t mean that much to me, unless you’d like to lavish compliments upon me, of course.

As a child, though, I did care. I cared all too much what people thought. I tried to blend in as much as I could. I tried to hide the fact that I didn’t fit in. I was painfully shy. I wouldn’t talk to anyone unless they talked to me first. If asked for my opinion of something, I would give whatever opinion was held by the majority. I never really spoke my mind. Sadly, this persisted all through elementary school and junior high. It wasn’t until I got into high school that I started not to care.

Junior high school was absolutely the worst for me. Every day was drama and trauma and embarrassment. I had bullies. Other than my total social ineptitude, I didn’t stand out much. I didn’t have many of the qualities that most bullies seek out. I was pretty, thin, and of average height (until I sprouted 4-5″ practically overnight in high school), I had no obvious deformities and I didn’t go exalting my dorkery even though it was there, yet I was a target. I’m not quite sure why that is, other than the fact that I was so mealy-mouthed and meek. Perhaps that’s all it took. Anyway, I had bullies. There was this one girl, Desiree, who made gym class an absolute horror for me. Every day, she harassed me. One day, she pushed me down while the teacher wasn’t looking and I hurt my wrist. I spent the rest of the day in pain, but I didn’t tattle.

I lived walking distance from the school. Every day on my way home, this kid John, who lived the next street over from me, followed me, taunting me. I tried taking the long way home and he followed me there, too. There was nothing I could do about it. During lunch one day, right after I had just gotten a sweet, new suede jacket that was actually “in,” he purposely spilled chocolate pudding all over the front of it. When the teacher caught wind of it, John claimed it was an accident, but he and I knew the truth. My brand new, awesome suede jacket had pudding stains on it that never quite came clean. I wore that coat for another year or two with that constant reminder of my failure as a human being.

There were others, too, like Mark who spent much of History class shooting spitballs at the back of my head, or Kim who left nasty messages written on my locker for all to see. I’m not sure if they all knew each other and had formed some surreptitious Bully Union with meetings and dues where they determined who would be the targets, or if they were all working individually. Either way, they all targeted me, among others, and made our lives a living hell. I hope, wherever they are now, they’ve all experienced their fair share of natural disasters.

I don’t like talking about school much, just like I hated attending it then. School was a horror for me, but I outgrew it; I survived it. I would never let someone get away with that kind of behavior now. In fact, I’ve even stopped the neighborhood kids from bullying others when I chanced to see it on the street. I know, in the long run, I didn’t save that kid any hardship, and I probably only made the next day’s taunting worse for him, but at least that kid had one day’s respite and he knew he wasn’t alone. Eventually, bullies grow up, just like their targets. We all have to face the harsh realities of the real world someday. The difference is that the kids who are bullied, I think, are better equipped to handle it. If they can survive it, bullying only makes the victims stronger while it makes the bullies weak.