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i graduated from a performing arts school that had just opened the school year 06-07. the decision to leave my regular high school with all of my old friends and my regular school activities was difficult, but i was really interested in the writing program that the performing arts school was offering.
my little sister, initially, was the one who was checking the school out. she was going to go there for digital arts/ photography. that's how i found out about their writing program.
when i decided i liked this new school, i decided to switch.
at first i was very confident in myself and looking forward to meeting all of the new people at the school. i was looking forward to finally being in an environment where being creative was encouraged, instead of looked down upon. my old high school ritually made fun of the "art" people and made minimal effort to try to make things like writing, drawing, orchestra, etc. as important as sports.
i was excited to go to the performing arts school, at first.
that was before i met L****. we'll just call him L.
he was a smart kid. quiet. he dressed oddly- in tight pants and a black jacket and shoes that had been scribbled all over with some sort of marker. he never changed his clothes or bathed or even brushed his teeth. i remember his body odor- distinctly.
L's writing was very... politically influenced. his poems would utilize imagery like "ripped through the heads of presidents" or "the halls of Columbine ran red." i can't remember exactly what his poems were about. i just remember that he would talk alot about things that were going on now, or things that had happened in the past. politics and history was very important to him.
there was another kid there, R****, who was astoundingly smart. (we'll just call him R). he was very outspoken and very funny. extremely well-read.
i am not sure if they were aware of it, but R and L intimidated the hell out of me. they just seemed so, so much more aware of the world than i was. when they became friends and hung out with eachother every day, i overheard their conversations. they were so, so smart! R was so well-read and L was so informed of current events- and they were both so witty and intelligent.
my confidence in myself was breaking- fast. i was getting more and more nervous to go to this school, everyday. it affected my writing. but, more importantly, it affected my view of myself. i felt inferior to everyone in that school. i remember looking around me and thinking, "what the hell am i doing here? i don't belong here! i've been under a damn rock my whole life! i don't know anything!"
i couldn't enjoy anything, anymore. every single day, L would say something rude and condescending to me. every single goddamn day. i think he had sensed that my self-esteem was diminishing, and he was verbally/mentally abusing me as a way to feel better about himself.
i was not the only person that he would bully. but i was around L and R alot. i liked R because he was nice to me and funny. i felt like i could talk to him. anytime L was around, though, i just sat there.
i made no friends at that new school. except, maybe, R.
the only thing that i had made at that new school were some really, really bad habits. i still ritually criticize myself the way L did. it's been six years since i graduated and my feelings of self-worth and self-esteem are extremely, extremely low. it's been 5 years since i was sexually assaulted.
i have been extremely, extremely depressed lately. my thoughts have been so, so negative. i have been thinking things like, "i don't see the point in me recovering from the sexual assault. i don't deserve to recover- i'm not good enough."
or, "i deserve to have friends. i'm fucking worthless and boring and stupid and annoying and there's reasons why everybody hates me."
i have GOT to stop allowing L's words to control me. i have GOT to.
it hasn't really occured to me until this morning... how much power that kid has on me.
at the beginning of the school year at the performing arts school, i was hopeful, optimistic, and i liked myself.
at the end of the school year, i looked forward to nothing. i was pessimistic and depressed. i hated myself.
i even had false beliefs like- i need to read every single book because i am not well-read. i need to be informed on everything that is going on in the world because i am so ignorant and i need to know everything.
it has been years since i read a book for my own enjoyment. i used to love to read! it has been years since i really have been able to just write, and express myself for the hell of it.
when i try to write nowadays, i still feel L over my shoulder, criticizing every single word of my poem.
at one point in the school year, he had said to me, "this is the worst poem i have ever read."
i am going to just list the things he has said to me. i don't know. i feel the need to get it out. maybe if i get all of that stuff out on here... i'll be able to combat them, when i repeat them in my head. cognitive therapy. he said all of these things to me, six years ago. i still, to this day, repeat these things to myself, ritually. i still have his face in my head, very clearly. his frown- his monotone voice- i still hear it! i HAVE TO get this guy out of my head.
"you are so lame."
"i'll say something and then you'll smile and laugh as if you know what i'm talking about."
"yeah. like you have friends."
"everybody likes your poems but i am not going to like your poem because i am not like them."
"you act like you own poetry."
"she's catatonic." ---this was when i'd start freezing up around him, terrified to say anything or even move.
"you'll most likely grow up to be a cat lady."
i feel ridiculous writing this stuff down. i feel like, it's nothing. i feel stupid right now. i feel petty.
but at the same time... i need to acknowledge how much L tore at my self-esteem and even my self-worth. that is important. that isn't stupid or petty at all. that is a valid thing.
what he was doing to me and other people was wrong. it was wrong. i don't know why he felt the need to verbally abuse people. i was around him alot. i don't know if anybody else in the school was as shattered as i was by his bullying.
i don't know how to feel right now... i feel like he's sitting right next to me or something. i feel like i'm freezing up again. my limbs are stiffening.
i did not deserve to be treated like that. i did not deserve to be treated like that. no one deserves to be treated like that. his words are his problem.
his words should not be a part of my life anymore. i am stronger than his words.