…..When I was younger I was picked on relentlessly. I was so pathetic, that even a foster kid, who was probably experiencing the shit-hole we sometimes call a foster-care system, would degrade me, and this was what, head-start, kindergarten?
My friends were the kids on the edges of society. They were poor; their families struggled. We played in dirt fields, covered in broken metal parts. We played in the streets, that is until I moved, and had to make new friends all over again. And with each new place, it was the same routine. I wasn’t good enough, I wasn’t one of them. I was fat. I was lazy. I was a loser. I was poor. I was pathetic. I was dirty. I was stupid.
As I got older, the insults became more creative. I was a fat-cow now. I was white trailer park trash. I was ugly. I was a pathetic excuse for a person. I was still stupid. My friends were still the outsiders. We clung to each other, yet we constantly stabbed each other in the back. Anything to gain power in a small verse that didn’t belong to us. But in the end it was all the same.
I was different. I was a passing ghost. I was invisible.
I get easily excited, to the point where it overwhelms me and I have to either let it out, or be reduced to awkward moments and wrong words. My emotions were always extreme, so it was hard growing up with this mental torment. I grew up angry. I grew up with hatred. I grew up with self-loathing.
I remember in 7th grade, someone calling me and telling me that there was a rumor that I had slept with this guy and that I was a slut. I sat there crying on the phone to my friend, Tina we will call her, because I could not figure out what the hell I did to deserve the wrath of the world around me. I was scared, and hurt, and after a while…I exploded. I became violent, vengeful. I put up with the constant bullying, and cruelty, to the point where I would snap, and snap I would. I was written up every year, from 4th grade to 8th grade, for getting into fights. Just one, but it was enough to make it clear that I would get physical with anyone who pushed me to the breaking point. But they kept pushing, and as I got older, the cruelty became worse.
Locker doors slammed onto my fingers.
My face pushed into lockers.
Slammed down to the floor from behind.
Thrown elbows during gym class.
Ganged up in the street, surrounded so I couldn’t run away.
Beat up for sticking up for my brother.
I grew to hate the saying, “Sticks and Stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”
What a crock of shit.
“Your gay because no fucking man would want to touch your disgusting ass”
“You aren’t worth the shit I spit at”
“You are nothing you fucking fat dyke”
“You’d be better off dead, so no one would have to look at your ugly face ever again”
A good logophile knows how dangerous words can be. I can convince you, without ever lifting a finger, that your life is worthless, and that dying is the best choice. I can convince you, all the wrong that you are, and have you swallowing pills or slitting your wrists.
With words, I can have you begging for death.
Sticks and Stones break bones. Words can kill.
They break spirits, and leave people behind, weakened and beaten, without ever leaving a bruise. Words echo loudly in memories and thoughts. I remember clearly, the kid who told me that he could cure me with his dick, and laughed in my face about it. I remember the laughing words of the 15 year old boy, who beat me up when I was 10. I remember the last words my father whispered to me before he abandoned me because he was a coward.
So it is very understandable, after years of abuse, of bullying, that still has not stopped, that I do not place faith in the kind words of my friends. People come and go in life, and my life was a rotating door for friends, many of them who didn’t leave before they shoved a knife deep into my body. Lies, betrayal, hatred, all the sounds of a great melodrama, were the sounds of my early socialized relations.
So I beg forgiveness, as I suddenly find myself surrounded by people who seem to care, that my skepticism runs rampant and filled with jaded perception. I don’t do love well. I don’t do praise well. I don’t understand why people would miss me, or care if I was gone. I don’t understand why people have stuck in my life, when my life was filled with darkness, coldness, and ugly.
I dream of fantastical experiences, where I walk into a room and everyone in the room is there to see me. To have people run up to me, screaming my name, as they grab me as if they hadn’t seen me ten minutes before. I dream of homecoming surprises where people cry just to see me. I fantasize, because for 18 years, I never knew what it meant to have a friend love you so much that they would drop their life to help you.
I never understood it when some of those fantasies became realities.
When a friend drove in the middle of the night, to make sure I didn’t finally commit suicide.
When a friend texted me randomly, to tell me that I had a purpose in this world.
When a friend begs me to come home, because missing me is too much to handle.
When they cried when I left.
When they stuck around after the rest of the world abandoned me during my ugliest time.
I didn’t understand. I still don’t.
I don’t understand that kind of love. I’m waiting for the punch-line. I’m waiting for the yoke in my face. Because it always happened. Because I never felt worth it. Because I wasn’t.
People think I’m fishing for compliments when I ask my friends what it is about me that they stick around for. But I’m not. I never do because I simply don’t understand what they see, or why they think I’m worth something. I doubt that I will ever be able to see it; I’m waiting for the next knife, the next jab of hatred. I’m waiting for some host to jump out and scream gotcha. I’m waiting for them to join the others as they point, and laugh. I’m waiting.
I don’t understand what they mean by my voice. I started this blog because they said I had something to say, and I never understand what they said I had to say. I don’t. I’m blessed to be surrounded by beautiful souls, and even though I am constantly waiting for their light to leave me once they see the real me, I am grateful for their warmth.
But more importantly, I am grateful for their words.
One thought on “Sticks and Stones Were the Games We Played”
Thank you for you words.