This week has been rough. I feel like I’m always saying something like that, and sometimes, I find myself wondering when it’s going to just stop for a little bit. Sometimes, I bottle it all up because I get tired of having to explain myself, or worse yet, battle that internal struggle of “When is one more thing too much? When are these people just going to stop listening and walk away? Would I want to deal with me like this?”
I’ve battled that internal struggle for years, really. Well before adulthood and all of the interesting things that come along with it started slapping me in the face. I think the first time I realized it, I was about ten years old. My family had just moved, and we had to take these tests to determine which school we’d go to because there were several in our area. Me and my brother ended up testing into a certain school, and we were both placed into what they called the ‘Gifted and Talented’ program. I was excited, because we’d never been to a school that had something like that before, and I thought, “Wow. These people will be more understanding. This is going to be awesome.”
And parts of it were. My day consisted of the usual regular subjects, and then, at the end of the day, students in the GaT program had options for ~extras. These were programs and classes that the school didn’t offer to all its students. They had special instructors come in at the end of the day, and that last half of our day was taken up with learning something new and different and fun. One semester, I took interpretive dance. Another, I took a vocal class (to prepare us for if we wanted to enter the choral program when we hit middle school, see?) And I tried to focus on those things, because they were positives. But outside of that, school was hell. I’d made a friend that summer through softball. Her dad had Cerebral Palsy too, and he was the first person I’d ever met like myself. He was our coach, and his daughter was four days younger than me. We gravitated to each other, and I was so glad when I saw her in my class that year. Even with that friend, the next two years of my life were a veritable hell. The other kids would pretend to be my friend for a little while and then spread horrible rumors through school. If I had a bad day and told one of these “friends”, everyone knew. They’d call my house dozens of times, ask my mom if I was home, and then hang up when I got on the phone. They’d invite me out to do things and then not show up. If they managed to make me cry, they’d laugh and snicker about it and tease me for the rest of the day. If my mom could tell I was upset at the end of the day, I’d lie and tell her my legs were bothering me, because I didn’t want her stepping in and making it worse.
But I had that one little girl in class with me. The one who never judged me, or made up rumors about me or my legs. The one who invited me places or insisted I come to sleepovers who actually seemed to want me there. The one who would call my house to tell me to “make something up and get here quick, my parents are dancing disco in the living room!” And she was amazing. We are still friends to this day, though we haven’t talked in a while, but the truth is, that’s where it started. She is the one I leaned on, the one person I knew I could trust, and that’s when that little voice was born. The one that told me that eventually, she’d get tired of my shit. Eventually, she wouldn’t want to be my friend anymore. Eventually, she’d simply stop wanting to deal with me because I was “too much.” And even though time has proven that wrong, that little voice still comes up now and again, especially when I’m having a hard time dealing with something.
And considering I feel like I’ve been having a “hard time with something” a lot lately, that voice has been rearing its head again, and me? I’ve been doing my damnedest to fill my day with whatever I can to not focus on it. See, I know somewhere in the back of my mind that the voice is a liar. But in times like these, it’s hard to acknowledge that. Because stuff like what happened to me when I was a little girl? It continued to happen through high shcool. It continued until they told me, “Hey, don’t worry, when you reach college, people will be more mature and understanding. Except that wasn’t exactly the case either. College just meant that the rumors were worse. College just meant that the bullies were a bit smarter and ten times more cruel than they’d ever been before. Instead of rumors about my legs, it was “let’s tell her significant other she’s cheating with ____” or “let’s leave horrible messages on her dorm room door for everyone to see.” It was posts on my social media and my blog telling me to kill myself. It got so bad then that I’d get in the elevator to head to class and have a panic attack. I couldn’t sleep. I started telling myself things like “maybe they’re right?” or “no one would notice if I wasn’t here anymore.”
And then, I started getting help. I started talking to someone. When I was diagnosed with depression, I just laughed and said “Well, duh.” I started making my circle smaller, and smaller. Cutting people out of my life and slowly, cautiously, inviting new people in. I started learning how to talk back to that little voice and tell it to shove a sock in it. I started learning how to stand up for myself, even if just a little bit… and I started to feel better. That doesn’t mean bad things don’t happen. It doesn’t mean that people still can’t get to me. It doesn’t mean that the little voice in the back of my head is gone. I’ve been hearing it a lot lately, whispering, trying to make me feel like I’m some kind of burden.
And I got to thinking about some advice Master Leylan once gave me about a certain person I’ve spoken about here before who shall remain nameless. He said: “You tell her to fuck off. You just make sure you enunciate like a fucking lady.”
And so, when I find myself feeling like this, that’s what I do. I tell that little voice to fuck off. And you know what? Most of the time, it works pretty damn good. Just sayin’. Just keep doing that. Make it your mantra, your anthem if you have to.
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