It started when I was born a girl and handed to another family. A very Christian family. It built as I entered school and earned myself a seat in the ranks of quiet onlookers. It continued as boys and girls alike began to understand what little of the world they could when their ages were barely double digits. I was mocked for being a Christian. For carrying a mini composition book in my pencil bag to write my random inspiration in. For being too trusting. For not having an older sister present to teach me how to dress and act.
I was pegged as a target for pranks, games, and teasing. Someone who could take it and would still be your friend.
I always thought I was different. A black sheep in the family and my tight-knit group of friends. It wasn’t because I was adopted, because my sister (who is also adopted) has always fit in quite nicely. I just can’t seem to blend in with the crowd like I so desperately want to.
But I’ve clung to my groups all my life. I needed them. I still need them. All my life I’ve been ridiculed, pinched, poked, and prodded, and I still need them.
The same friends who defended me against the sick boys who laughed at me for being a Christian took up the habit of stealing my lunch and passing it around the table until I only had less than 10 minutes to eat. They often ganged up on me; whatever one said, the other swiftly followed. So, I left my usual lunch table to sit with my best friend who had long abandoned us for her new GT friends. (GT is an advanced program for kids in elementary and middle school who get bored in Pre-AP and regular classes) I had no place there. I was stuck. It was a small table even before I arrived, and I was just a desperate middle school-er taking a regulars spot.
Boyfriends came and went in grade school, monopolizing on my romantic nature and sweet disposition. I was used, abused, and manipulated. I was ridiculed yet again by the people I placed my absolute trust in. One even got bored with me because I wouldn’t Skype him at all hours of the night and left me for a few days to pursue another girl. I forgave him and took him back, only to find out a few days later he had tried to ask out one of my friends. I desperately wanted love. I forgave them. I was infatuated.
My opinion never mattered. Not even in my family. I was so sheltered, I didn’t really know much anyway..only what I had read and analyzed in my books. As I grew I even started sleeping in a tiny ball on the very edge of the bed so as to not bother my sleeping partner. I never got any sleep unless I slept alone. Being the introverted, nerdy, sheltered girl I am, I’ve been attached to the internet for a while. I spent hours on the kitchen desktop, posting to Facebook and exploring the webs while my mom cooked. One time we got a virus that downloaded fake porn apps to the computer, and my mom was furious because she didn’t believe I would never do something like that. In the Chat-Roulette/Justin.TV era, I found people around the world who never teased me like my “true” friends did, but instead talked to me as if I was an actual person who felt things. I was respected. My opinion mattered. My obsession with the internet and the world progressed.
After being the forgotten girl in a crowd of loud Theatre kids in High School, and constantly trying to find validation from parents who just couldn’t sympathize with my ever-growing awareness of the world, I was ecstatic to find a troop of true friends who understood me. I idolized them as gifts from God to make up for the constant struggle. Safe havens. I forgave them every time they pranked me as a collective. I forgave them when they made me feel like a child. I forgave them when they discounted my feelings. Summer came and I was the only one crippled by the separation, despite the shit I had dealt with throughout the year. I tried daily to keep conversations up, because I missed them and wanted to stay in their lives. I realized I was the only one trying. I was the only one trying, and when I did I only got rude remarks back. I stopped trying. It only took a few days of analyzing my past year to understand that recognize the patterns I had lived with my whole life. Even in college, we were still playing childish games, and I was still extremely naive.
I have yet to find more than 3 people who see me as more than entertainment. More than the giggly, blonde girl who is nice to everyone. I study and read to learn about the world. I have opinions. They matter. I contemplate life and enjoy the views and experiences Earth has to give me. 3 people have tried to dive deeper to witness those moments.
If there’s respect, I don’t see it. If there’s understanding, it isn’t being applied. As a Christian trying to follow in the path of Jesus, I’ve tried to live a life full of love and selflessness, and the only thing I get out of it is abuse of that trait. This is my wake up call. If you’re an outsider who can relate to these instances, you should wake up too. My advice? Find reciprocation. It’s draining to give and give without anything in return. You will burn yourself out. I’m burned out. Something needs to change.