Before my parents split when I was 9, I was a little shit of a kid. I knew everyone in the neighborhood and did nothing but play, play, play. I had a ton of friends and never had to play alone. Life was fanfuckingtastic before I was 9.
And then when the rents split that first time (they didn't finalize their divorce till I was 15!!), it messed up my mojo big time. They didn't explain anything to me; my older brother and sister seemed to know what was happening, the rest of the family seemed to know what was going on... everyone but little me. So I was left to think that my family's demise was a result of something I did. (This is a true story. So if you or your loved ones ever find yourself in a place of getting divorced and you have kids, be sure to reiterate to those kids that it's NOT their fault and that no matter what happens, you both love them. Tell them this over and over again. FFS, you cannot tell your children enough that you love them. Even when they don't want to hear. TELL THEM.) And that, in turn, made an introvert out of me.
By the time I was 10, I went from private to public school and lost all the friends I had ever known. And when I was on the cusp of turning 13, my mom did it to me again- moved me to the next town over and made me start a new school. (My older sister was in the Air Force at this time, and my brother was basically living with his best friend.)
And that's when my life really changed. I couldn't make new friends no matter how hard I tried. I was the new girl starting 8th grade. All my classmates grew up together and here I was stepping into it and I didn't know how to do it so I crawled deeper into my shell.
About two months into the school year, I was walking home with the only person who would talk to me- a skinny girl the others teased and called "Skeletor." The apartment we were living in was a good half mile away from where this girl lived and as I turned down the alley to make my way home, a group of my classmates chased me until they all circled around me.
There was probably 10 kids- girls and boys, including one of the boys I fancied at the time (because of his long hair and bad attitude, of course). They all shouted words at me, calling me names, asking me why I thought I was so tough. They crowded in and circled around me. There was no escape from them. It was like I was in some bad after school movie. I became a mute out of the sheer shock of it all, I think. Thoughts of dying in the alley entered my mind... and I wondered how long it would take to be found. Would my mother come home that evening? Or would she come home so late and drunk that she wouldn't notice till the next day that I was missing? At least my miserable life would no longer have to go on.
Finally, one of them snatched my back pack off my shoulder and the boy I fancied threw it further in to the alley and, like the lost puppy I pretty much was, I chased after it, breaking free from the circle. (I like to believe that boy did that on purpose because he knew it was the only way I'd get out of the middle of it... I like to think he may have fancied me a bit, too, as he would talk to me on occasion when nobody else was around- and he'd do so in a normal fashion instead of being a snatchrocket like the rest of them.)
I remember running all the way home that day and feverishly locking the doors behind me, and then going to each and every window (basement apartment) to ensure they were all locked as well. That's when I finally un-muted myself and started screaming and crying hysterically as I ran around like some wounded animal in the cold, dark apartment all by myself.
That was the first and last time I cried to my mom- when she finally got home late that evening- and begged her to move again or to let me stay home from school. Not only did we not move (for a whopping year), but she drove me to school the next day (the one and only time she ever did that) so that I didn't have to wait in line in the playground before the bell rang and school started. I remember sitting in the car in silence watching all the kids run around the playground until the bell rang, and once most everyone was in school, I got out of the car and followed them (only to be met by the boy I fancied who did a double take look when he saw me, before giving me a very gentle smile and nod of approval...or at least that's how I remember it).
I finished that school year the same way I started it- alone and even more of an introvert. And in the middle of the freshman year of high school, we moved again and I would never see any of those fucking brats again... yet, 25+ years later, I still remember them. I may not remember their names, but I can still see the faces and hear the words and feel the pain that enveloped me that day.
So help me if something like this ever happens to my kid... or if I ever find out she becomes one of the bulliers.
That's why it was so easy for me to jump on this Pledge... The Mom Pledge... a fantastic idea that I hope really flourishes! If you're a "Mommy Blogger" you really should check it out- and take the pledge, too!