Quiet people still have a lot going on in their heads, if not more so.

Aren’t I good enough?

God knows, I try

And I thought I knew

                              But now I do

I am not loved

         Nor liked

I am not a person

        But food

For the sharks

Some words from a poem I wrote a long time ago. This poem is painful to read, partly because it is a poem I wrote when I was 16/17 and my writing has changed since then.

I did not understand when I was younger why people could be so horrible. Now I am older, I realise bullies are people that are hurting and having power over someone can be addictive.

I would say that I have never been bullied, because I did not think what had happened to me could be classed as bullying. People in school just didn’t like me. I was so sensitive as a child, I was completely passive and would not speak to people. I did not retaliate and so that attracted people, who would say things and push me around.

I grew up believing that I was worthless. I become so fixated on why I did not have friends. Why are friendships so hard for me to make and to maintain? What is wrong with me? I seemed to have different friends every term or school year. I struggled with boundaries, and holding a conversation, in relationships. I had a mindset that relationships are based on what I can give to a person, so that they will stick around. That’s something I grew up with and it isn’t easy to erase.  Even now if a group of people are laughing near me, I will instantly think it is me they are laughing at. I thought I was weird and had something wrong with me. That’s why I spent many years trying to be like everyone else, thinking if I like what they do and listen to the same music they do, etc., then maybe I will magically start to fit in. You know, when there’s a clingy child at playgroup and an adult is trying to get them to play or is finding another child to draw them into a group? I was that child. Except I wasn’t too clingy, I was so independent. I was happy doing my own thing and reading books, making up stories.

I am an adult now and I appreciate these days that universal popularity probably isn’t that great, not everyone is going to like me, and I am not going to like certain people. It’s more difficult with learning social skills and trying to tell myself I am worthy. I still believe if people are treating me like shit, it is because I am shit and not because that person could be having a bad day or whatever. I remember being in my first romantic relationship, and he was horrible, but he withdrew his love whenever he felt like it and it would be devastating because I thought this was someone who loves me unconditionally. Don’t use love like that, it’s cruel.  

I think the takeaway is it’s a lot of effort to be someone who you are not. Shame erodes confidence. I don’t think any of the teachers in school gave me useful advice, they didn’t tell me differences are what make us individuals and there’s nothing wrong with being someone who is more reserved and quiet. Quiet people still have a lot going on in their heads, if not more so. If the people around me built me up and let me be me, I could have shrugged off what the bullies made me feel because I would have inherently known that they were talking shit. As it was, they shaped my character.

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