My Mental Locker

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When one is told to identify bullying, it is hard to know what it looks like. On the surface, it doesn’t look like anything. However, the bully likes to make his or her victim feel alone. You learn that bullies aren’t the people who physically shove you into your locker. They force you there mentally, and shut the door, leaving you feeling trapped.
In my experience in middle school, my best friend ended up being my tormenter, sometimes online, mostly in person. Kids and parents didn’t catch on to her right away because she got good grades and never hurt people directly. At parties, she socialized, laughed and enjoyed herself. Afterward, with just the two of us, she decided to tell me that other kids don’t want me around, and they think I act like a three year old. Despite the fact that I knew her for so long, she excluded me when she had other people over by playing games she knew I wasn’t very good at or didn’t like.
Since the girl knew me for so many years before, she knew my interests and my pet peeves, taking advantage of both at every opportunity.
I loved Cartoon Network and Disney. She often told me I was “weird,” and that I shouldn’t still like those things. For the next year, if I wanted to watch certain movies or listen to pop songs, I wondered if it was okay to like it. According to her, everything I liked was either stupid or for kids.
She knew I hated it when someone jumped out at me from corners. So, she frequently did exactly that with other friends who didn’t know me. When I got mad, she told me that I had “anger issues.” Seeing my negative reactions gave her incentive to insult me to her other friends, while I was still within earshot. By herself, she supported me. With people she deemed cooler, she let me fall.
Eventually, she stopped being my friend altogether because “I talked about her behind her back so much.” At the time I wondered what I did wrong.
It turns out that at her house, her mom suffered from breast cancer, (who later survived.) Even though her mom went to chemo, the girl still had to participate in two sports, finish her homework, and make time for friends. She also felt the need to compare herself to her friends. When she did not measure up, she put her friend down. I now know why she was a bully. It’s still no excuse.
Meanwhile, others thought of me as “childish,” “weird,” and “angry,” partially because of her, and partially because I didn’t fit in to begin with, so I didn’t have many friends during middle school. Then one night, I sat at my home computer and began clicking at the keyboard. With words, I couldn’t be alone. They listened. My hobbies definitely helped me the most. I kept several notebooks, and now want to study writing in college.
I never forgot this girl. Now, I make a point to listen as much as ppossiblye. I want to be the sympathetic ear that I didn’t have.
I failed to conform also. She tried to shove me in my mental locker, but she never locked it. I never quite fit in, but I learned to accept that more in high school. I’d rather be the plot twist than the best cliché.





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