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I can honestly say it all started back right in that summer between 5th and 6th grade. That was the year my two best friends left my small, isolated, insignificant catholic school to go a greater, bigger, better public school-basically leaving me in the dust. It’s not like they were any less of my friends for leaving, it’s just that I wouldn’t have them around as much anymore. That was also the summer my friendship with Alexis hit its peak.
Alexis was a sweet girl. She was kind and considerate, and charmingly shy, having that certain likeable quality that distinguishes her above other people. I was friends with her and her older sister Tammie, and her younger brother Mark for a while also. We had great time’s together, laughs, and memories that actually guided me to be the person I am today. However all of that died the day Alexis decided to step out of her shy personal bubble, and make friends with another girl on our street, Mallory.
It was there that it spawned. Our friendship was like the tiniest rowboat stuck out in the Atlantic Ocean in the middle of a hurricane. Can you guess who the rowboat was?
It was the worst three years of my life. Our little gang consisting of Alexis, Mallory, Mark, Tammie, Lorian (Mallory’s older brother), Mia (another girl who lived on our street), and me-we called ourselves “the neighborhood.” Inside our little “neighborhood” gang there were horrible fights, were in the end I would find that in some way I did something horrible wrong and I needed to go suck up to Mallory, and everyone else. For a while I had a crush on Lorian . . . well he ended up finding out and making fun of me for it. We would play “games” were I was always beat up, or injured in some way. Granted others got injured too, but there was one certain person who never got injured. Can you guess who? (hint; Mallory) Can you guess why? (Hint; because she was doing the injuring)
There were also mean jokes. Some were weird and sexual, like noises, crazy laughing and screaming. I laughed but I never played along. Others were physical violent jokes were Mallory would throw us around like ragdolls, but if we retaliated she would cry and blame us. (mainly me) Then there were the jokes only directed at me. There were racist jokes about me being Jewish, Chinese, or a ginger(nothing wrong with those nationalities, it’s just that they used them in a mean way against me, as cruel joke they could laugh at). There were the ones that they called me a mean name, and then the ones that just hurt my pride in such a way . . . I don’t know if it’ll ever heal. Every day I would come home from school and hang out with these kids and it would just end up being a rant about how awful I am, and how life would be so much better without me. I never really took notice at first, but after days and days of the endless pain and suffering and torture, I actually started to believe what I was hearing to the point where I thought I was nothing more than the earth I walked on, and every single idea or opinion I had was stupid and that everyone around me would laugh.
I know what you’re thinking. Why endure that for three years? Why not tell someone, or get help? First off, I didn’t even know what was going on in my life. To me this was how normal friends behaved. It was like a cult, where every day was spent sucking up to Mallory or the others in some way. Sometimes I did fight back, but it just caused more pain. It got the point where I was too scared to let go, too scared to speak my mind about what was happening to me, and too young to know the difference between good friends and bad ones.
Those guys were the only friends I had. If I had somehow managed to stop hanging out with them, and be on my own, I would have been totally alone. I would have rather died then been alone back then. My parents would tell me every single day that without friends, I would be miserable and lonely. I never questioned it. However now that I think back, if I had left the neighborhood early would all the abuse I had suffered, just go away? Or would it have the same kind of affect on me as it does now?
I still live with those insecurities, faults, and am scared to speak out. I get embarrassed really easily because I am always so scared of doing something wrong. I handle my problems like I would if I was still dealing with the neighborhood, overly aggressive. I was actually even bullying someone for a month in a half to make myself feel a little better. I have nowhere to turn to talk to someone about this. I have tried telling my parents, but they don’t understand, so they would get angry. It’s too late now anyway, because I am a sophomore in high school, and have been battling these things for years. If told someone now, what difference would it make?
Whenever I think about it I get physically ill and dizzy from the stress. Not to mention the new problems I have in High School. I think the only thing I have going for me now, is the tough attitude I have. I have the kind of mentality that tells me, just suck it up and deal with it, whatever you’re mad, sad, or hurt about isn’t that important, so just chill. I don’t get mad all that easily anyway. I spend most of my time talking other people down. (High School Drama 101)
Third, not all of the “neighborhood’s” times were bad. We had some really awesome memories that will stick with me wherever I go. We did play a lot of great games that brought out the best in everyone, even Mallory, because these games required athletic ability and we all had loads of energy to kill. However there were games about pain, pain that I can never forget but most of all the fear of those games, a great amounting terror that haunts me still.
To be honest I think it will always haunt me. Wherever I go in life there will always be a point where I will look back on this, and grimace in pain. The scars I have gained will never heal. However faults in my personality I believe will eventually start to heal overtime. I will admit that I am still learning about myself, and what I am truly like. (My middle school years were taken by intimidation and fear into what I was) However I think through all of this I grew stronger. I don’t let stupid petty things get to me like they used to. If people try to be mean, or intimidate me, I fight back, and defend myself. I am tougher. I am stronger. I survived.