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This Was Then, This Still Is Now. This work is considered exceptional by our editorial staff.

It was last Friday. Friday, November 9, 2012. I looked down at the book, and the words stood out, black against the white page, their meaning ringing in my ears, black amidst all of the white noise.

The book was a collection of authors writing about their experiences of being bullied. it's called Dear Bully, and I strongly suggest that you read it. It might help, give you strength. Or it might bring you down, like it did to me. Because, there, in that book, an author described her bullies as acting like my friends. And another described himself as having the same perspective of life as me. And it scared me.

The first thing I thought was "My friends aren't bullies, they love me, and trust me. They care about me." and then I thought.

I thought about the times that I sat at another lunch table, because I couldn't stand them whispering behind their hands at the other end .

I thought about the times they made me feel sick to my stomach when I approached them, because I knew that they would carry on their conversation without acknowledging me.

I thought about when I asked them to listen to me, they always changed the subject.

About how they laughed off what they did, calling it 'just teasing.'

About how I was so scared of the effects of that 'just teasing' that I had anxiety attacks walking to school.

And about how I'd always felt that as long as I kept the real me hidden, I would be spared from real insults, because they weren't for 'the real me'.

And that I was s scared of being alone that I wouldn't let myself love anyone, even if I wanted to. I brushed off those 'moments of weakness' so that I would seem strong to them, strong with no cracks in my emotions to hurt me with.

I was scared reading that, because it made me realize those little voices hidden deep in me were right. And it made me sad, that my friends weren't really the friends I read about in books. Because ignoring and singling out weren't parts of friendship.

But most of all, it's making me strong, because I know that one day my friends will be just that, friends, people I can trust with my secrets, people that will help me to be not alone.

I'm different from the authors that wrote in that book though, because that book was a way for them to get the last laugh, their way to reflect. But I'm living this, living this right now, with no chance for a last laugh, because the next day I'm right back in the ring. I'm different because my chance to escape hasn't arrived, the last chance hasn't left the station yet, hell it hasn't even arrived yet.

But one day I will. I'll jump on that last train, and it'll speed past them, and I'll look out the window and flip them off. Not yet. But one day I will. And that gives me hope. But for now, it's still now. And one day it'll be then.



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