Whenever I reflect on my grade school and high school days I am still shocked that someone can be labeled and treated as an outcast as young as third grade - in a Catholic grade school. I wasn't strange looking or skinny or fat. I didn't wear thick glasses nor was I poor or rich or any different from any of my classmates. I just simply transferred from public to private school in third grade. The friendships and cliques were already defined. I was 'odd man out'. I hadn't received my first holy communion yet and couldn't participate in the holy day rituals with my classmates. I was the tallest/oldest kid to receive holy communion with the 2nd graders a year later than my peers. I was incessantly made fun of and ignored all the way through grade school up to graduation day in 8th grade. I survived being alone on the playground, being slapped by other girls and taunted every time a teacher left the classroom for 5 years. There were times I grabbed my coat and left the classroom, even during exams, to walk home. The only reason I went to the high school I did was because no one else in my class would be going there and they teased me that I probably would pick that all girls' high school instead of a co-ed high school. In high school I was something of an outcast because of jealousy. I grew into an attractive young woman. I wasn't part of the 'in crowd' or any of the cliques. But high school wasn't as unpleasant as grade school. I just grew to be an introvert who was too uncomfortable to reach out and be sociable. I have no childhood friends, no high school friends and no college friends that I keep in contact with. So, I often wonder what that's like to have old, long-time friends to laugh with about growing up together. Fortunately, I am old enough to have friends now for 20 and 30 years that I've made as an adult. Having this space to share my experience allows me to finally, after 50 years to let go of it all. My chest is lighter. This treatment by others is no longer part of the definition of who I am. It's who 'they' were. I always was and still am okay. The bruises have healed.
By writing some words below, you are showing your support and letting everyone know they're not alone.