When I was in grade 4 my parents moved my sister and I to a private school. We started just after March break and it was great for the first while. There were about 17 kids in my class and 6 were girls too. They were really nice, but they all warned me that in grade 5, when I wasn't new anymore, the other girls would totally ignore me. They claimed that they would still be my friend. The girls in my class were very judgmental about public schools. They thought that public school was filled with delinquents, that every window was barred and that kids would bring guns to school. It also didn’t help that I grew up in an area that was thought to be very rough (not true). It really hurt me when they said this, but they didn’t listen. It was around this time that my sister was diagnosed with OCD, and that meant that my parents focused more on her. I don’t blame them for it, but it seemed that they never really had time for me. My sister would also have periods where she would kind of break down and act kind of, well, crazy. I was so scared and I didn’t have anyone to talk to. I had to listen to her ramble convinced of something outrageous. I’ll admit, I was ashamed and angry. It seemed like I always had to act like the big sister, all responsible and protective, even though I was a year and a half younger. I remember my sister yelling at me, saying that she wanted to act like the bigger sister. The worst part is I’m the only one in my family who still remembers it. In grade 5 all the girls in my class started to act funny. They would be my friend one day, hate me the next and the day after act like I didn’t exist. This was the beginning of a really rough time for me. I tried to talk to my parents but it seemed like they were always busy or they would make excuses for my classmates, saying “oh, I’m sure they’re just being girls”. I began to pull into myself. Reading had always been, and still is, one of my favorite activities. I began to read all the time. It was the only way I could escape my life and all the hurt. I would read up to 5 books a day. I barely spoke to anyone for 2 years. I felt helpless and like I had no one to talk to. I began to think that if I was only prettier or thinner the others girls would like me. I found myself kneeling over the toilet, about to stick my fingers down my throat many times. Luckily, I never became bulimic or anorexic. It was also during this time that I began to receive hate-mail from my classmates. My school, being private and therefor “better”, had a way to check emails to see if there was inappropriate content. They never caught these emails. Whenever I would look at them I would start to cry. My parents never thought of my behavior as odd or unusual. I cried myself to sleep almost every night. Then, one day in grade 6 when I was at a local ski hill with my family, a girl I had known quite well came up to me. She began to tell me about this wonderful junior high (we start junior high in grade 7 where I live) she was going to attend. It had a French immersion and a technology program. I literally thought “this sounds like the only place that could convince my parents to move me”. I had a hard time convincing my parents to move me there. Even worse, I had a hard time convincing myself. I was so scared that the next place might be worse. I started there and everything was okay, I guess. I knew some people, but I never quite felt like I was totally accepted. They never really tried to include me. There were some nice people in my class, but I was too self-conscious and afraid to talk to them. There was one girl, who is now one of my best friends, who I thought was totally stuck up. Turns out she thought the same of me! I took a lot of time, but now things are looking up. I still sometimes battle with self-deprecating thoughts, but now I have a lot of people I can go to.
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