Why I Can’t be Me
The teen sat in her room. It was a school night and after a not so pleasant talk with someone she wished to travel into a dream.
She layed down and tried to sleep, only to manage tossing and turning, images from her childhood taking over.
The first was when she was around 7 or 8, she wasn't completely sure.
The 7 year old her skipped over to a little boy. "Have you seen my best friend?" She asked as she looked around him for her friend.
He laughed, "what best friend?"
"Olivia," 7 year old her said in a duh tone.
"She's hiding from you, she doesn't want to be your friend anymore," the boy laughed, her 7 year old self just laughed at him. Why should she believe him? He'd never really like her.
The girl skipped off to find her friend. When she finally found her, Olivia, her best friend, was hiding under a table.
"I found you Olivia" She yelled.
"No!" Olivia whined, "I don't like you anymore, you're weird!" Olivia got out from under the table, "leave me alone." Olivia then ran away, leaving her 7 year old self wondering what she did.
The teen sighs, “she still doesn’t talk to me…”
Next came herself from 3rd grade. She was amazing at math and was playing a team math game with her friend and against two boys that completely despised her, for reasons unknown.
The school therapist pops his head in, "sorry to interrupt can I see Lucy please?" The girl's friend looks to her.
The girl nods, "I can beat them without you, go ahead." Lucy gets up and leaves. Within thirty seconds the boys claim she's cheating.
"Cheater!" One of them yells, "go back to where you were!"
"No, I got it right, I get to go here," The girl argues. After a few minutes of arguing, the boys doing yelling, the teacher pops her head in.
Tears are streaming down the girl's face, having insults thrown at her as they argued.
“What’s going on?” She asks.
“She’s cheating!” The boys yell pointing at the girl. The girl opens her mouth to respond, but the teacher holds up her hand to silence the girl.
“Stop cheating and quit crying, you’re not a baby anymore.”
For the rest of the school year the boys, and others whom joined, decided to call the girl ‘cry baby’ and other names like that.
“I hate that I’m an emotional person,” The teen mumbles to herself, she grabs her baby doll that she’s had since she was a baby. Her grandma had given it to her, and her grandma had recently passed. She hugs the doll as the next memory flashes in.
The next incident was in fourth grade. The girl’s cousin had recently been killed in a car accident. She was sitting in class, and like always, she was one of the few students paying attention to what the teacher said. One of the kids sitting next to her, one who had never liked her, decided it would be fun to pick on her instead of paying attention.
A note was slipped on the girl’s desk, she opened it only to regret it. ‘Why are you so fat NERD?’ The girl ignored it and continued to pay attention.
After school the boy can up to her again, “you never answered my question nerd!” The girl glanced around, no teachers around, only the hall monitors, who only get after people for running. Great, the fourth grader thought. “Were you going to be a tattle tale nerd?” This boy never used her name, only called her nerd, and at that age, everyone thought that was the worst thing anyone could call you.
Fifth grade comes next. The girl got interested in learning, while everyone else stopped being interested. The girl would spend her time before school asking the teachers questions and taking in as much as her brain could hold.
One day at recess the girl decided she might enjoy playing tag with the others, she wasn’t the most athletic person, but she wasn’t a couch potato either. The girl walks over to the group, who’s just about ready to get started.
“Can I join?” the girl asks sheepishly.
“Sure,” one of the kids snickers. “Go!” All of the kids bolt from the boy in the middle of the group. The little boy is holding up his fingers counting down from five. Most of the kids run to hiding spots, but some stay near to run. The girl climbs up to the top of the monkey bars, her favorite place on the playground, to hid and for a good view.
As people get tagged, someone around them will yell, “So-and-so’s it!” for everyone on the playground to hear. the taggers looked in her direction on multiple occasions, but never went for her, so the girl got down. She yelled to the passing person who's it, “Can’t get me!” The glanced at her then continued on. The girl knew recess was bound to be over soon. She wanted to play.
The girl was oblivious to the fact that some of the kids were gathering around, whispering to each other, plotting.
Finally, the person who was it ran towards her. They were faster than her, but the girl was having fun now, so she didn’t care. The girl figured she could get one of the kids that she could outrun.
The girl got tagged and was delighted to finally get to play. She looked for the one kid she knew she could outrun. Once she spotted them she ran towards them, “I’m not playing!” the kid informs with a smirk.
The girl ran towards people she had a chance to catch only for all of them to claim they’re not playing anymore. The girl figured out quickly they all decided they weren’t letting her join or play anymore, so she went and grabbed her book and sat against the wall to read for the rest of recess.
The teen huff, “they thought it was a game. They had fun making me feel bad. They still do.”
The girl thought back to her middle school years. This boy, picked on her all year with his buddies.
“Okay get in groups of four for this next project,” The girl had four friends in this class, but they always sceemed to get in a group together and leave her to fend for herself, so the ‘cool kids’ walked up to her, three of them. The three that picked on her the most, the three that hated her guts for no reason known to her.
The three that she just wished would leave her alone.
“Group.” The girl sighed, there was no point trying to fight them, try and get another group. She’d tried that once, it had just ticked off the trio.
Half way through the project the girl sighed, as always the trio was talking and goofing off, but not working.
I got fed up with it that day, the teen remembers.
“Either you three help, or your names aren’t going on the project,” the girl says out of anger. The trio ignored her. “Fine,” she sighs.
The girl finishes the project on her own and doesn’t put the other kids names on it.
“Who was in your group?” the teacher asks. The girl points to the trio.
“But they didn’t do anything, so I told them their names wouldn’t go on it.” The teacher sighs.
This happened almost every year, the teen realizes.
Within a few weeks the teen ran into another incident. Involving someone she wished she could call a friend.
“You’ve never been my friend!” The blond pre-teen informs the teen.
“Sally,” the teen starts, “you lead on that we were friends, why the change of heart?”
“No, I just always asked for things from you,” Sally sneers.
“So you’re openly admitting to using me?” the teen demands.
“Yeah sounds about right.” The teen huffs in frustration, and this is why I have trust issues. Everyone decides to use the smart ones for grades, the trusting ones for gossip secrets, the different ones to pick on. The world is so messed up and they think it’s okay!
The teen gets home, I’m done with people doing this to me.
The next day at school she only talks in class when she needs to, but not to her friends, not even the ones who’ve been her friends for years. She does however, talk to people who to talk to her first, but it’ not her usual talk. This talk is way too polite, the polite that says ‘I hate you, leave me alone’.
The polite that says, ‘you’ve made me this way’.