This is going to sound really silly, but I truly believe this contributed to who I am today…
Back in year 7, the girls in my class decided that I wasn’t cool enough to keep my then-best friend. I don’t know how they did it, but they pushed me further away, to the point that I would sit in classes, completely invisible. In hindsight, it was the worst it ever was, when I was in year 9. By this point, I would sit on one side of the class, and everyone else would sit on the other side. Spending lunch times alone in the library. If I went outside, it would be more noticeable that I had no friends.
Anyway, back to year 7, when the bullying began. At the end of the school year, Year 7 would hold a presentation evening. This consisted of each form doing something different, in little groups. Some forms performed to the audience, some exhibited their art & photography schools, or drama skills. My form’s idea was to ‘group up’ and perform a dance. I wasn’t surprised when I was told all the girls already had their groups set up, and there simply wasn’t any room for me.
To my fortune, one other girl seemed to have been ‘forgotten’. So, we joined forces. We had a few practice sessions, dancing to our chosen song. Who remembers S Club 7’s ‘Bring it all back’?! Yes, I really was that cool.
I don’t think I was that surprised, when I realised my so-called friend didn’t show up. It didn’t sink in, what this would mean for me. An ultimatum. Either I told the head of year that I wasn’t doing the dance on my own. Or I did the dance on my own.
I could see the girls in my form looking over at me, whispering to each other and sniggering. This wound me up, so there was nothing else to do, but do the dance on my own, in front of the hundred or so parents and the rest of the year group. I think this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. It made my feel strong, and it showed the girls in my class, that I was not the quiet mouse, who wouldn’t say ‘boo’ to a goose, that I was a strong person.
The 3 minutes seemed to last forever, and I forgot most of the moves, so had to make improvise. However, hearing the round of applause from the audience and seeing my mum looking close to tears, made me feel proud of myself. What made me feel even better, was the response I got from those girls. They congratulated me, and looked genuinely shocked at what I’d done.
I’m not saying this changed my life. It didn’t. In fact, things got a whole lot worse after that. But in some way, I think I gained at least a little bit of respect from those girls in my class. Especially when they lectured the other girl, for leaving me on my own that evening.
That night was a night that will stick in my mind forever. If ever I need some inspiration, or self-esteem, I think about that night. All these years that I’ve suffered depression on and off, I’ve always had that night to look back on. To remind myself that I am a strong person, and that whatever happens, I will have the strength, eventually, to deal with it.
Everyone needs a little reassurance every now and then. This moment is my reassurance.
On a side note: To all those girls who treated me as if I didn’t exist, look at me now. I have a wonderful family, a boyfriend who loves me and treats me like a princess. I have a roof over my head, and I’m working on trying to make life easier for people with diabetes. Where are you, now? Are you happy with who you have become? I hope you always remember how rubbish you made me feel, for the 3 years that you refused to acknowledge my existence. I hope you are happy.