Tuesday, 26 April 2011
I see you across the room smiling at me.
I know you all to well, and remember you, the bully who made my life hell all of the way though grade school, junior high and senior high.
You are the reason I got myself kicked out of school.
You are the reason my nights trying to sleep were filled with anxiety and fear.
You are the reason I lost weight and couldn't keep my food down.
You are the reason I begged my Grandmother not to make me go to school, and the reason why I skipped school until I got kicked out.
You and your little band of followers are the reason I tried to take my own life and ended up in the mental hospital for almost 15 months.
People felt sorry for me when I was “locked up”, but I felt good in there because you were not there.
When it was time for me to go home and I was told I was going to to live with my Aunt in another state, I felt like I was finally free.
It has been 20 years and I am no longer that helpless kid with the funny hair and teeth.
I am no longer that skin and bones kid who lived with her Grandmother and whose alcoholic father was raping her on a nightly basis.
I have been through many years of therapy and have become a very strong woman.
I didn't expect to see you here and to have you standing across the room smiling at me, not a smile of recognition, but a smile of a man looking at a woman he would like to meet.
I have not spent years dreaming of coming back and putting it in his, and his friends faces.
I tried not to think of them at all and stayed as far away from my home town as possible, as even as an adult the thought of them sent me into deep anxiety.
So there I was standing in line, waiting for a booth in a restaurant, in a town 100 miles away from where I grew up and there he stood, smiling at me from across the room.
I was on vacation.
I looked at him and knew him immediately.
I felt the anxiety coming up from my toes into my stomach and I felt flight or fight, as my therapist calls it.
I was ready to run.
I stood, took a breath, and got myself back into the safety of today.
I told myself I am an adult and no longer that kid who was living that nightmare.
I went to my table and sat down and was reading the menu when he came over and asked to join me.
I took a breath and wanted to slap his face right off of his head, but instead calmly said a very strong, “No!”
He stood there and asked why.
I said “No is a sentence and an explanation.”
He asked, “Do I know you?”
I looked him right in the eyes and said, “No you do not know me.”
That was the truest thing I have ever said. He did not know, and had never known me.
I looked again and he seemed smaller and weaker looking than I thought he had looked back then.
I knew then that the demon from my dreams was gone and replaced with the knowledge that I am safe today and he and his friends are simply shadows of my past.
He continued to stand by my table smiling and I got up and left.
Walked slowly and strongly.
Not running in fear but walking.
I am free.