I decided to touch some things that are very personal to me; bullying, self-esteem, and social anxiety. I’ve never talked about this to anyone before because I’m trying my best to let go of my past and forgive and forget, but it’s hard to forget when the words of my childhood bullies still overpower my current life.
I remember having a discussion with one of my friends on the way to Jambi. We were talking about her personal life, we were so into it, and I decided to open up to her about mine. Lately, I finally found the bravery to talk about my issues to other people. I was always trying to cover up my past and my issues with white lies just to sound normal and socially acceptable. Now, I want to write about what I said to her on this blog.
I hate myself. But you already knew that. I have issues on self-esteem, and I always beat myself up for not doing things right. I got the highest score for my final project, and I questioned the lecturers and their grading system because I thought my works looked like shit compared to my classmates’ works. I got accepted to the first company that I worked in, and I thought that I was one and only candidate to sign up for the position. I got accepted in my current organisation, and I thought I was only accepted because I used to work for an NGO. I think, I have no talents, that I’m mediocre in every aspect, that every recognition that I’ve received are nothing but luck. Call me ungrateful, but that’s just how my mind works.
Do you know that I had no friends back in my previous office? Do you know that I only have one person to text? Do you know that I read e-books (and not answering any messages) on my phone to look busy? Do you know that I automatically think that people hate me? Do you know that it took me a while to get ready to meet one of my childhood friends because I’m afraid that they might hate me? Do you know that I always say that I don’t care, but in fact I care, I care too much? Do you know that behind these tattoos and coloured hair live a frightened person? Do you know that I was indirectly bullied back then? Do you know that the words of my childhood crush still haunt me to this day?
Let’s start from elementary school,
I used to like this boy, my first crush, we were in a football team together. I didn’t know anything about relationships, but this boy made me want to be in one. I liked him. All the way to junior high school. I remember the month, it was May, it was sunny, and it was Thursday. All American Rejects was playing on the radio, and he asked me out. I knew better than to say yes, so I said no. I think god or whoever is controlling the universe was trying to protect me because that totally saved me from embarrassment. He was kidding. It was a joke. He was on a dare. Because let’s be real, nobody wants to ask a nerd out, right? Then, he became one of the coolest kids at school. Rumours started spreading while I was in year 8, that I was a dyke. People started calling me a dyke, including my childhood crush, who used to play football together with me. Girls started telling each other to stay away from me because I might like them. It went as far as one of the girls from my junior high school told my online friend from other school to stay away from me, and she blocked me from MSN and her Friendster. I became suicidal, I went through a phase, the notorious emo phase. I didn’t realise that I only dig the hole deeper because people started to make fun of my hair and how I looked. One of my teachers called me as the cause of the doomsday because I cut my hair short, dyed it red, and had septum piercing.
I moved to another school for high school. I spent my first day eating lunch in the bathroom because I was terrified to approach other students. I was afraid that they would make fun of me. Everything went smoothly, I made some good friends until it happened again. Someone called me a dyke again, and told some girls to stay away from me. Someone that I trusted. Some people also made fun of me and calling me that ‘punk rock chick’ in a mocking way in some group chats. I remember asking for vegetarian food for our field trip, and everyone in the room laughed at me. Good thing from that school, I found my best friend and some very good friends.
There is one thing that I would love to say to my childhood ‘bullies’, are you happy now? Today, I have social anxiety. Even though it’s getting better, thanks to therapy, but making friends have been difficult for me ever since school happened. I have a very low self-esteem. I think my works are shit, and people hate me and judge me all the time. I keep on stressing to everyone that I’m the best when it comes to letting go. I forgot to realise that I haven’t let go of my indirectly bullied past. I’d love to say this to those girls who asked other girls to stay away from me: Jokes on you, I like men. In fact, I still let the words of my first crush, a man, overpower me to this day (We were 14, and now we’re 24, 10 years). I think it’s normal that nobody likes me because liking me is a joke, a dare.
I’ve missed many potentials because of my self-esteem and social anxiety. I’ve missed potential opportunities, experiences, friendships, and relationships. I pretended that I wasn’t hungry during lunch time at the first company that I worked in to avoid contacts with other employees. I don’t feel good in my own skin. I think that I’m ugly. Do you know why I keep on adding tattoos to my body? It’s the only thing that make me feel good about my body. The reason why I was willing to spend millions of rupiah on that giant Salvador Dali tattoo on my back, a floral arm piece, and a quote by Tolkien on my body is because I finally have something good to look at on my body. Do you know why I find it hard to accept compliments? Because I think it’s not normal for me to receive compliments because there is nothing to be complimented about.
I’m sorry if I sound whiny, but I need to vent about these issues. It took me a while to realise that what they did to me was wrong. There are positive sides to those issues mentioned as well, I finally found who my real friends are. But yeah, my friend said that these are the things that I need to let go, to walk on, to step on, to crush. But it’s difficult to let go of something that has shaped you to the person you are today. Thank you for waking me up, friend. I must learn to let these things go, it’s gonna be hard, but I’m on my way now.
So, beautiful people, are you happy now?