17 Things Former Bullied Kids Do A Little Bit Differently As Adults

Thought Catalog

1. You will probably have an extremely tough exterior that others find difficult to break through.

2. But your interior is very soft and it’s actually the easiest thing in the world to make you emotional. You’re just careful with who you reveal those emotions to.

3. Being vulnerable with people will always be a slightly terrifying experience for you. Probably because you realized early on just how awful people can be.

4. You’ll always be slightly guarded about revealing things in your childhood to people because you don’t want to be looked at differently.

5. You cannot stand to watch especially children being made fun of, in any shape or form.

6. You believe that being bullied made you stronger but you know it also made you very weary and cautious of people as a primary instinct.

7. You just can’t help but get involved when you see someone…

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16 Things You Learn The Hard Way On The Road To Growing Up

Thought Catalog

ShutterstockShutterstock

1. Alcohol will not disinfect your internal wounds, no matter how much it stings on the way down.

2. You cannot save someone who is lost in themselves, no matter how hard you try. Likewise, you are the only one who can save yourself.

3. Some people believe in a God, or many Gods, and some do not. This has no effect whatsoever on how good of a person they are, on if their marriage will work, or on how they may try to right any wrongs they have committed. Get to know people for who they are, not what they believe.Driving 120 kilometers an hour down a rural highway with Johnny Cash riding shotgun will not make things better but it will ease the pain more than another day spent alone in the dark.

4. Don’t cut into your arms thinking you will sow pure relief after planting the blade. Relief…

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16 Things Unemotional Women Will Understand

Disturbingly accurate.

Thought Catalog

Parks and RecreationParks and Recreation

I think we all have those moments where we take a serious look at our surroundings, examine the people in our lives and go ‘what the fuck is wrong with me? Seriously.” Those strange moments where we’re sure we are some sort of alien species barely resembling the other well adjusted humans around us because everything we do suddenly seems off kilter. Okay, maybe I’m exaggerating a bit, but the point is that I think we all feel different and alone at some point in our lives (the reality being that we are neither different nor alone, of course).

Growing up, riddled with the female stereotypes of prior generations, I seriously thought I was emotionally broken. I felt like I was lacking some key sensitivity gland or brain wave because I had a hell of a hard time relating to the other girls/women around me. Contrary to…

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Modesty is Policy. This will be enforced. (TW: Rape)

It was bound to happen eventually.

I’m not surprised.

THAT part of town? THAT time of night? With THAT guy?

What was she wearing?

(Pause)

Oh.

Well there you go.

She should really know better.

Dress better.

Leave something to the imagination hunny. Stop selling yourself so short.

STOP.

Can’t you hear yourself?

Don’t you understand the words out of your mouth?

“Leave something to the imagination?? What do you think I have down there- a utility belt?

That would have been useful the night of September twelfth

Two years ago

Three months. Three months before I would let myself

IMAGINE, accept, acknowledge, it had been assault

Four months before I had the nerve to speak out

Three months after you fled this town.

I once heard the comparison made

Between a displayed body and a chocolate cake

My blood burned, my shame returned, but they got something right

To objectify is to take a bite

Deliberately consuming til there is nothing left

Whether its pound cake or my poorly concealed breasts

Until you are satisfied, full to bursting, satiated

As you get to walk away and my purity is debated

Modest is hottest they say with pristine grace

What is hottest is walking home with sweat streaming down your face

Your legs on fire (LIAR, LIAR) in dress pants and baggy sweater

While the shirtless boy for hire mowing the lawn is never better

Beer in hand he asks for trouble

From fallen twigs and hidden rubble

Beer in hand, skirt hitched high, far from sober

I ask for nothing, celebrate the week being over

I am sick of being told by  men in grubby pants and ironic vests

Where to go, how to act, and most important how to dress

I don’t want to be your wife, lover, MOTHER, or mistress

I don’t want to be questioned in times of distress

About the length of my skirt, the extent of my flirt

Or my intentions with the boy coming at four

I don’t want to have to text my friends on a weekday night

To see whether they made it safely to their door

I want to be treated as a person when dressed from head to toe

Given the same respect no matter what I choose to show

My dress is not consent, I ask for nothing, don’t resent

Me for having the confidence you tried so hard to steal

To strip from me, but nothing else can be revealed

So here’s a revelation, forgive me for being crass

But you can take your “modest policy” and shove it up your ass.

What a difference a week makes

This time last week I was curled in a ball on my bed crying and screaming at God. September has been very difficult for me. For the first time in 17 years I am not in school. I had a very difficult summer and told myself it would be okay because my friends are returning in the fall. I still see them but not as often as I’m used to. Unfortunately I spent quite a bit of time with my head up my butt, hurt, angry, and very convinced that I had been unceremoniously dumped by everyone I cared about. Someone who was a father to me died just over a month ago and I am still learning to live with that. I worked at a job that was minimum wage and had nothing to do with my degree. I felt I had no purpose and no support.

Last week was the final straw. My father contacted me to say that my great grandmother was very sick and they were calling the family in. My great grandmother has been a rock of mine since I was young. I’m not very close with my family but I have always loved my great grandmother and she has always supported me. I snapped. I started sobbing and screaming at God “what next? What else am I supposed to put up with? I can’t fucking do this.” I don’t think I’ve ever consciously sworn at God before but I just went completely off the deep end. It scared me.

It was a wake up call. I went to an older church friend after I picked myself up enough to leave my bed. He gave me amazing hugs, sound advice, and just listened as I ranted and raged for about an hour. I ran into one of my pastors and his wife on my way home from visiting with Keith. I felt like God was telling me that I wasn’t as alone in this as I thought and I got some comfort from that.

Now this week my great grandmother is doing much better. While I still work at my minimum wage job I feel like I have some support there and I have also been offered two part time jobs in my field. I have reconnected with friends and pulled my head out of my butt for the most part. I went to chapel for the first time this year and felt rejuvenated from that experience. Things aren’t perfect but I no longer feel so alone or wasted.

Long story short it never amazes me how much this town keeps showing me again and again how much can change in a week.

Sorry For The Fire We Couldn’t Put Out: An open letter to anyone who cares to try

(Warning: this is a lot of angst/ramblings and not directed at anyone in particular. I promise blog posts will be more concise from here on out.)

I’m sorry. I’m sorry for the good days and the bad. I’m sorry for the days when I gave us both hope. I’m sorry for the days I frustrated you, lashed out, still felt I had something to prove. For the days I still didn’t know what that was. I’m sorry this apology is in past tense. I sit imperfect, tense, and apologize for a future of the same.

I thank you. I thank you for being you. I thank you for loving me. I thank you for being there. I thank you for caring. I thank you for staying. I thank you for not giving up.

More than anything I apologize for resenting you for the above. I apologize for the times I spent hating you. I apologize for the days I felt like a caged rabbit, heart thumping so fast and blinded by the instinct to kick at anything within reach.

I am sorry for and thank you for the dreams you gave me of the future. I thank you for making me reconsider my self imposed solitude. I thank you for visions of a future where we work out. Where I allow my body to make the changes that come with a healthy pregnancy and we have beautiful children together. Where these friendships last and I am not forced to rethink who I am every four years. Where my future does not consist of a Great Dane, cluttered book shelves, and long lonely drives into town for work. I thank you for daydreams of waking to the ocean breeze through the window and kissing your neck as the sun rises over the water. I thank you for connections all over the world. I thank you for keeping in touch from hundreds of miles away. I thank you for giving me space in a town fifteen minutes wide even when I hated you for it.

I’m sorry for hating you when you don’t meet my silent needs. I’m sorry for expecting you to fix me even as I adamantly insist that I do not need to be fixed. I’m sorry for projecting my hopes and dreams on you. I’m sorry for expecting you to rescue me from things I’ve never breathed a word of to you or anyone else.

I’m sorry for this fire that picks up again with a chance breeze. I’m sorry for these embers and a heart forged by fire. I don’t blame you, my parents, my upbringing, or anyone else. It’s all me and I know this and I’m sorry. I’m working on it except when I’m not. I apologize for the times when I’m not. I apologize now because I damn well won’t at the time.

Know this. I do love you and thank you for loving me. And while it may ignite flames that I swore were merely coals I thank you for leaving when you did. When you do. For the time you spent, for the investments that did not come through. Because these too are lessons that needed to be learned. This too is life.

And it catches up to us all in the end.

Damaged Goods?

To say I started this blog because of a singular event would be incorrect. To say it was started because of a string of events would be closer to the truth. In reality, it was a string of mentalities that really brought this blog into being.

Allow me to set the stage.

I grew up in a Christian home. My father grew up in a United Pentecostal church and my mother was a Wesleyan. My siblings and I were raised in a Baptist church in a small conservative fishing village. Given the remoteness of our community along with other psychosocial factors we had a tendency to cycle through pastors fairly quickly. One thing all these men had in common was weekly altar calls and warnings about hell. Every. week. My church went through a period of three years where we pastored ourselves while waiting for the right leader to arrive. These were spiritually some of the best years of my life.

At the age of sixteen my church finally elected a new pastor. He and I clashed from the start. It seemed the focus of every sermon was on the inevitable descent into hell. As someone who had been told at the age of three that if I did not want to pray then Jesus would forget about me when I died and I would go to hell this terrified me. I wanted nothing to do with a theology focused on damnation—the fear of which having already influenced every decision I had made for the last thirteen years. At the age of sixteen I started questioning the beliefs of my church, choosing instead to try and find my own relationship with God. A relationship not so driven by hate and fear.

By the time I entered university I was going through the motions of faith. I was still motivated by my fear of hell but questioned if there was any real significance to anything else I had learned. I went to church sporadically, made an effort to read my Bible daily, and lived my life however I wanted. I dated non-Christians, swore like a sailor and drank like one too.

This brings us to September of 2012. I was a washed up mess. The toxic combination of my drinking and unhealthy relationships had sent me into a suicidal head spin over the summer. I had fallen in love with a girl for the first time. These feelings weren’t returned but I was left to figure out my sexuality all over again. I was mentally, spiritually, and physically exhausted. I showed up to my university’s clubs and societies fair in a daze.

This was how the Christian Fellowship at my school found me. I had meant to join when I started university but there was a conflict in my schedule and each time it became easier not to go. I knew a few people in the IVCF (InterVarsity Christian Fellowship) from church, but not well enough for them to know who I was outside of church. Those who did know me thought I was eccentric if not outright crazy. Nevertheless they invited me to their first event and I found myself saying yes. I slowly because more involved with the group and started making friends. All the time looking at myself—a queer, recovering alcoholic, self-destructive, feminist—surrounded by all these Good Christian Kids and silently asking myself, “what the fuck am I doing here?”

I kept my insecurities to myself. Some days they ate at me more than others. Some days I clashed with my Christian friends even when I didn’t want to. Over time however I came to see that my friends weren’t perfect either and this helped. I still felt like damaged goods, but I came to realize that maybe I wasn’t alone in these feelings.

All of this is a really long lead up to Easter Sunday 2014. On Psalm Sunday we had watched a video in church of people holding up cardboard signs saying what they had struggled/were struggling with and how God had helped them. Our pastors told us that they would like to see something similar happen at our church for Easter Sunday. They asked us to spend the next week thinking about what to say if we wanted to participate.

I spent the next week wrestling back and forth with the idea of saying anything. I love being there for other people but I am terrified of being vulnerable. I was worried that the friendships I had worked on for the last two years would be taken from me. That I would be seen as the damaged goods I always knew myself to be. I was terrified.

Sunday morning as I was enjoying Easter breakfast with my church family I gathered up the courage and decided to let myself be vulnerable. I grabbed a piece of cardboard and a permanent marker. On one side I wrote in big bold letters ”DAMAGED GOODS”. Along the edges of the sign I put “self-medication (pills, alcohol), depression, self-harm, eating disorder, sexual abuse, suicidal ideation.” On the back of the sign I put the words “being transformed by Christ.” A little shaken I returned to the breakfast table and waited for church to start.

I was surprised by the amount of people who came forward with signs. Some of them I knew and some I didn’t. When it was my turn I stood at the front and unloaded my insecurities on the church. As I flipped the sign I started crying. I stood there with tears in my eyes on the stage with the rest of the sign holders for what felt like an hour. I was still crying when I returned to sit with my friends. I was met with hugs, not ostracization. One of my friends thanked me afterwards for my honesty and bravery. I didn’t feel very brave. It just didn’t make sense to keep it inside of me anymore.

Thankfully my friends did not abandon me upon hearing The Truth (as I so dramatically put it at the time). My friendships remained strong and having not been accepted into grad school I decided to stay in town another year. Some of my reasons for doing so were healthier than others. This town is the first place I’ve ever felt at home. This is the first place I’ve ever had a strong group of friends. I was still worried that if I left my friends would say “Thank God” and no longer feel the obligation to talk to me. I would be alone again and that terrified me. I trusted these people but not enough to test it apparently.

A summer apart taught me that real friends stay in touch. You might not talk to them everyday but you know that not only would they care if something bad happened to you, but they care and are there in the good times too.

Which brings me to the night I decided to make this blog once and for all. I am sorry it has taken me so long to get here. I’ve never done anything like this before.

As I mentioned, I decided to stay in my university town after graduation. There isn’t much work outside of the university. I was working in a coffee shop two towns over. I had graduate friends visiting and the only exciting news I had was I had found a job working at the coffee shop in the university town instead. My friends showed up with the young adults who were working as counsellors at a Bible camp for the summer. Even though they were all very friendly, once again I felt like a dirty penny, like everything I said was wrong in some way. This mentality was no one’s fault but my own. I managed to shake myself of it by the end of the evening. After the late teens/young adults had left I wandered the streets with my friends and reminisced on the last four years. It was empowering to see how far we had come, how much things had changed since we first arrived. I momentarily stopped beating myself up and conceded that maybe I wasn’t a lost cause after all.

So here we are, blogosphere. This isn’t a recovery blog, per se. It’s not a Dear Abby blog either. It’s just a place to spill out some thoughts and try to make sense of my own headspace. Sometimes it’s not enough to keep a journal but posting somewhere that all my friends can see it doesn’t feel right either. As time progresses people I know will hear about this blog, but we’ll both just have to deal with that when the time comes. This space will not be perfect and for the most part it will not be apologetic. But it will be my own. My words to share with whom I please and if you made it to the end of this incredibly long diatribe and still wish to stick around then I applaud your patience.

Welcome to my self, perhaps still salvageable after all.

September 10, 2014 (posted September 23 because I am a slacker)