I completely forget about today’s counselling session, so I was asleep when my counsellor arrived. I answered the door, groggy and tired, and tried to rally myself around. These sessions are important to me, as part of getting better, and I want to make the most of them.
As it quite often does, the session started with me telling my counsellor how tired I was. She listened and discussed, I’m sure she is getting quite bored of me telling her I’m tired now, though. As we discussed my sleep, we also discussed my dreams. Over the years I often dream about the girls at school, the ones I called my friends but who actually were anything but. In my dreams I finally find the strength to stand up to them and they listen and realise they were wrong. Of course this is only a dream.
There were six of us in our group at high school, all girls, and generally the class misfits thrown together because nobody else wanted us. We came together aged eleven and stayed together until we were eighteen. Looking back I can see now there was a hierarchy from an early stage – the girl who seemed in charge but was often just a voice for the leader, the real leader who controlled us all, taunted us all and told us all what to do via her mouthpiece; the second in command – this flitted between two girls, whoever was in favour that day. The peacemaker – the girl who everyone loved because she just wanted everyone to be happy. The girl who was her own person, who hung around with us but if they didn’t like something she did she didn’t care. And me, the quiet one; the one who wouldn’t talk back; the one they didn’t really want around but who they maybe needed to be their scapegoat.
I wasn’t perfect, I had my issues and I didn’t always like everyone or everything. But for the most part I was quiet, didn’t disagree and just wanted to be liked. An easy target.
I remember many a time when I should have left the group – realised how nasty they were and how unwanted I really was. Quite often I think they tried to push me out, but I was too naive to see. I remember ‘private chats’ where one by one each of us would be called over to the other side of the room, eventually just leaving me stood there not included. I remember them running into the classroom, throwing their bags down and running back out for lunch, me stood there without an invite and knowing they didn’t want to give me one. I remember one girl going from one to the next, offering everyone a biscuit, but when it got to me just walking away. I remember notes being passed, whispers and laughter and having no clue what all the fun was about. These are silly insignificant events but over seven years they left their mark, along with other silly incidents I can no longer remember. In the end I was left feeling worthless, unliked and alone.
Discussing this today and reflecting back as an adult I realise now I should just have left – found friendships elsewhere, ones that were real and gave me self-worth. But back then I was too afraid of being alone. I know that in order to move on from all this I have to let it go, but I don’t know how. I know maybe they had their own issues and that was why they treated me like they did. I understand that is often bully mentality. My counsellor suggested that to feel powerful they had to made me feel powerless. None of these make it ok in my eyes, though.
Hopefully one day soon I will find a way to let these things go and move forward. I am no longer that little girl, and I no longer need to cling to people like that in my life. So to those girls, they know who they are, if you are reading this you were mean, you were cruel and you were ruthless and I will never, ever, ever forgive you for what you did to me.