I Am Myself Again

I came to realization that I finally feel like myself again.  Considering I just turned 25 and the last time I felt like myself was 5th grade, that's really saying something.

-The Point of Impact-

Right around 6th grade a terrible rumor started spreading about me that turned everyone against me.  The rumor being that I was a lesbian, which, fun fact, I'm not in the slightest.  I'm so straight I don't even like being a woman, let alone touching another one (though it should also be noted that I do identify as a girl even if I don't like being one).

So this was like 2006, and back then being different, being a "lesbian," was a high crime and not nearly as tolerated as it is today.  It was basically a death sentence for you socially.  But did anyone ask me if it was true?  Would anyone bother to believe me if they would have?  No.  My peers turned on me without question.

The rest of my school life up until 12th grade graduation was mostly a living hell as I dealt with bullies left and right tearing me down and excluding me.  The way I was treated made me retreat far, far into myself to hide from it all.  I became scared, anti-social, and so I thought, permanently damaged.  When given the chance in 8th grade to make new friends at a 3 week summer camp, I thought that the real me - the me of pre-6th grade - was still in there somewhere ready to bust out and be social and lovable.  I was wrong.  I was as closed off as much with new people as I was with the people that already judged me. I concluded that I had been conditioned into being this submissive person and that I wasn't going to change. Or so I thought.

-It Wasn't All For Nothing-

But I don't regret this time period.  I understand that kids are vicious.  Stopping bullying is still being neglected and will probably never be solved.  I don't hate the people that bullied me in the past - most of them grew up to be decent people - but I will never completely forgive them.  And I'm sorry for that.

Being treated so badly had a positive affect on me that I am thankful for, in that I never wanted to cause that sort of suffering to anyone else.  It made me a good person, one that wants to make other people happy because I know what it feels like to be miserable.  It also made me into this extremely driven person always clawing my way up to the top in spite of everyone around me tearing me back down.

When college came, I was still anti-social.  It took up until January of this year when I joined in with the Hannibal Writers Guild for me to really try and break out of this shell I've been hiding in so long.  And it has occurred to me that I had succeeded.

-How I Used to Be-

I remember in 5th grade I had this best friend.  She was always by my side.  And stepping away from the memory, I realize that I was the leader and she was the follower.  She did what I said and I took point on our adventures.  Looking back even farther to 3rd grade I remember having a social status with my peers. I was best friends with the then most popular girl in our grade and had the most sought after boy as my "boyfriend."  And even farther back than that in 1st grade I recall how I would often get in trouble for talking too much in class, so much so that I'd have to sit out of entire recesses sometimes as punishment.

And all it took was one rumor to send all that charisma crashing down.

-This is Who I Am-

Fast forward to me, today.  Hard work and good friends have returned me to who I was.  I am bold.  I speak my mind without worrying about whether someone will hate me for my ideas.  I am confident.  I move forward knowing that each step I take is correct.  I am excited.  I have a passion for everything I do.  I am smiling.  I tell stories and collect friends with so much ease it's a wonder that I ever had trouble with it before.  I am worth it.  Since becoming single I've been attracting boys left and right, something that previously seemed like was never going to happen for me.  I am happy.  Despite all the tragedy that has happened to me this year, I am the happiest I have ever been.

I am everything that I was before 6th grade.  I was hiding in that shell all along.  And now I'm out, I'm an adult, and I'm tackling the world in the way I was always meant to.

I'm back, baby.

-Dana Lockhart  


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