My Story: High School

So another blogger I follow recently released a five-part series detailing her relationship with an abusive friend, and how it started out well-meaning and went badly. At first I was wondering why she was posting that, what happened to the book reviews, et cetera. But then, at the end of it, she posted that she felt this strong feeling of catharsis. By writing it all down, by putting it out there in public, she was able to say, “this happened to me. I’m not crazy, I’m not making it up, I have valid reasons not to like this person.” And her fans responded, giving her a sense of validation she never got: “this happened and it was wrong and you should never have had to go through this.”

She took the posts down, having achieved what she wanted, which is entirely her decision. Today I read through some of the comments on the final “I took the posts down” post and I thought, I really should get back to blogging more. I miss that feeling.

I’m starting therapy. Maybe that’ll help, maybe not. But I miss you guys.

I went back and looked over the previous My Story posts, hoping to find some thread of narrative I could pick up and continue on with. But I never did post things in sequence, or in any semblance of a narrative. I just talked about my life.

I recovered the password to my old livejournal at work today, over lunch. The content filter blocked my posts from showing up. My profile says I was 16 when I started that journal. That would have been during the bad times, right smack dab in the middle.

I started going to a private high school in San Francisco. I was a straight-A student in middle school, and I hated my peers (the feeling was mostly mutual). The high schools in the district where both my parents lived (separately) were awful, so we decided to pay for private high school — it was that or homeschool, and while I was pushing for an “unschooling” system where I’d never have to talk to someone my age again, private school seemed acceptable enough.

For the first time in my life, I enjoyed school that year. We had great teachers who saw us as people. I had friends who didn’t know I was “weird”. I fit in, kind of. Well, there was one guy who made fun of my not having friends so I kicked him in the shins. But he was a dick. We were on-again off-again friends the whole year, with only a handful of incidents of violence. I learned to play Magic: The Gathering and breakdance and all about the cultural significance of graffiti. I had my first boyfriend, my first tongue kiss, my first amicable breakup, and my second boyfriend. Things at home with my mom sucked, but I could forget about it most of the time. I’d stay late after school because mom would be working anyway so I could just take a later train home. Things were pretty good, overall.

When my dad got married, my stepmom wanted a big wedding since she hadn’t gotten one the first time around. And then we had to remodel one of the houses, and since her lot was bigger (and in a very wealthy neighborhood) it made sense to do that one. And now there were four kids needing college savings funds instead of two. There wasn’t enough money left over to pay for private high school for me, but I now had the option of going to the public school the rich kids went to, where I’d be sure to get a decent education.

My mother was furious. She loved to rant about my father and money, how he was a lawyer so he should pay for everything, he was just being stingy, et cetera. I couldn’t stand that. Once, when she wouldn’t shut up, I hit her. We were in the car at the time. She pulled over and made me get out, and I was banned from the frontseat for months because she “didn’t feel safe” around me.

My mother. Didn’t feel safe around me.

She loved that sort of thing. Anything that could paint me as out of control, a devil child, sent to torment her. Anything that made her the victim. I was a child; I didn’t think so at the time, but I was. I was lonely, awkward, fat, ethnically different than my peers, and later suicidally depressed, but she was the real victim here.

I learned how to lie, to fake it. I got into theatre at my new school, and I would have evening rehearsals. She’d pick me up from my dad’s house and drive me to rehearsal, and we’d have a screaming fight that would leave me sobbing and panicky as we pulled into the parking lot. I had the span of the dark parking lot to pull myself together, dry my tears, plaster on a smile, and tell everyone I was fine, what scene were we doing today again?

To this day, I’m constantly worried people will catch me out in a lie. I also don’t lie; I hate lying. But I worry about it anyway. Any slight factual error I worry will be used against me, and I’ll be branded a liar and nobody will believe anything I say again.

I never know how to end these posts.

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