Writing 101, Day Twelve: (Virtual) Dark Clouds on the Horizon
Today, write a post with roots in a real-world conversation. For a twist, include foreshadowing.
Self-worth, what does it really mean? It means everything to me, at least now it does. Spent too long thinking I had to live up to others expectations and failing miserably, always worried about what people thought about me or said behind my back. And it is amazing how quickly someone can lose it, simple little remarks can harm someone for a very long time.
Palatine High School, Palatine IL 1979. Even though it was 35 years ago, I remember it like it was yesterday. Left history class with my friends to go to our lockers to get ready to go to next class. It dawned on me that I had walked out without grabbing my book from the wire shelf under the wooden chair that was attached to those way too small desks and turned back, telling the guys that I would catch up with them.
Went back into the classroom and there was someone already sitting at my desk, a self proclaimed bad ass that really seemed to enjoy fighting, because he was in a lot of them over the years. That heavy feeling that develops in your chest when you are getting into a situation that you don’t want to be in came on immediately. But I had to get my book and get to the next class so I walked up to the desk and started reaching for the book, it was just sitting there. Well BA saw me and reached down and grabbed the book and flashed an evil smile towards me.
“What you want man?”
“Just want my book” I mumbled
“What? Can’t hear you”
“My book, just need the book” I said, trying to speak clearly as a crowd started to form around us
“How do I know this is your book?” He said as he opened the book to the first page, where my name was clearly written. “What’s your name fatty?”
“umm…Mark” I said meagerly
“Speak up loser”
“Mark! Please just give me my book”
“Pork? Is that what you said? Your name is Pork! Is that short for Porky?” Laughter all around as my face started to burn with embarrassment and I started to tremble. “Here you go Porky” and he tossed the book to me.
We’ve all seen the movies and TV shows where the kid is getting picked on and all he can see is the blurry laughing faces all around you and there is no escape, let’s just say that I knew that feeling that day. I could not get out of there fast enough and no matter how fast I ran, I could not outrun that terribly cruel new nickname that spread like wildfire through the school.
We all have a bully story, whether we are the victim or the perpetrator or just a bystander. And it will continue to happen, unfortunately that is just the way it is. Self-worth is such a fragile commodity and it can and will disappear in an instant. It is kind of like trust, takes a long time to build it and just a moment to lose it.
I can’t change other people, I can’t change the way that they think or act. But I can change myself. I will never understand how people can say things that they know are going to hurt someone else, just not my style. But I do know now, that those people that are hurtful towards others are the ones with the problem, not me! Just hoping and praying that those that are younger find this out sooner rather than later.