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This was written on my blog in 2008.
School was this horrible.fucking.experience. Not because I wasn’t a good student. Being scared to death of not pleasing the adults around me assured my 4.0 status from the get-go.
I was a victim of bullies.
It began slowly and early.
Children watch and wait to see who is the weakest, the quietest, the one who has something that is easily pointed out as inferior. They begin their campaign with the friend at the desk next to them. Once there is a consensus they jump.
I was an obvious choice. I was over weight, as I am now. I was quiet and desperately wanted to be liked so I would never stand up for myself in fear of angering further the perp or their friends, as I am now.
And… I had an abusive mother.
My mother didn’t believe in washing clothes after wearing once. Or twice. My mother, as well as my father were heavy smokers. I can imagine now just how badly I must have smelled. Everytime I smell cigarette smoke on a child I get a violent reaction in my stomach and it sends my heart into near tachycardia.
My mother also didn’t believe in washing hair more than once every 7-10 days. Bad enough in a child but imagine as I grew into puberty. Once I remember being pummeled with rotting tomatoes on the way home from school and being nearly hysterical by the time I was home because I was certain she would be angry at me for messing up my hair and wouldn’t wash my hair until I was “due”. As I got older (upper grades of elementary) I would hurry home on Thursday because she had joined a bowling team and she didn’t get home for 30 minutes after I got home. I could wash and dry and pretend it never happened before she walked in the door. God bless bowling.
In my last months of 6th grade, (elementary still) my only friend moved a few blocks away and next door to a family with a 15 year old boy. The story of what happened with that boy is a topic all unto itself and deserves a post of it’s own as well as years of therapy. But from the outside it was just another thing the “in crowd” could attach to me. We were all growing into sexual beings at that age. In a staunch Mormon community. There were good girls, priesthood worthy boys, wild boys, and sluts. I carried my black sheep status into high school with every negative label they could attach to me. Boys were teased if they showed interest. Yet they all bragged about “getting it”. The girls were just mean. The ones who weren’t would apologize to me because their mothers wouldn’t let them hang out with me. After all, a girl like “that” did everything.
Eventually I had had enough. I fabricated a threat against myself in a note and stuck it in the slats of my locker. When I “found” it I broke down crying. The note wasn’t real (no one ever, until now, knew that) but the tears were. Years of tears. I was done. Finished. I wanted to die. Disappear. Curl up in a corner and rock, forever.
I finished the next 3 years of school through visiting teachers in social isolation.
THAT was school for me.
Today I registered for school. I am studing Pharmacology. I start in March. It will take me 22 months to get my Associate’s degree. I had to take a valium just to get there. From 1987 to 2006 I hid inside marriage, being the dutiful wife until I knew I would die if I didn’t “confess”. For a year now I have been putting it off hoping my life would take me in a different direction. I finally realized it was never going to happen. Before I live in a cardboard box I MUST learn to take care of myself. This is my last chance.
Carrie whispers to me
School walls steal my breath
Bullies loom beyond my peripheral
Humiliation echoes, echoes, echoes…
I am a student again.
I read this and I remember just as clearly as I did when I was young, just how bad the bullying was.
I finished Pharm Tech school in 2009 and could not for the life of me find a job in my line of work. I call it “pretend school”. It prepped me for real school. I am forever indebted to that pricey experience (mistake) because I got over my fear of speaking in front of people. I accept the gift with open arms.
Time and counseling moved on and I am now a few credits shy of getting my Associates degree in Sociology and making the step toward BSU, working to get into the Social Work program. I am again feeling that insidious fear. Quite frankly, I am surprised that it has dared to show back up. Starting school (again) was scary but I know how to do it now. The switch of schools is what is freaking me out. CWI is a wonderful place to get my generals but BSU looks as if I get too close to the buildings it will come alive and eat me. Which makes me laugh for two reasons, one, buildings only do that in your mind and two, I may never get free of CWI. Why? Math + Synesthesia. For some reason (tongue in cheek) they won’t let me out of school without mastering College Algebra and Stats. Weird, right? But August is coming and I am going into a math lab that is going to help me get to be able to pass. Yes, I am nervous. No, I am not defeated. I also no long idolize Carrie as I did for so long in my younger days. So here is to the absence of perceived demons! I also humble myself to the Math gods and ask to please help me to quiet the noise in my head of the 3rd grade orchestra so that I can make this my last push to graduate and walk inside BSU and finish my business.
I have seen the rise and fall of some of the best intentions. Lets see, iVillage (they went to “pay to play at the very same time they said if we gave them money our archives would be saved if not years of conversations would be gone. Our whole community was gone. poof. We were lucky to have a great couple who decided to start up their own site with the old format. We flocked to the new promised land. I was lucky enough to become the moderator of a couple boards… people were basically good folks. There was always a trouble maker here and there but we were so united to our boards that we all helped walk the trouble makers out. We were a united front. 2 years later and one election season and we had forgotten about the good in the people who we cared about. Manners left the building. It was horrible. I am a trusting soul, those of us who were cried by day and a little of us died inside by night. Things haven’t changed. Boards only last for so long until there is a tipping point. What is sad is just how long we clung to the dream of our new home, while every thing and everyone were ready to kill it, softly, like strangling it and those predisposed to public flogging, did so until the owners of the site realized it just wasn’t worth it. Too much hatred and too many tears from those who seriously thought they had a loving community. I miss The Parent Perspective. I even miss the ones who decided I was suddenly their enemy over night unless I joined their “side”. I wasn’t about to do that. But finally we were damaged, all of us, too much to ever knit our selves together again, let alone trust people who were seemingly close friends who came in and slit our throats from anger. I dedicate this post to TPP. With a thank you to Christina and Greg, who knew where we were heading, like the saying says, “No good deed goes unpunished”. Nothing lasts forever.
Once upon a time I lived in a little (not so little) white house and brought my kids up among the flowers that were everywhere. Their favorite time was when I would dead head the rose garden. They waited excitedly until I was done. It
took me twice as long because I would first trim off the rose and then stop to pull the petals off the spent flower. We had enough roses to fill a bucket each time I did it. 1 to 2 weeks. Then when I was done, they “decorated” the grass. I can still feel the joy it brought them to run around spread pink and white and red petals everywhere. It made them so happy. It made me tear up with joy to watch them having so much fun in their imaginary world where they got to color their world the way they wanted.
I got the news today that our piano man who plays our music on Sunday is leaving the Boise First Congregational Church of Christ. He has been an amazing blessing to the entire church community for a very long time.
He is chasing the dream of fulfilling the opportunities he has been working so hard to find. We will miss him. He is intense and playful. He started teaching my daughter Hannah piano until school started and we realized there was a crevasse between her school and Randy’s availability. So we said, “Next summer we will start again.” It never happened. Life moves so quickly and children learn everyday where they feel best. When it came down to it, Hannah wanted to learn to play guitar. So it goes.
Randy is leaving our church for some wonderful things. We will miss him. I want to tell you my favorite Randy story. One Sunday we were all feeling happy and light-hearted. Instead of the last song scheduled to be played Pastor Kim looked to Randy and said, “Play something up beat, something dance worthy.” She then suggested “I Feel Good” by James Brown. There was this moment and he laughed and said, “I swear it must be the only song I don’t know!” Pastor Kim laughed and stood and sang out the first verse, then looked at him. He shrugged. We were all laughing by that time. Being me, I knew the song and wasn’t going to leave Randy or Pastor Kim hanging so I stood up and started clapping the rhythm and both Kim and I began to sing, “I feel good!, I knew that I would…” I realized most people there only knew the song from a stool softener on television instead of the real musician but we persevered, Kim and I and the congregation at least started to clap (except my two youngest who were trying to become invisible and hoping Jesus would sweep them away to the “That is not MY mother doing this!” place with their heads down and eyes closed tight, praying it was going to over soon. Randy still not knowing the song was able to fake it (like all professional musicians can) while Kim made it up to the top of the sanctuary doors.
I will miss you Randy. May your road to success be short and everything you hope it will be. As noted in our church new letter.
It is with mixed emotions that we announce that our beloved Church Musician and Artist-In-Residence, Randy Coryell, has discerned that God is leading him into new opportunities in Las Vegas. Randy will leave Boise at the end of July, and accept three new adventures there:
+Music Producer for GMT Studios, based in Hollywood
+Music and Talent Producer for “Grant a Chance for Wounded Veterans” (A show Randy created)
+Composer of game show music for new shows for the Game Show Network
+(and possibly) Play piano at the Venetian Hotel and Casino on the Strip
Randy will live with his brother, and look for a UCC church to be his home church in Las Vegas. But he says he will always think of Boise First as his church home. Randy is “excited beyond words – nervous, thrilled and honored to be able to use his talents in this new way.” He attributes his recent brush with illness and death as the “wake up call” that prepared him for this new adventure.
Randy’s last Sunday at Boise First is July 26th. Randy will perform a concert that Sunday evening (probably at Boise First), and we will have a reception for him following the concert. If you would like to make a cash contribution toward a gift for Randy, note on your check that it’s for “Randy’s Gift”.
We wish Randy all the best as he embraces his new life in Las Vegas, and thank him for his faithful service to the ministry at Boise First!
Dedicated to you Randy…
When I was young I had to wear glasses. Although I was complaining in a prior post about not having pictures of my youth, there are those school pictures which never come out well anyway and show the choices I (my mother) picked for me. I can live without seeing them again.
Time went by and my vision improved, or the Dr. my mother took me to long ago also owned the frames and lens company a few doors down a musty hallway, hum…. Anyway, I didn’t wear glasses again until about 2008 when I started getting headaches and couldn’t see the board at the front of the class. I have long since needed a new pair because the old glasses just weren’t working for me anymore.
Luckily, I went looking for frames in a time in society that glasses are cool. So cool that my daughter wears several frames, some without lens in them. So I had fun checking out the new and upcoming fashions. I fell in love with two different pairs so I bought them both. One of the perks of being an adult, I make the decisions. So without further ado, here are my new glasses!