When I was twelve years old my father and I moved to a different apartment.
Our new apartment had none of the nice things of our old, there were no large cabinets, large rooms or exercise rooms that we both liked.
He had decided to move us farther away from his work, something I didn’t understand then. Now looking back at everything that was going on around us–and with him–I understood why he did it.
My life was okay at the other school, middle school is never perfect. My first week went okay until one boy noticed me and for the next two and half years made my life hell. Seventh grade wasn’t so bad, but eighth and early ninth were horrible.
I never told my dad about what I endure at school, something I regret. I remember the first time it happened. “Hey, looks like we have another dork here.” The boy said. I thought nothing of it, but I still remember it. It went downhill from there.
It worsened every year until I couldn’t take it anymore.
I brought a knife to school once, I planned on killing the kid, it was the only thing I could think of at the time. I also remember picking up my dad’s .22 and walking to the door of our apartment with it, intent on killing a few people.
Remember this was late 80’s early 90’s before Columbine. The thought doing that to someone now sickens me, but I came really close. The boy was taller than me, which isn’t saying much. I was 5’2″ and weighed 75lbs until sophomore year, I was skinny and short, perfect for a bully to pick on.
My return trip to the school where it happened was this week.
Returning to the school was weird and I felt like I shouldn’t be there the entire time. I walked down the hallways dodging teenagers and taking a few photographs of areas of the school that I would need for my book.
The book is a work of fiction, it is my current project. But we all take little pieces of our lives and put them into our art. This story is no different. I went to our apartment and looked at the things I needed to look at. There were so many good memories in that apartment. Times like Christmas, when my aunt stayed with us and when my big sister lived with us, those were awesome times.
it was the other times that it was horrible. Those times were almost always at the school.
I nearly dropped out in ninth grade because of the bullying I endured.
Life has a ridiculous way of making fun of you when you least expect it. I was not expecting to have such an emotional time on my trip. I also was not expecting to feel an overwhelming sense of forgiveness for the boys that tortured me.
My life felt normal to me at the time, I thought everyone went through that type of torture. I saw the boy doing some of the same things to other boys and girls, not the physical abuse but definitely the mental abuse.
My life could have gone two different ways at that school. I could have lived with it and stayed, possibly killing myself and/or the bullies or I could leave and move in with my mom. I chose the latter, something I never regretted.
You can choose to forgive someone for something, that doesn’t mean you forget or wish to see them again. It just means you forgive them for what they did to you.
I forgave the boys that tortured me.
One of the other things I did after I left the school, I drove to our old apartments, walked through the trees and the grass, touching the leaves and pushing my feet into the grass as if to say, “I was here, but I will not be here forever. My footprints will be gone within a few minutes.
Just like the earth absorbing the imprints of my feet I absorbed what happened to me and dealt with it the only way I could, I forgave them.
Without forgiveness I would have carried the hate I had for them when I arrived at the school forever. I no longer hate the boys that tortured me, I forgive them, that doesn’t mean I want to have beer with them. It just no longer hurts the way it did before I went to visit.