I still bear the scars of my tortured teenage years. Quiet, shy, artistic, and with a case of acne that made my face resemble an Italian entrée, I was the butt of many jokes, pranks, and assaults, both verbal and physical. While I believe in the power of forgiveness and the need to move on, lingering pain and insecurity continue to haunt me.
So I was surprised last year when I got Googled by someone who was one year ahead of me in the same torture chamber, I mean, junior high. She was someone I considered lucky, because she was popular, smart, and most of all, pimple-free. I also had no real relationship with her, therefore no association with bullying.
We got together for coffee and she told me that she always wondered what had happened to me. She remembered the hassling and other nasty stuff. She was thrilled when she plugged my name into the search engine and came up with a load of websites and projects with which I was involved. Much to my surprise, she regaled me with stories of her own teenage angst, and that of other girls who I thought had it easy.
Looking back, I was lucky that I had the worlds of music, writing, and art in which to escape. I could express my pain in constructive and creative ways – and still do. Later came a deeper spirituality which enhances my life and my work. After all, creativity is a spiritual gift, whether one realizes it or not.
Thanks to the wonders of modern technology, I wonder who else has chosen to look me up, but perhaps decided to be silent about it. And I will admit to Googling a name or two on my own. I remember others who were going through a rough time for similar reasons as myself. I hope they are OK.
The Soapbox is a trench publication for those on the front who fight for the Lost, the Last and the Least. From Issue #20, June 2006. Theme: Where Are They Now?