I actually wrote this journal entry a few days ago, but here it is. Obviously I'm not going strictly "day by day" in the program, although I'm definitely doing some of the work every day. Today I want to get out a whole bunch of pent-up emotions related to my bullying experiences as a pre-teen. I just remember being so afraid to go to school. Friday afternoons were so great because I could set my worry and fear down for a little while. Of course, this made Sunday nights horrible. The girls who were constantly bothering me were almost all older than I was, and seemed to be so hard and tough, like they had given up on life. I really thought I had dealt with this a long time ago, but the fact that bringing up past memories is making my shoulder/neck/back pain almost completely vanish is evidence, to me, that I still have a lot of stuff to deal with. It was starting to tighten up and bother me a little bit today until I read an article about celebrities who had been bullied. A couple of their stories really hit home, and the tension soon relaxed in my shoulder area. One of the worst parts about the whole bullying experience... btw, it started in seventh grade, pretty early in the school year. We were on the playground and these girls just started giving me crap, picking on me and saying really insulting things. I never had more than a couple of friends anyway (I was pretty quiet), and this one girl I was sort of "hanging out" with, she just joined in on the bullying. Another girl I thought was a "sort of" friend did the same thing (not sure if it was that day or later. A lot of this runs together.) Somehow I had become a target, and it continued for months, in all areas of the school. Other people joined in. Finally my mom got my classes changed, which helped a lot, but I was still treated very badly by a lot of people, and the damage was done to me. It's obviously still with me to some degree. Anyway, one of the worst parts was just the feeling of helplessness. I remember my grandmother telling my mom that someone needed to teach me how to throw a good punch, but my mom was PETRIFIED of me getting into trouble at school. Her advice was to just ignore it, and to tell a teacher if I was afraid for my actual safety. I know she loved me a lot, and I know she couldn't have realized how much it was tearing me up inside, but I still feel abandoned by my parents because my younger self still feels that they didn't do nearly enough to help me. As for telling a teacher, well, a lot of good that ever did. One time in PE class, a boy that was hanging out with the girl bullies kicked me in the back of the head while we were all sitting on the bleachers. The "coach" did nothing when I told him about it. It was constant horror for me. I know a lot of kids experience bullying, and I had experienced some minor issues in second grade when some girls picked on my while we were out on the playground, but it wasn't constant, relentless, afraid-to-walk-down-the-hall-by-yourself kind of bullying like what I went through in middle school. It got to a point where I was afraid to go to the store with my mother, or anywhere in public, because I was so afraid I would see these people. They threatened very graphic physical violence. One of them slammed me hard against a bank of metal lockers one day. She got shipped off or locked up shortly thereafter, for something else. I just wish I could've fought back. I wish someone HAD taught me how to throw a punch. Big deal if I had gotten suspended for fighting, or even if I had gotten a broken bone or something. I think it would've been better than decades of feeling helpless.