In part one of my cleverly named “My Story” (thank you; I know), I talked about my dysthymia. Now it’s social anxiety’s turn. And with it comes the story of my middle school crush.
Now I’ll start by saying that I’d always been, to a certain extent, shy. This shyness was moderate in the 6th grade, but reappeared in 7th grade with the prospect of a new school and 900 new and therefore scary people haunting its hallways.
My parents had signed me up for intramurals, which were classes for my favorite sport, at my new school. The majority of the kids there were immature, obnoxious guys. On the first day of class, there was this one guy who was in the same grade as me. We had a 10-minute conversation, with me acting all cool, girly , and uncharacteristically confident, all the while cackling hysterically. I cringe.
I suddenly started to see this kid everywhere at school. And whenever I did, he’d be staring at me with this wide-eyed look in his face, like a deer caught in headlights. Or he’d whip his head around to pretend he’d never even glanced at me in the first place. He tried to talk to me more, but it was pretty awkward, because he’d try to show off by “acting cool”. His idea of acting cool, by the way, was yelling at my back “I hate you” in front of all of his friends because I got a good score on a math test … but I digress. He and all of his friends–a whole pack of 15 of them– started staring at me whenever I walked past. It was a little more than awkward, as they all whispered amongst themselves very conspicuously. This is all with me within 10 feet of them.
After probably a week of that kid standing up in the middle of his group of friends with all of them staring straight at me, I “fell in love”.
I was aware that he thought I was pretty wearing a ponytail and cute clothes, so I kept wearing a ponytail and cute clothes/ Every day. I was aware of all of the boys staring at me, and began to act as if they always were.
So this is where the story becomes depressing.
Sometime during the 7th grade, I learned that I was ugly. I really truly thought that I was incurably ugly. I thought I looked hideous with my hair down, with my chubby cheeks’ proportions showing and my gigantic nose a prominent growth in the center of my face. I became obsessed with mirrors, turning my head in different directions, trying on different facial expressions, testing different hair up/hair down hairstyles. I used to do this for half an hour every day before and after I took showers.
While testing out facial expressions in the mirror, I found that I looked prettiest smiling. So I smiled all the time, no matter whether I was happy or not. And did that hysterical cackling thing at the most inappropriate moments. But I thought I was pretty, so that was all that counted.
Eventually the novelty of the crush wore off, but I was left with the impression that people were staring and talking about me all the time. Whenever someone near me laughed, I felt on edge. When I was the only one not talking to anyone, I felt that everyone was staring and talking about me.
I stopped listening to people when they talked and just smiled, nodded, and laughed to pretend. I couldn’t hear them because all I could think about was whether they liked me or not, or thought I was a “retard” like some other kids called me because of my quietness. I was completely silent during all of my classes, only willing to talk to a few of my friends out of a fear of rejection.
It even ruined libraries, my last sanctuaries, for me. I was so scared that people were watching me and were judging me on what the books that I borrowed that I hid in a corner between bookshelves and the walls whenever choosing a book. So I ended up reading a lot of books by authors of last name R-Z.
I started living simply for other people–to make them like me, to make them think that I was a nice person. All the while wearing a fake personality and pushing people away in an effort to protect myself from rejection. Of course, that couldn’t get me any real friends.
Now, I think I’m better, although I could actually pass for mute in some of my classes. I still have bad days or even weeks, but I don’t let that linger in my mind as often as it used to. I try hard, but not to the point where I drag myself down. And in spite of it all, I like to say that depression’s made me an optimist. Depressed optimist, haha- now that’s an oxymoron. But I truly believe that being so hopelessly sad and empty has made me more active in my search for happiness, more selective in the people I hang out with, and more empathetic to other people. I’ve discovered how truly important happiness is, and can appreciate it a lot more than the average person. I still want to make people happy, though not by bringing myself down but by lifting others up. I think about how nobody, except you, knows about how I feel when I try to be kind to others. Who knows what problems other people are going through?
That’s why I decided to start a blog. I was absolutely terrified at the idea, because my inner voice told me that I’d fail and that it would make me feel even worse. But I decided to anyway, because even if I can’t make myself happier, it would be amazing if I make someone else a little more thoughtful or happy. (Ok, this post isn’t exactly happy, but well…) Successful or not, I love the idea that this blog allows me to share my thoughts and have my voice be heard. Your likes on my last post were so encouraging because I’d had an awful day. I never thought that people would even look at my posts at all, much less like something that I wrote. Thank you so much for reading. It means a lot to me.
So fellow mentals…mentos! come on, let’s keep fighting. We’re in this together. ♥♥
p.s. I am really, really hoping that the mentals thing doesn’t seem insulting, because I am stressing over it. lol
p.p.s. You know when you type lol and you’re never actually laughing?aHAha