I’ve been anxious around bedtime lately. I think my thyroid med dose is too high. Either that or I’ve been drinking too much coffee, which is also entirely possible. In any case, I’ve had a really hard time falling asleep which has caused me to lay awake rehashing old squabbles just getting myself further riled.
The other night, my mind wandered to late middle school. If I had to guess, I would say that it was 7th grade. My family had moved to town the year before, and I’d previously made several friends in our development. Kids are kids though, and ESPECIALLY, girls are girls so 3 of us had decided to turn on one of our friends over the summer. She was out. One of the other girls decided to “beat her up” and all of us got in to a lot of trouble—specifically because her mother called a meeting with all of our parents to call us out on our bad behavior. I should have seen it coming, but I was blind. I was next. There was no “event” or anything out of the ordinary to cause it, but the girls decided that they were done with me. So done in fact that they decided they were going to beat me up, much like they had done to the other girl. I was panicked. I was a scrawny little runt of a thing, and there was no way I was going to be able to defend myself. I’d never thrown a punch in my life. Luckily, one of the older girls on the bus overheard all of this and escorted me to her house from the bus stop, and her dad drove me home.
I replayed this situation in my mind over and over again. I remember this happening. I remember talking to my friend M on the phone and having her and her mother demand that I come to their house (on the other side of the development) and ride her bus instead. I remember riding my bike to her house when it was warm, and cutting through numerous yards to make my walks shorter when it was cold. I remember being welcomed in to her house by her parents and being taken care of; being driven to school in bad weather. I remember how grateful I was for all of that. I started to focus on all of the good things that actually came out of the situation, and that’s when it dawned on me—the mother of all questions and the reason that I ended up being awake almost all night: Where the fuck were my parents?
I was bullied and threatened. I was afraid to get back on the bus. I was afraid of being beaten up and picked on. And because of it, I made my own arrangements. My friend and my friend’s mother helped me through an awful situation. With them, I figured out how to deal with it all and I did. A 12-year old. And my parents, sat idly by and let me just deal with it. Why? Why didn’t they help me? Why did I have to learn how to get through it myself? Why didn’t they call a meeting with the parents of these girls much like the one that was called when I was the one who was being mean? Is it possible that they didn’t know? That I didn’t tell them? I have no recollection, but honestly, could that be possible?
Maybe it’s shit like this that forced me to be independent. Maybe this is why I moved out of my parents house when I was 19 to live my own life and never looked back. Maybe this is why it seems like I have been an adult for much longer than most of my same aged friends.
This is something that is over 20 years in the past and yet I cannot get it out of my head. Those girls and I made up at some point in high school. I totally forgive their 12-year-old selves. But here we are 20+ years later, and I am newly pissed at my parents.