All About Me

While this blog started out as a place for me to write about my thoughts on motherhood and my experiences with my only child, it’s also about ME (lately several posts have been unrelated to being a mom). Bullying has been a big thing in the news lately. Today people are wearing purple in support of bullying (I guess purple because the LGBT community chose the color as a symbol and that boy from Rutgers was Gay). But bullying is not necessarily a “Gay” thing.

I barely remember a time when I wasn’t teased and tormented.  Perhaps not the first 5 years of my life, but I remember DREADING going to school when I was only 7 or 8 years old. The people who lived in my neighborhood were just cruel. The other children called me Cheese. Seriously. Cheese.  Why? Because this girl who lived down the block from me, Alyssa, ate cheese on the bus and because she cried. She was Cheese 1 and I was Cheese 2.  Then she moved away (good for her!) and I was the lone target of the bullies in our neighborhood.

The girls next door were a few years older. I remember they asked me to play hospital with them. I was SO excited. They wanted me to play. So I went over and they had me lie on the picnic bench like it was a table. They wrapped me in bandages. And then they poked sewing needles in my arms. I was only 8.

I was told I was ugly. I was told that nobody liked me. In the Winter, I was pelted by ice balls. In the Spring, I was shoved down into puddles. There was a school bus stop just across the street from my house, but I walked to the other bus to be with my friends Michelle and Jennifer as support.  I remember in 6th grade that this boy, Russell was his name, had a big party and he invited ALL the kids—except for me and a few others, who were all my friends. I did have friends, but we were the misfits. It hurt so badly.  And I don’t remember ever telling my parents what was going on. Or if I did, I may not have told them everything. I’m not sure why.

Middle School was better.  I made more friends as the 5 elementary schools in our town combined. So for two years (7th and 8th grade) I was happier. I met my best friend there and we’re still friends today, 27 years later. But of course that didn’t last and I went to high school, losing many of my friends since we had a regional district and most of the girls I liked went to the other high school. Great.

High School SUCKED the first two years, since the bullies who had tormented me were older and still there. I remember three of them flicking cigarette ashes in my hair on the school bus home (the bus driver was no help, they never are) and I ran screaming off the bus to my BFF’s bus (she lived in another area of town) and went home to her house. That time I told my mom, who then told the other girls’ moms what they had done. They never physically hurt me again, but the emotional abuse was torture.

So for years I was told I was ugly and undesirable. I believed it. So I never dated in high school and only barely dated in college. I gave a weak attempt at suicide when I was 16 (downed most of an aspirin bottle). Thankfully it didn’t work.  But I’m not going to give a “bio” of my life here. It will be too long. But it did get better. I made friends. I found my niche when I went to Hofstra. But I still felt inadequate. And I didn’t have serious relationships and I sabotaged the ones I did have. My self-esteem was shot. And when I turned 30, I was clinically depressed.  Thank goodness for therapy and my dog Casey. Seriously, both of them helped turn things around.

So there are reasons I didn’t meet Dude until I was 36.  I really didn’t date seriously until I was 34… I had no faith in myself. And even today, I often feel like I don’t deserve to be happy.

Bullying affects your life. And sometimes you’re just bullied for being sensitive. Bullies like to make people cry.

If there is one thing I hope to do with my son, it’s to teach him NOT to be a bully. It’s to teach him to treat others with respect. And to tell me or his father if he’s being bullied, so we can figure out ways to combat it. I pray he’s not treated like I was. I started out like he did. All smiles and friendly. And while I’m still outgoing, there is always a knot in my stomach when I talk to new people. I don’t want Little Man to have that knot.

There will always be mean people, but I do hope things can get better. At the very least, all the news on bullying have brought this problem out in the open. And perhaps as my son gets older, there will be more ways to combat it.

I had a very good friend in college. Our friendship started when we met at orientation, a few months before our Freshman year began. While our political views were opposite, we had enough in common to maintain a friendship for years beyond college and with a distance of hundreds of miles.

She was always a better friend than I. She remembered everything I said and she was thoughtful in asking about people I knew and about my family. I’m not saying she was perfect, because she wasn’t. But she gave more than I did. And a few years ago, I let her down by goofing off online when I was on the phone with her and just not being there for her. So she cut me out of her life. I tried to make amends, but I recently found out that my attempts were not enough for her.

She kept emailing me and sending gifts for Little Man. Very thoughtful, but we hadn’t talked since I told her I was pregnant (and she quickly got me off the phone). I truly believed she wanted me out of her life and I couldn’t figure out why she kept including me in her mass emails and sending my son gifts. So I wrote a note basically saying I was confused to why she kept in touch that way when it seemed she wanted me out of her life. And I asked her to stop sending gifts for Little Man if she didn’t want our friendship to continue.

I don’t regret sending my note. But I did get what I asked for. She sent a cold letter basically telling me off for my behavior. She was right, I let her down. But I’m tired of being beat up over it. And I’d rather her hate me and cut me out of her life than feel so uncomfortable when I heard from her. She does. It’s gone. A friendship over.

I hope my other friend, who I recently hurt, will forgive me. But I’m a coward. I haven’t called or written. I’m tired of being hurt. And I’ve been hurt way too much by others. All the recent news of bullying reminds me of my childhood and teenage years. So to think that *I* hurt people the way I was hurt… well, that sucks.

Last year, on New Year’s Eve, I was newly pregnant—only 8 weeks along—and so tired from the early pregnancy symptoms.

This year, on New Year’s Eve, I’m a tired mom of an active infant. I’m in bed, typing away on my blog, just before 11 pm. And I hope to be going to sleep BEFORE the ball drops and it’s 2010.

Overall, it was a great year.  The most amazing one of my life. In 2009 I went through most of my pregnancy and delivered a beautiful, happy baby boy. I shouldn’t complain about anything… though there were ups and downs. Money woes. Little Man’s brachycephaly and the helmet. My feelings of guilt.

And now as this year ends, so will my grandmother’s long life.   She fought to be around, with her family, even though she would have liked to have followed my grandfather when he died in May of 2007.  But she was here to see me marry. To see me FINALLY become a mother. Momma has been such a huge influence in my life. And soon she will no longer be there for me to talk to. I have been blessed to have her for so long. It’s her time and Hospice is taking care of her during her last days. But it doesn’t make it easy.  And I’m sad that Little Man won’t remember her at all.  But at least she got to know him. Got to love him. And that’s a special thing.

So as this year ends—a new one begins.  I hope that the year ahead is full of wonderful discoveries for my son. For me, as I watch him. For my husband, who needs a new path. And the coming year brings to me a new decade. I’ll turn 40…  Well, that’s not something I’m that thrilled with.  But I hope that the New Year is truly a Happy one.