I was bullied a lot at school. I’ve been to many schools – boarding, international, state – and in some way or another I was bullied at all of them. I guess that goes to show I don’t fit in anywhere, but I already knew that. At one of them I was told that I could make it stop if I could just change my behaviour, act like I belonged, fit in. The problem is, I was already acting just as hard as I could to simply keep my head above water.I was doing my best to belong and it was never enough, not by a long shot.
I work so hard to exude a persona of normality, to pretend that everything’s ok even when it’s not and when I can’t act any more, I simply withdraw. Even what I write on here is an edited version of the truth. I censor myself so as not to let people get too close, to know the real me.
It’s self defense, for as long as I can remember whenever I do let my guard down, I get hurt worse than ever before. At least when the public face is attacked it doesn’t cut quite so deep. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve had groups of friends. Admittedly they tend to be groups where I’ve existed on the periphery – useful when nobody else is around but not really worth wasting your time on. But that’s been enough, I’m so desperate to be liked and to fit in that I’ll accept that without question and I’ll be happy with it.
And slowly, I’ll relax, cracks will start to appear in the perfect mask and little slivers of “me” will escape. Those slivers will expand to expose whole facets of my personality until *BANG* I’ve gone too far. People realise the real me and are horrified. Just like that, I’ve lost another set of friends.
Only one person’s ever got all the way in, didn’t run when the cracks appeared, instead appreciated them and drew closer. But in the end, the result was the same and because they were so close the pain is unbearable.
So I will continue to act, play the part of Ana, the public persona because without it I’m alone.