In the fourth grade, it was becoming apparent that I was going to be unpopular and a nerd, and I got picked on pretty regularly. I was a dork, there was some cloud in my brain that prevented me from having the level of consciousness and clarity that the other kids had, and so there were a lot of jokes I didn't get and obvious things that I just missed. My parents saw how unhappy I was and decided to pull me out of public school. My mom has a teaching degree so they decided to home school me for the rest of fourth grade and all of fifth grade.
I'm sure this seemed like a good idea to them at the time, but that was a pivotal moment in my social development, and that social development entirely stopped when I suddenly had no one else to be around, to observe.
Then in the sixth grade they decided to put me into a Christian private school. Now for those of you who have never been in an environment like this, generally what you're dealing with is a bunch of kids who have been in the same classes with each other in the same schools their entire lives. Cliques have formed and it's extremely difficult to break into them. I had a few friends, but for the most part I was again unpopular. My social development had been retarded for a year and a half and I did not know how properly to socialize. It took me years to recover from this - it's possible I still haven't.
After seventh grade, I was still unhappy but was able to articulate some of the reasons why I hated that particular school so much. So my parents switched me to a different private school (with the same types of clique issues), one that some of my good friends from church attended. When I got there it became apparent that they had only been pretending to be my friends at church - then they would come to school and tell stories about what a dork I was. I walked into this school and I already had a reputation for being a nerd, the guy to pick on and make fun of. There was only one other kid in our class who wasn't among the "cool" kids, and he was even lower on the social ladder than I was, so at least I had someone to redirect the attention to.
Until the ninth grade, when he left that school. That left me at the bottom of the social ladder, and boy did I feel it. This was a very expensive school. Unfortunately some people put their kids there so they could say "we spend $1500 a semester to send our kid to this school", not so they could put their kids in a good Christian environment (which this wasn't, but that's another story). Kids had a lot of money, had good clothes, all that stuff. I didn't. I only had enough clothes to last me one week, then I had to repeat the next week. If you didn't have $100 shoes (which I didn't), you got made fun of. In fact, the summer between 8th and 9th grade I spent mowing lawns and saving enough money to buy decent shoes so that when I went back to school I might not be quite so ridiculed.
Halfway through 9th grade my parents again saw how miserable I was and finally decided to put me back into public schools, which saved me socially, emotionally, intellectually. I went from a school that had about 30-40 kids in my grade to a school that had 500 kids in my grade and I absolutely loved it.
But that time, my time in the 8th and first half of 9th grade at that school, I remember that as the darkest, most unhappy period of my life. I remember thinking that if I were the suicidal sort, I would have considered it at that time. (Fortunately I'm just not like that. Even then I knew enough to just stick around to see what might happen later.) I had virtually no friends, I knew (or thought) that everyone there hated me and I was universally ridiculed every time anyone got a chance. In a school that small you never live anything down either, jokes drag on and on and on. I became sullen, angry, depressed, withdrawn and prone to outbursts against just about anyone who pushed my buttons. It was not a good time for me. I developed a lot of resentment towards the people I felt were responsible for my feelings, mostly classmates. It took a long time to get out of that frame of mind, and I still harbor resentment towards some of them. But it is a time of my life that I can safely say I had no regrets leaving behind. Knowing that I was walking out of that building for the last time, I felt like a huge weight had just been lifted off my heart.
This period in my life, right now, is beginning to remind me of how I felt then. This is a very unhappy and dark time for me right now. I'm in a financial catch-22 regarding selling my house, and everything I want to do or can possibly do to facilitate this is stuff that takes a long time. The other frustrations in my life are things that are completely out of my control. It's really starting to wear on me. I feel my depression growing, big and black and trying to take me over. My tolerance for my job is paper thin and I'm not productive at all. I feel a wall of anger or bitterness or resentment or guilt or some combination of those things and maybe other things I can't identify starting to build up around myself, and I don't want it. I find myself desperately grasping at every bit of light that is left in my life, trying to find something to pull myself back up. It's like being fifty feet deep in the ocean and being pulled downward. I can't breathe. Below me is scary inky blackness, but I can still see light and life above me and I'm struggling against this force that is pulling me downwards. Anything I can get my hands on I try to pull myself up with, but nothing seems to be attached to the surface.
I guess I'll just stick around, because what else can I do? Things are bound to change eventually. And I haven't been in a car accident and lost both my hands, no one has died lately, I have a couple really good friends and my family will always be there for me.
I'm just really bummed today.