This was my college essay. I dug it up and decided to post… I was 17 when I wrote it. While I’ve grown a lot since, some of these words bring me chills and motivation now. It’s pretty “sensitive” but intense, and really dives into my self-perception at the time.
Eventually it turned Almost Entirely into Apathy
Joey called me from across the classroom, said he had something cool to show me. Stupidly, I walked over to him. About halfway across the room, Sam stuck his foot out in front of his desk and tripped me. I stumbled a bit and started falling, supporting myself on Lindsay’s desk. Before I even had the chance to look at Joey or at Sam, they started laughing. The whole class started laughing. Laughing and pointing fingers. Red with anger and embarrassment, I went back to my seat, crossed my arms on my desk, and dug my face into my right inner elbow, covering my forehead with my left forearm. The laughing stopped. I shed a few of the tears that I tried so hard to hold back, and class resumed. The sixth grade science teacher was in the room the entire time.
That day became my first two years of middle school. No respect, virtually no friends, pushed around and made fun of by the boys, teased by the girls, usually ignored by the teachers and the administrators. I just took it all, sucked it up, kept everything inside… for years. The only release of emotions I knew was shedding few bitter tears. Of course the pain couldn’t just disappear; I hid it well, let it boil deep inside me. It degraded me, ate me violently from the inside out; and eventually, it turned almost entirely into apathy.
The summer following seventh grade was different. I found some kids who accepted me. They weren’t exactly the nicest kids in town, but nevertheless they accepted me. That whole summer I rode my bike around with these kids causing mischief and being a punk. Soon summer was over and I was back in school; everything was different. Now, when people tried to bully me I didn’t just get bullied. When I was pushed I pushed back. When I was insulted I’d tighten my fists and open my mouth. When I was threatened I did more than just threaten back. I choose to leave many details out of this essay – by the end of eighth grade I had been suspended for fights; I had been jumped multiple times (once almost to the point of death), sometimes by the same kids who first accepted me; I had been too high to see, and drunk to the point where I couldn’t stand on my feet; I had been to more than enough useless therapy sessions; and I had attempted suicide.
The fighting continued through my first term (half a semester) in high school. The administration was no help; they could only suspend but never help me. I was trying to get good grades by this point, but it was a difficult task to accomplish considering I was forced out of school almost every other week. One day when I sat at home suspended I wrote a song (I wrote a lot of songs back then); the main line of the chorus was “the more ya’ll try to break me, the stronger I get.” By now it was directed as much to the administration as it was to the kids who harassed me. I lived by this new philosophy through the remaining three-quarters of freshman year. I ended the year with straight A’s.
I learned from my experience and I am no longer angry and bitter. What happened to me made me who I am now – I hate violence; I hate drugs; I don’t drink… I am a student leader at school and am looked up to by my friends. I assisted the administration in the formation of a Wellness Committee to formulate drug/alcohol recovery plans for high school students and I am currently starting to work with my old middle school to enhance anti-bullying programs; this is probably the most assertive way I could find to handle the scars I’ve suffered from middle school bullying. Ultimately, I’ve learned to fight for what’s right without my fists. Thanks to my disheartening childhood, I’ve reached a level of maturity virtually unknown to most of my peers. Thanks to my dark past, I live a bright present and see an even brighter future.
In retrospect, I realize that somewhat of a rough childhood was inevitable in my situation: without much guidance from my mother, and hardly any knowledge of my father, I was mostly left to raise myself; the lessons I learned from my experiences merely mimicked those I lacked from my parents. I’ll never forget what happened, what I’ve been through, but I can forgive. Do I want revenge? Yes. Success will be the best revenge.