Last night I got a friend request from someone that I haven’t heard form in a long time. However, they have been on my mind quite a bit lately. With all of these emotions from my past churning. This woman used to be my best friend in the world. In fact, she is the only person I was allowed to share the terrible secret of what had happened with my grandfather. I remember running to her house with the secret the day after it happened. I stayed at her house all the time to get away from my own. In her’s I could feel love and caring. Her mother demanded manners, respect and nothing else under her roof. I did well there. We are going to call this friend Emily.
Emily and I met when I decided to quit gymnastics in the third grade at Marla’s School of Dance and change to Karate. I was being picked on in the neighborhood by the older girls ALL THE TIME! It was fucking relentless. Then I’d go to gymnastics where all the pretty skinny girls with money were. I’d get made fun of there for not being able to afford the nice leotards. Oh and living in a crappy neighborhood…i.e. trailer park. General mean girl shit. My therapist and I have narrowed a childhood sexual trauma down to this time frame. This is when my major blackouts began. I had a several vivid dreams I can still tell you in full detail which lead in that direction an well…Anyhoodles
Emily and J#1 were in karate. J#1 was her older brother. I call him J#1 because he started a long list of guys I dates with names that begin with the letter J. Instead of renaming them and confusing myself…they’re being numbered. I was learning how to stand up for myself, making friends, and falling in puppy love all at the same time.
After years of busting his ass, in 1993 my dad was able to start his own business and we were…
Moving on up,
To the East Side,
To a deluxe apartment in the sky!
Moving on up,
To the East Side,
We finally got a piece of the pie!
In reality in was a gorgeous house. Just that it was located out in the sticks by a zoo. A kidless neighborhood. I switched schools between third and fourth grade, leaving my best friend B behind. (who I haven’t brought up yet) My extended family structure had also completely imploded. (another thing we haven’t touched on…yet) I had no outlets anymore.
Fourth grade was not the greatest for me. My growth spurts had started the year prior, and I was already coming into womanhood. Starting my period in class for the first time with my old hag of a teacher couldn’t have been more mortifying. She didn’t believe me…she thought I was lying and made me sit and suffer in my filth. Somehow I remember finally talking her into going to the nurse for some help. She must have read the last stitch of desperation in my eyes holding a the little dignity I had in. That same year I can remember being bent over my desk at the end of the day. Remember when everyone had to flip up their chairs on their desk and wait for the bell to go to the bus? Wwweeelllllllll… (Insert My most picture perfect pose here with hand cupping under chin) the cutest boy in class walked behind my booty at the same time that I ripped one. MORTIFIED! Of course being a boy he told THE ENTIRE CLASS. FUUUCCKKK. Fucking Fourth Grade. Quick side bar: Thank you to Mr. Billy Hurston! He was my other fourth grade teacher. He was able to teach me the skill of mindful meditation to fall asleep. I was already having major sleep issues back then. I still remember you teaching us how to do that if were having trouble at night. I used the Hurston technique until I started listening to guided meditations at night. You sir, were an innovator in the South Carolina education system.
It wasn’t until Fifth and Sixth grade that Emily and I became joined at the hip. Boy did we ever. I recently found boxes upon boxes of letters that I had kept from all those years ago. I never saw that relationship for what it was. We always did what Emily wanted to do, never what I did. She was very controlling and manipulative. The things she would write in the letters were just plain mean. Not funny. I remember sticking up for her, to my social detriment all the time.
When I told her about what had happened with my grandfather I remember her immediately reacting with compassion and even crying with me. It was the summer. What happened at school was something completely different….
I started the year off single and spent seventh grade “dating” a few guys trying to find my way. Looking back now I know I was trying to distract myself from my inner pain. Back then my family thought I was boy crazy. I needed the attention the my family wasn’t giving me so dammit I was going to find it somewhere. Also, I had just spent nearly all of sixth grade and that summer dating my friend Hilary’s brother Kelvin. This year there were Jeremy, Jason, 2 Jeffs, Elijah…etc. I mean its seventh grade, so dating was seeing each other in school and sneaking kisses between classes. There was a riff growing between Emily, Hilary and myself. As girls will do. Emily told a some girls she was raped by a boy in our grade on the hood or a car. I don’t know if this really happened or not. I do not discount whether it did. I wish she could have come to me, but she found solace in another group of friends and shut me out completely. I was left flailing at the end of the school year friendless all over again.
This is when the migraines started. I tried to talk to my school guidance counselor about my parents in a roundabout way. “Ma’am, if you think you know someone that smokes pot just a little too much. So that they don’t really pay attention to their kids”…The counselors eyes perked up…I don’t remember if I mentioned the conversation to my mom or if the school called, but I remember getting my ass chewed for bringing it up. Followed by a fuckton of guilt for possibly robbing the family of everything my dad worked so hard for. I’d never do anything to hurt dad.
Don’t air our dirty laundry Denabear…Keep silent…good luck keeping me silent now…daddy’s gone.
As far as for Emily…she had to change schools the next year due to school zone restructuring and I didn’t see her again. She’s come up on facebook here and there. When I got her friend request last night I immediately deleted out of gut reaction. Then had to do some slow breathing. Those middle school wounds are a little raw right now as I’m working through all of this and you’re close to the shit storm. Emily if you’re reading this, maybe we can try again one day…but I’m not ready to see your life.