30 Days Of Truth: Day Eight

8 Nov

Day 08 → Someone who made your life hell, or treated you like shit.

As I sit at this table surrounded by the other kids, I can feel their stares burning into my skin. Surely their whispers and giggles are directed at me. My face starts to boil as my blood pressure skyrockets. With multicolored construction paper and Elmer’s Glue-All in my hand, my mind starts to wander. What did I do? Why are they laughing at me? It must be this shirt I’m wearing. I told my mom it was too tight. I can feel the tag underneath my shirt digging into my skin. As my body temperature rises, my shirt feels like sandpaper against my skin. With tears welling up in my weary eyes, I can see the teacher approaching me. Her grin mocks me as I sink further into my chair. Why is she laughing too? Did the other kids tell her about my shirt? As her cool hand brushed against my shoulder, I heard her speak.

“Good job, TJ. Very nice!”

“Huh? What? I’m doing a good job?” With a puzzled tone to my five year old voice, I blurted these things out to her.

“How can this be? The other kids were laughing at me. I could hear the whispers in the background. I could see you laughing at me as well.”

I could feel her hand grip my shoulder tightly. As she bent down to make eye contact with me, my mind started to race. This was it. I was in trouble. She didn’t think I was doing a good job at all. In fact, she rather hated me. With tears streaming down my face with an unapologetic flow, I could feel the point where her eyes met mine.

“I think that’s all in your head, sweetheart.”

She spoke with a motherly and calming tone. Her words were absolute and confusing to the five year old mind. What does she mean? All in my head? As I wiped the tears from my cheeks and buried myself into the art project at hand, my mind began to race. Lost in thought, I went the rest of the day trying to wrap exactly what she said around my head.

They say you learn all you need to know in life in kindergarten. All the social skills and tricks of the trade are learned and imprinted into your mind the very first year of school. I didn’t know it at the time, but I learned more about myself on the first day of kindergarten than I would learn in the next 15 years. The darkness of my own mind far outweighs what anyone else could ever do to me. I alone can make my life a living hell. My own mind has the ability to belittle, cast doubt, and make up an alternate reality at the same time. The loathing, the worry, and second guessing are all my own doing.

Even today, I fully understand that I am truly my own worst enemy. There isn’t a soul on this Earth that could inflict hell on me like I already do to myself. I would love to think I have changed, that I am a better person for learning this about myself at such an early age. The truth? I’m still that little boy sitting at the table full of kids. I’m still wondering what they are laughing at, still wondering why they are whispering about me.

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8 Responses to “30 Days Of Truth: Day Eight”

  1. Jurgen Nation November 8, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    *applause* (The .gif wouldn’t paste here.)

  2. Jen O. November 8, 2010 at 11:50 am #

    Again, we are the same. I live in constant paranoia that people are laughing in the wrong way, or think I’m stupid for something I said, or what I’m wearing is all wrong. No one can hurt us as much and as deeply as we hurt ourselves.

  3. Dysfunction Junction November 8, 2010 at 11:56 am #

    The truth is we are talking about you. Not in the way that you think. But open, out in the world…”do you know TJ? Yeah, Studio816, he’s HILARIOUS. Yeah, and he’s a really good guy too.”

    The table of kids is still there, but changed. Now it’s filled with people who smile when your name is mentioned and some of whom are your biggest fans on earth.

    My only advice would be, maybe eavesdrop on our conversations a little more often. :)

  4. badassonpaper November 8, 2010 at 12:12 pm #

    If only you knew how amazing you really are…

  5. andygirl November 8, 2010 at 12:49 pm #

    I want to hug 5 year old TJ!

    another great piece of writing, friend.

    nobody’s laughing at you, unless you are, how you say, make joke?

  6. jodifur November 8, 2010 at 3:33 pm #

    I’m my own own worst enemy too. I hold myself back in terrible ways.

  7. flutter November 8, 2010 at 9:37 pm #

    yep, just broke my heart. Not just for the 5 year old TJ but for the 5 year old TJ that you still carry around in your heart with you.
    You are a good man, and more than that you are a good person.

  8. Sarah November 8, 2010 at 10:51 pm #

    That story reminds me so much of my son. I think you two have a lot in common.

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