I Started a Joke…

The past few weeks I have been taking a 10-week life writing series. Each week we delve into various parts of our life by journaling. Writing down memories evokes such emotion. It has proven to be very therapeutic for me thus far.
This week’s topic being “My Body”, I found it very ironic how the first thing I read this morning was the very topic I had spoke of in my journaling. Bullying had played a huge part in my life and it definitely did not help with my body image and self-esteem over the years.
In writing this evening, my teen years came flooding back. In remembering an occurrence at high school, a song by the Bee Gees came to mind, “I started a Joke”; I opened it up on you tube to have a listen.. As I wrote down what memories came to me, the tears covered the page…
“In high school, I was a very quiet gal and loved going to the dances. I would dance with a few classmates and enjoy the evening of music. There was always a part of me wishing for that someone…anyone… to ask me for a dance but …I had resigned to the fact that would ever happen.
I was a big gal, a “fatso” I suppose as some slurred at me. All through my school years had been a struggle. The name-calling, jests and laughing down continued for many years. The shame I lived with for being me grew into self-hatred and loathing. I hated myself. I kept my distance from many people wearing a mask for fear they too would hate me as I did.; close friends were few. Food became my best friend.
Well one day during lunchtime, some guys who normally hung out around my locker were looking my way and talking etc . Before I knew it David had come over to me and asked if I wanted to go to the dance. I nearly fell over. I said “sure”, and he quickly went back to his friends. I was on cloud 9 for the next few days until the dance. There was no other contact before the dance, not ever having been asked before I wasn’t sure what usually happened when being asked to a dance.
On Friday night, I went to the dance. Dressed up with my heart pounding through my chest, I scanned the crowd looking to see where he might be. A few of us girls started to dance and suddenly I looked up and seen him standing there with his buddies. He approached me when a slow song started to play and he asked me to dance. It was as if time stood still for that moment. Then as quickly as it started, it ended.
I watched as he walked away… back to his friends who all were grinning and laughing as they high fived and nudged him.
As I watched them stand there looking at me laughing, I realized I was the brunt of some rotten joke or dare that his buddies had set up. What made me ever think that anyone would ever like me enough to want to dance with me? My heart sank and my face must have shown my hurt, for David’s face turned from a laughing smile to a painful remorseful look.
I immediately turned to leave, holding back the tears that were welling up in my eyes, I ran out as fast as I could. I was mad at myself for even thinking that someone could possibly care for me, for my history had proved many times that there was no one. I pulled on my mask even harder than before, put on a smile and kept going, consoling myself only in silence with my best sabotaging friend.”
Amazing how a song can be a catalyst to a memory of long ago; painful as it once was, with the tears and through writing… there is healing.
There were times afterward when going through the halls that David would pass by, I always nodded a friendly smile and his was that same painful remorseful look, yet a caring one.
I wonder if Mr. Talbot ever thinks back to that time in high school, for I somehow feel he was struggling with peer pressure issues. Right or wrong, we all have our stories…

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