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Yes...this is ALL about me, and mine. Marvellously self indulgent, feel free to tell me how splendid I am, leave comments, nice ones please, I have little kids and teenagers who can do the rude stuff. I am a grandma, to the glorious Joshua, I'm allowed to look frazzled and weary, I earned it. The older I get, the more I see that hanging on and being patient is worth it! They ( whoever 'they' are) are so right when they say you never know what is around the corner, it isn't always an articulated truck! It is vital to make the time for making memories, friends are the greatest treasure, I love mine. I am rich!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Just walk away.

When I was 15, I was bullied, horribly bullied. I was incredibly naive, innocent and lived a glorious sheltered life.
I signed up for a Duke of Edinburgh award scheme, I forget exactly what it entailed but it was a lot about passing tests and challenges. One challenge was to go camping, for 2 nights I think, with the bare essentials and survive. Oh how I hated the thought of doing that, even way back when, I hated to be cold, uncomfortable and this was not my idea of fun at all, to pass the test I had to do it though, no alternatives, do it or fail.
I signed up with 2 girls, one a friend and the other was HER friend, I really didn't know this girl except that she was worldly and so far from anything I knew that she was a little intimidating, nevertheless, I loved the other girl, Debbie, who I spent a lot of time with, I had been to her home and her family was as ordinary as mine, it would be fine.
We set off on our trip and as the evening began, as it started to get dark, to my absolute terror, I discovered that Debbie and the other girl ( whose name is forever branded into my mind and heart but is so unusual if I even write the first name, she would be led right here if she were to google her own name and I am still a big poopie panty scaredy cat when it comes to this girl ..ha! She is 47 now, some girl! ) well, anyway they had arranged for the mean girls boyfriend and HIS friends to come out to where we were camping ( in the middle of nowhere, on the moors, as stipulated by the rules of the D of E awards scheme 1977) scary girl was going out with a BIKER! In his TWENTIES! and his friends were also bikers, they were bringing alcohol and who knows what else and I was told that I had better join in...or else.
I was such a good girl, I really was, I knew nothing of any of this side of life, I didn't want to know I was so afraid of what would happen and I knew I had to get away from there.
No cell phones, no public phones, no farmhouses, no civilisation, for miles.
My only choice was to walk home ( Have I ever mentioned my sense of direction? No? That would be because I don't have one, at all, none. On tuesday I went to a Mall in Plymouth, a new one I have been to 3 times, I split up from Sophie, Jordan and Mel to go and get some shoes for Isaac, when I came out of the shop I was totally lost, I could not find my way out of that mall to save my life, I went upstairs, downstairs, this way and that and it took me a very long time to get out and find the kids) anyhoo, I left, I walked the way I felt was right and I prayed and I sang hymns all the way along that pitch black road, in the middle of the moors, I sang and I prayed and I sang and I wept and the angels led me home. I walked a mile or 3 and then I saw a phone box, I called my dad and he came to get me. I was safe.
Of course, I had to explain why I had done what I had done, my parents were proud ( and I suspect terrified at all the 'could have beens') and on the following monday they took me to school and they told the head teacher what had happened.
There followed the mos miserable time of my life, to this day the smell of a school makes my bowels turn to water, I heave at the thought of senior school.
Scary girl was mad. She was very, very mad. I have no idea what her parents said or did ( very little I expect) but she failed her D of E and was punished by the school.
She was a mean looking girl, black died hair, pinched face with a long thin nose and nails like witches talons, those were long filed nails and even today I can feel them.
She was scary to many people in the school and as a result of her being mad at me, anyone who was afraid of her was told that if they spoke to me, looked at me or even stood in the same vicinity as me, they would suffer. Then she showed everyone what they would suffer and she did it often, with such delight. She would seek me out and she would grab my neck with her nails and she would punch my face, she would laugh as she did it and she would ask if anyone else wanted some of it.
Every single girl that had been in the least friendly with me would turn her back if I walked into a room, they would either all start this horrendous fake cackling laugh and point at me, or they would ignore me completely. One or two of them would look at me with an apologetic look or a shrug that would almost beg me to understand and I did to a certain extent. Oh but at 15 it hurt my heart so much more than the long nails or the punches to my face.
I didn't tell anyone at home what was happening because I knew that my dad would be at the school immediately and I thought I knew where that would lead, look what was happening because I did that once.
The boys were wonderful, they don't get drawn into stupid girls nonsense the same way, they had no axe to grind and they weren't afraid of scary girl. So they would let me sit with them at break time, I went home for lunch ( and that was torturous because I would have to go back again after lunch). One day I was sitting in the form room with the boys, we were chatting and laughing and in walks mean girl. She walked right up to me, grabbed my throat with those talon like nails of iron and she punched and she punched and she punched some more. This time while she was squeezing my neck and punching she was screaming in my face " Hit me back you bitch! What's wrong with you! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU....HIT ME BACK you STUPID COW!" and I sat there, not even flinching and as her face got redder and redder and she became more and more irate I just sat there and I became more and more calm. I stood up, I flicked her off me as if she were naught but an irritating bug and I said ( very softly and very calmly) " No, I will not hit you back because if I did that I would run the risk of looking as ugly, as out of control and as stupid as you look right now" and then I turned and I walked away.
I went right the tuck shop where my one and only remaining friend worked at break time, she took one look at me, saw my beaten face and my bleeding neck and she knew what had happened ( as well as the grapevine that had sped along throughout the school) she didn't say a word , she just looked at me and shook her head and mouthed the words "I can't"
Something in me crumpled right then and I left the tuck shop and I walked out of school, I walked home and when my mum looked at me as I walked in, I merely said " I have left school, I am not going back, nothing you can say or do will convince me to ever go back, I will explain once, to you and the school and then I won't ever talk about it again, just know that I mean what I say, I will never ever go back to school."
I forget where the meeting was held, our house, the school, who cares, I do know that I must have shown that I meant what I said and they believed me.
I was in the final months of school about to take the exams that everyone told me were so inportant, that I would need to be anything or get anywhere in life. Incredibly the school said that I could study at home, work would be dropped off and I could go to school for the exams, I was given a timetable and that is exactly what I did. I went to school , walked into an exam, took them and left.
I passed 11 of those exams, at the ripe old age of 15 and a half.
I trained as an orthopedic nurse at the age of 17-19 and got the letters D.O.N after my name.
I have never been bullied again.I have been so blessed to have real friends. True friends. All my adult life I have been loved and accepted, cherished and beloved by some really great people, men and women.
Many have stayed friends with me for more than 30 years, some have been friends and then somehow the friendships just fizzle out, no sadness just nothing in common anymore and they run out of juice. 3 times the friendships have ended in a spectacular way.
Three times. Every time it has been because I say what I feel and mean what I say and every time it has been met with fury, hurt and then some heartfelt meanness that I know is a way of, on the behalf of the injured party, simply a way to expel some of the pain they think I meant for them.
Each time this happens I am sad that my words hurt, I am sorry that I believed the person on the receiving end of my brutal honesty thought that I said what I did to hurt them.
I never, ever intentionally hurt people, especially those I call friends. I also never ever just say what I think that person wants me to say. I can't, it doesn't feel honest, it certainly doesn't feel good to me to pour insincere words out in order to please. I don't do it to family, I don't do it to my children and I have never done it to friends. I do do it to people that mean nothing to me, I can join in with the best of them with fake " beautiful! Lovely picture! " on message boards and such like, usually I just keep my mouth shut.
That would be an option in a friendship I suppose, I could just keep my big mouth shut. If someone pours out their heart to me I could say nothing, but that to me is as bad as lying.
If I see someone I love doing something that makes me uncomfortable, if I think they are making a mistake, doing themselves an injustice I will tell them and sometimes it is not appreciated.
Most times, when people do it to me ( and they do, my mum never ever says what we what to hear but always what we need to hear) it does hurt and the times it hurts the most is when that person, parent, friend, spouse is right. When they say something that touches a nerve it goes through me like a dagger to the heart. I am quite spectacular in my response to such tough love and should you be curious as to how I react, try telling me a home truth or two.
I always take those things to heart though and after a cooling down period I almost always see what that person who loved me was trying to say. I will go back and ask them what I can do to right that which was or is, wrong.
I am not in anyway trying to say that I know it all, I don't know much at all actually. I get so many things wrong and am the first to admit that. What I don't get wrong is love. If I say something that is wrong, you can tell me and you can show me how I am wrong and I will admit that I am wrong. If you yell at me and call me names, I will assume that I hit a nerve and I will hold fast to what I said.
I know when someone loves me and when I love someone back, it is going to be for always unless you give me that love back.
If you ever tell me that I am not wanted, that you do not care, that I mean nothing to you, you know what I will do?
I will just walk away.
I don't hang around to be squeezed by the neck or punched in the face.
I just walk away.
I have done my share of begging before and it doesn't work. I don't do that anymore either.
I just walk away.
I won't hate you, I don't even hate the monster that abducted my children and if I don't hate that, you don't have a hope in hell of evoking any hatred. Don't even try, you're wasting your time.
I just walk away.
I won't sneak around and try to see if you still care.
I just walk away.
I won't try and contact you or try to get your attention.
I just walk away.
I walked away recently and it was a sad time. I was sorry that I hurt my friend, I tried to make it very clear that what I was saying was with love and with the best intentions, I kept what I wrote until it became very clear that there was no going back, no forgiving, no discussions or working it through. My friendship was returned, I was given back any love that I might have shared and so, I just walked away.
I am 46 years old. I am, I imagined, so far away from that little girl who was ignored and pushed to the outside of the group as it is possible to be.
Until today when I went somewhere where all my friends hang out and once again, I was that sad little girl who was outcast and just watching the fun because one person didn't want me there.
My friends don't even know I was an outcast, they couldn't see that I was blocked from the fun, they didn't have a clue that one person had made it so that I was the nothing again.
So I just walked away.
I am crying more than I did when I was 15. Not because one person doesn't want me there, I understand why she feels the way she does, though I don't agree with the way she is reacting. I hope that she will just walk away. But because I was made to feel like that sad girl again and I have spent years building that girl back up. The first one beat her down again and yet again years more of making her right again, pushing out the voices that make me cower and loathe.

I wish her joy, I have always wished her joy. I was her friend. If I hadn't cared I would have said all the trite nonsense I think she was hoping to hear, it wouldn't matter to me what she did or does, what she thinks or what happens to her. "There there, all better. how splendid you are" Bollocks.
I am not her friend anymore. It is over, done with and I am not at all sad about that, she gave me back my feelings and made it clear that all along it had been a fake friendship, a manufactured one that was nothing worth fighting for.
I am sad that it has infringed on mutual friendships and I felt I had to leave a lovely group because I was not and am not, willing to go anywhere that brings any kind of feelings of uselessness and self loathing. I will not put myself in a situation where I feel negative in anyway.
I just walk away.
I still have all my friends, I don't doubt that they love me and accept me and my big mouth, warts and all, we are all old enough to know that the days of " don't like her or I'll punch you in the head " have long gone. Hallelujah.
I never walk away from true friends, I will fight 'til the bitter end for friends that are mutually thoughtful and willing to give and take, I only ever walk away when I am told to, when you give me back what I handed to you, when you make it clear that I have nothing to offer, I will, without a word, just walk away.
Even if I sob while I am doing it.

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10 Comments:

Blogger Julie Julie Bo Boolie said...

Helen I love you so much. I need to stop crying and process this but I love you and I will be back to comment properly. Soon. Because you will never stand alone again.

8:51 pm  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

{{{Helen}}}

Walking away is what I would do, too. Sometimes things turn around down the road and the situation corrects itself, so to speak...sometimes it doesn't. I hope your true friends will understand and together you guys can find a way to still have the fun you had before. :)

-teresa

8:53 pm  
Blogger G said...

To see no one fighting for you at school must've broke you inside b/c that heart of yours that I've seen I know would've never done that to someone else-regardless of fear. Its hard to find the words.

You're an incredible woman with so much to offer. The way you speak of the person who put you through hell. The way you speak of the man who did that to your children...the fact that there is not hatred shows the amazing grace that you have in your heart. He calls us to have that and its such a difficult thing ot possess. I cannot imagine possessing them in such difficult situations. You continue to be an example to me Helen. Thank you for sharing this with me. I love you so much and hope that you know no matter what brutally honest or not...nothing could make me want you to walk away from me. You're a blessing.

Love you.

9:14 pm  
Blogger Sara said...

Much love and many hugs to you, Helen. XOXO

11:20 pm  
Blogger Colleen said...

Love you Helen!

12:10 am  
Blogger justLacey said...

I find it hard to believe you ever feel the outcast. You are so loved and adored everywhere you go. I knew from the moment I read your posts on the BZ boards that I wanted you for a friend. I have never felt differently. I do understand how you feel though as I have often felt the outcast at many points in my life. I hate that you felt that way today, because I know how sad it makes me feel. I hope you never give me back my feelings, because I will never give you back yours.

12:10 am  
Blogger TheAlbrechtSquad said...

I've never met you in person but I care about you and this saddens me so much to read this. (((((HUGS)))))

3:04 am  
Blogger Lost in a Secret Garden said...

Oh dearest Helen, hugs my love! This whole post has put me in tears and brought up feelings of my own sufferings in childhood. Mine were at a much younger age and not quite as violent as yours but the words those people would say to me, how I was treated was much the same and hurt a lot as you discribed. From the young age of 5 until 12, it changes a persons internal being.

I've known you for many years and have been on the receiving end of your truthful words. Have I liked them when they've come my way? No, but I know what you have said to me in the past has come from the heart and not out of malice. I respect everything you've ever said to me, even when it was a hard to hear (cause almost everytime you've been right on about whatever you are saying and I know it). If a so-called "friend" can't see that you say what you do out of caring for that person then you are right it's time to walk-away and call it what it was.

I'm sorry you were put in a situation where you felt uncomfortable to be around this person & it brought back those feelings from when you were 15. I again know these feelings all too well also. I wish I had the words to make you feel better, but you already know you are loved by many many others (including those other friends you were with) and me reminding you of such isn't going to help you any. I don't have anything because I too suffer - it is the reasoning behind my social anxiety. Those same feelings that you have had recently. All I can do is send you virtual (((hugs))) and tell you I can understand where you are. My love is sent across this land, over the ocean, and straight to you!

5:31 am  
Blogger Jackie said...

Hands down Helen, you are one of the most amazing women I have ever met...most amazing person. I am constantly in awe of you and your heart. How you care for so many people, so honestly and aren't full of hot air. I consider myself fortunate to have you as a friend. I love you to the depths of my soul and can't imagine you as an outcast. What stupid people to not see the treasure they have let get away from them.

You are my friend. I love you my friend.

3:12 pm  
Blogger Tired Mom of Six said...

I've not been good at keeping up in blog world lately and I know this is late, but I hope you know how much you mean to me, Helen. Your honesty, love, friendship...I thank God everyday for the change you've helped bring to my life. Like Lacey, it didn't take me long to know that I wanted to be your friend and how blessed I am that not only am I your friend, but that I've actually been able to hug you...to talk to you in person...to see IRL that you're even more beautiful than I imagined.
I love you friend...forever (and even if you want me to, I'm not goin' anywhere!)

3:56 am  

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