So my 10 year reunion is coming up and after recieving the invitiation, I decided to register at the reunion website. I added my picture and a little information about me and even included my wordpress website, but I barely remember doing all that and to be honest, didn’t think anything would come out of it. Well today toward the end of lunch, I decided to check my hotmail email account which I rarely do because I only use it when websites need an address–99% of the time I erase the emails because they are junk mail. So understand how surprised I was when I recieved an email from a high school peer of mine whose name I will leave out in order to protect her identity.
I was quite flaberghasted to recieve an email from this specific person because she was not at all my friend in high school. She was terribly mean to me from the moment I moved to Alta Loma and started school there in the 6th grade. I never understood why she was so mean to me. But in 6th, 7th, and 8th grade she teased me for multiple things including being flatchested or for being a “poser skater” because I wore fake Doc Martins and flannel shirts when I wasn’t a skater. In high school things got worse. She often called me some very hurtful names that I won’t even mention in here because they were so mean. She also gave me dirty looks and intimidated me in the halls–she once “bumped” me in the halls so hard, I hit the wall and dumped all my books on the floor. I was scared of her, I’ll be honest. And to make matters worse for me, no one could really help. She was a popular girl and had a tight niche of friends whom all seemed to follow her lead. Pretty soon her whole group of friends seemed to hate me and call me names. And I never stood up to them. I was a small teenager who hadn’t yet developed into a woman. I was also very self-concious. I was living in a home with a very controlling stepfather who didn’t love me the way I needed him to love me. I was suffering from depression because of the problems I was having at home with my father as well as because I had started an overly intimate relationship with my first love and was not at all emotionally or physically ready for such a thing. Needless to say, I never asked her why she treated me this way and I never stood up to her. I just smiled weakly without making eye contact when walking by, hoping she would one day treat me nicely. And toward my senior year, I just ignored her completely and by that time, I suppose she too just ignored me and her ridicule stopped. Still, when passing one another in the halls, I felt uncomfortable around her. I felt like she was judging me or hating me. And while I often at that time in my life gave off the appearance that I was carefree and confident, I was still struggling hard to figure out who I was or where I was going. Thinking that she judged me or hated me didn’t help my struggle with self-identity. Because the one thing I lacked was self-confidence, all I wanted was people to like me.
So fast-forward back to today at lunch, when I opened the email. Before I read the first line, I kept wondering if the letter would be an act of reconciliation on her part or perhaps a continued tortmentment that would now begin again because of my release of such personal information. My heart tightened into a clenched fist as I began to read. And slowly that fist relaxed as I realized it was indeed an act of reconciliation. She said that she had visited this wordpress website and that she “was intrigued” by my words and my artistry. She complimented me on a few of the blogs and then said something to the effect of “take care.” It wasn’t a direct, “I’m sorry.” But it did the same thing for me. And perhaps I am crazy, and she doesn’t even remember teasing me or realize how much her words hurt me and this was just her normal routine of saying hello to past peers and I am reading way too deep into this. But I would like to believe it was an act of reconciliation. It brings me a sense of peace and calms the teenage girl inside of me who still just wants to be loved.
And now the adult in me looks back at the entire high school drama experience. In retrospect, I suppose the whole time I was thinking woe is me, she too was struggling to figure out who she was in high school. Maybe someone at home wasn’t loving her enough either and somehow during that time, she treated me badly for reasons only she knows. And perhaps as she has gotten older, like me, she has grown into a self-confident and happy person. Perhaps like me, there are parts of that teenage girl inside of her who has not entirely forgotten the struggles she went through. Perhaps she and I were more alike than we knew during that confusing time in high school. Perhaps, perhaps, perhaps.
Nonetheless, I am thankful for that email that came like a butterfly on the first day of spring.
I also forgive her.
I hope she is doing well and that she is happy.