Today, I chose to exercise a personal demon… I visited my old high school. Although I generally don’t talk about it a great deal, I was badly bullied during my school years. I mean the kind of bullying that goes beyond the current, modern-day snowflake definition that everyone wears slogans on their shirts and take to social media about.
I often lived in a lonely shadow, hurriedly sneaking out of school at the end of the day to avoid contact with anyone who may try to hurt me. One of the worst incidents I ever had, involved three guys taking their turns beating on me. The VERY worst incident involved a case where I had another student stab me in the forearm with a pocket knife…
High school and school in general, never held any affection for me. Although I’ve always been a student of all knowledge, there was no love lost when I finally received my diploma and walked away. In fact, I very nearly declined to attend my own graduation and I certainly didn’t attend my prom. The painful memories and dislike I felt went as far as having me refuse to attend my 20-year high school reunion.
I think the subject of bullying has been covered often enough in recent years that I don’t need to climb up onto my soapbox, and I certainly don’t need to explain the reasons why bullying is bad. Suffice it to say that once my martial arts skills progressed significantly, the bullying magically stopped. Imagine that.
All jokes aside, I took a step towards personal healing today as I stepped into that long-hated institution and walked the very halls that were the place of my subjugation. I walked straight to the administration office and introduced myself to the secretary. A very kind woman, she invited me to walk through the main area and look at the graduation mosaics, which would certainly yield a photo of me from twenty three years ago!
I would have loved taking a few photographs, but I thought I would avoid the complications of a random adult male snapping photos inside a high school’s hallways! It did spark an idea, though. I asked the secretary if she knew who I could contact in regards to obtaining a copy of my graduation yearbook. I never got one; in fact, I’ve never even seen it.
The good news is that she believed that there would be spares in the school library and that any extras could certainly be sold. She took my name and contact number and promised to look into it and get back to me. I left the school property with a renewed sense of healing as though I had found a way to bridge a gap that has existed in my personal timeline for the past two decades.
I’ve always said that it’s an important thing to remember where you came from. This helps guide you to where you may be going and your development as the person you’re meant to become. I have a lot of bad memories from my school years; some medically-related, some bullying-related. And some of this has made it difficult for me to recall the good times I actually had through school.
And although I hadn’t planned on being home in northern New Brunswick, the unexpected change in travel plans may have yielded something positive. Even if life doesn’t care about your plan, it doesn’t mean it intends something bad. Sometimes it’s just a matter of perspective. ☯