It’s safe to assume that I’m not right in the head. Sometimes my mind goes fuzzy and I stop thinking, whether it be in the middle of a conversation or doing homework or just breathing and living, being the only self of me that I can be: myself. My friends - they get it. Sometimes, the choo-choo of my conscious falls off the rails and into the ocean, lost with the other locomotives that I really need to take better care of. And then the only time that I remember what I was about to say is when Lakitu picks up those trains and I get back on track.
It doesn’t happen often.
But I get sidetracked and move from one thing to the other and wow, what’s that over there? And then people look at me weird and I feel embarassed, because people have blatantly told me before that my inability to stay still and stay on one thing for too long or focus on something too much is strange. And I don’t like that word.
Strange. But moving around and fiddling so much doesn’t make a good combination with being a klutz. I don’t pay attentiont to everything around me - and even if I did, it’s not like I’d be able to remember every little detail. So when something catches my attention or if I just need to move, then suddenly oh, something hit my foot and I didn’t see it before and now I’m falling to the ground? Usually, they’re chairs or I’m just a massive moron and I trip over my own feet, because when I’m on the move I just go. If something catches my attention, then I beeline straight towards it and nothing else matters.
Until I stumble and faceplant into the ground.
People then proceed to make a big deal out of me falling because it’s supposed to hurt. Sometimes when I fall, I don’t even realize it until someone points out that there’s blood all over my shirt and a little bit of it is dripping onto the floor and wow! I’m bleeding! A lot! When did that happen? Mom can’t see, so she doesn’t notice my bruised up… everything. When the pain gets really, bad, I just pop a painkiller into my mouth, drink some water, and call it a day. I also get lots of headaches, and that’s not fun at all, but the painkillers help with that, too.
And - and I’m not really that smart. I know better now, but before, I didn’t really - it never occurred to me that painkillers couldn’t solve every kind of pain. So - so when people started to - they weren’t being nice. Saying - they were saying really mean things and I didn’t like the pain that ached in my heart and the butterflies that were in my tummy so I just…
Whenever they said something mean, I would always - I would just take painkillers. Because I thought it would help me in not being as sensitive. To all the things the kids at school were saying about me. And it’s not like they were trying to hide it - no, some of them made sure that I heard what they were saying. Loud and clear, then they’d laugh and I’d pretend that I was listening to music and not to what they were saying about me and I just -
One of my teachers asked me if I was okay, one day. I didn’t understand what he was asking, because he told me to stay after class ended and everyone was cackling, and I definitely heard someone say that “the retard is failing class so she needs to stay after for extra help,” and that didn’t make me feel any better.
He said that he knew about what everyone was saying and that I was being bullied, but I pretended that I didn’t know anything and they just needed someone to take their frustrations out on and it was fine, no hard feelings. I’d almost told him about how I was fine regardless because the painkillers help meeven though they don’t and it’s just a placebo effect that I’ve made up in my mind because I’m a clueless kid that doesn’t know any better, but a part of me said that he’d be even more concerned if I told him that, so I didn’t.
When I got into high school, my mom started to date someone. I’d never seen him before, but he seemed really nice but he wasn’t blind so he asked me why I had a bruised nose and scratches and scabs on my arms and I told him that I was just really clumsy, and my mom piped in, talking about how she hears me bumping into stuff all the time. He smiled and laughed and believed me, and I was relieved and guilty at the same time.
I didn’t have the heart to tell them that kids at school were now purposefully shoving me around for their own personal amusement. Just small things: Bumping into me when walking past me in the hallway. That was all. Sure, it escalated a little bit, but my gullible self still believed that they were just taking their frustrations out on the easy target. That was just my role in the food chain, and I’d accepted that as my fate for the rest of the year.
I didn’t realise that I was addicted to ibuprofen until I showed signs of withdrawal. “Rebound headaches” is what I now know as the proper term. I carrired around a bottle of ibuprofen in my bag, shoving cotton balls into the bottle so it would muffle the sound.If I didn’t take enough, then my headaches would get worse, so I just took more and more. I thought it would make things better, but I just got more miserable and tired and angry at the world and everyone around me. No one knew that I had painkillers in my bag, because I knew that if they did then they’d have more ammo to bully me with, and I didn’t want that.
And then the bullying got worse. Rather than bumping in to me, they shoved me into lockers. One of the kids in my art class told me that he heard that there were kids planning to jump me after school. I told him that they wouldn’t go that far, that it would be fine, that I would be fine. They jumped me after school. Threw me in the trunk of a car and - after they got to a discreet field with no houses for as far as the eye could see, they took all my school stuff and went through every pocket. When they found the ibuprofen, they laughed and degraded me and I tried to focus on the blades of grass and breathe, they’re just trying to get under your skin but you’ve gone through this for three years, it’s going to be fine, they aren’t going to do anything other than try to scare you a little - Then one slapped me in the face and another kicked me in the stomach and I curled into a ball and took everything, not fighting back or screaming for them to stop, please this hurts so much what did I do to deserve any of this? Because mom taught me to not fight back because if those who hurt me realized that what they were doing didn’t bother me in the slightest, then they’d stop.
But they didn’t. They brought out a metal trashcan from the backseat of the car, and grabbed my bag. Tossed it in there, poured gasoline on it, then proceeded to light it on fire. I watched as it burned, peeking from behind my arms to watch the fire rise, swallowing my belongings in a beautiful orange plague. The group that brought me out there was laughing and cackling, hyenas successfully demolishing their prey. They did demolish me. Completely. I was devastated. My mom bought me that bag, those folders, all those materials for school - she bought that ibuprofen for me because she knew how clumsy I was and how much pain it could cause me sometimes.
And those monsters deemed it necessary to destroy all of that.
After that, they beat me up a little more, then went to leave me in the field to… die, I guess. But someone had called the police and they got there and I was magically saved except not, because I had to deal with telling my mom and her boyfriend about what was going on and mom cried and I didn’t want to see her cry because she hadn’t cried even when dad left.
The worst part of it, though, was that my mind was so far gone that the majority of me didn’t care. Ibuprofen, ibuprofen, ibuprofen, ibuprofen, stop the pain, stop the pain, stop the pain, please stop the pain I don’t think I can take much more I don’t want to feel the pain anymore please, please, please, PLEASE was echoing in my head so loud that I couldn’t pay attention to anything else.
Therapy is helping me. It’s hard to talk about everything that happened. Very, very hard.
But I’m getting there. Slowly.
And the empty bottle of ibuprofen on my desk is a silent reminder of all the pain I went through.
A silent reminder of how weak I used to be, and how strong I am now.