Growing up is a fascinating thing to me. Watching my children grow is highly fascinating as well.
Yesterday I passed one of my old high schools, I went to two. And I started thinking about the wreck I was in my Freshman year of high school. I was riding with my boyfriend at the time as we were going out for a date. I am from a town of a few hundred people outside of Redding, CA which has a population of about 80,000. Anyway, we were traveling on the country roads on our way into "town" for our date. He didn't see the stop sign at the intersection of a country road and a very busy 55/65 mph highway. As we fly past the stop sign, I look out my window and remember this van coming very close to hitting me. I thought we passed it when, WHAM! The van hit the back of his jeep and tore the back hatch entirely off the vehicle.
Anyway, I ended up with a huge goose egg/bump on my forehead and a concussion. I was unable to play basketball for 2 weeks and I was slightly devastated. Of course I was more worried at the time about if mom was going to kill my boyfriend and missing a few games. I didn't kiss the ground everyday and praise a God that I was happy to be alive.
It was a day or two later that the swelling began to go down, but 2 black circles emerged around and under my eyes. I was unaware that jokes had already begun around school. I had raccoon eyes, which was apparently quite humorous to my peers. But, what I remember the most is one particular joke going around about myself and how we ended up crashing.
It made me think, hope, and pray my children never have to endure anything like what I went through as a kid. I'm mostly worried for Shannon since she is my special kid and like me in so many ways. I was already socially awkward and a chatterbox (surprise surprise). I never felt normal almost the entire time I was in school. I was pretty much picked on from day one and it stopped after I joined the military.
As an adult, you begin to realize the personal struggles one endures on a daily, weekly, monthly basis, or at least I have. After my mom's house burnt down, she was basically homeless, with no bra, and no shoes. So she went to the store to buy items to replace those since she didn't have any. I'm sure she got stares and possible rude comments. But it's because people can be heartless and judgemental. We learn it at an early age and sometimes it changes.
So, here I was 15 years old and being laughed at in school after dodging death. I REALLY could have died that day. If that van hit his Jeep in the wrong way, I could have died. And no one seemed to care. I think some of my close friends did. But people were too caught up in how to make fun of me than asking if truly was okay.
It's been almost 10 years now, this November anyway. And this is still bugging me. I don't necessarily want or need to receive apologies from peers. But I just hope people learn from bullying someday and teach their own kids how harmful bullying can be. I've forgiven and forgotten. I know the truth that day. We were talking when he went through the stop sign, that is all. No funny business.