They say that your school days are the best days of your life well for me that statement just didn’t roll, people kept telling me it would get better as I got older but it didn’t happen and all it did was to set me up for more falls as an adult.
In primary school I was first in a two form entry school near to where I lived I was quiet and shy and found it really hard to make friends probably because I was different even then. I remember being friends with this girl (I’ll call her Casey) she was a bit of a loner too so we sort of got on but she had a sly side, she’d take my snacks off me or hide my stuff one day she deliberately took my biscuits off me and threw them on the floor and stamped right on them out of sheer spite, people might think that is a weird memory but it just stuck with me because I remember she did it all because I dared to try to be friends with someone else. Anyway, things didn’t improve and so my mum and dad decided maybe a change of schools would be good. There was another girl who I knew (her mum and my mum were sort of friends) and she was going to move schools as well (for totally different reasons to me) so it seemed like we could go together, let’s face it “together” was a bit too much of an optimistic word to use.
Anyway we moved and it was okay ish, it was a much bigger school 120 kids in each year. I don’t remember much about infant school probably apart from to say I managed to survive it in the end.
I then moved to junior school which was not far from my infant school and a direct feeder school to it so all 120 kids went up together. I struggled from the off I’m not the best reader or mathematician so I was in the bottom sets for everything which pretty much put me with some people who thought they could just push me around too, I was never really excepted into friendship groups I was the outsider looking in all the time.
I did make friends with one girl (who I’ll call Elle) and she was just lovely, our families got along too and we even went to Florida together it was one of the best experiences of my life because we got to swim with dolphins on her birthday. Me and Elle got on really well and I loved finally having that one friend I could trust and be myself with. But as they say, all good things come to an end and we slowly drifted apart. It wasn’t Elle’s fault it was me, I just let her drift to other people, people who I thought were better than me. One of my worst social inabilities is that I don’t fight for friendships I always put myself down and let people go because I’ve trained my brain to believe I’m not good enough a person let alone a friend. I hate myself when I do it but I just can’t stop. Let’s face it if you don’t like yourself as a person you’ve got no chance of letting other people like you.
When I got to the end of year 6 and ready for high school I knew this transition was going to be hard because the high school I was going to was a big school with about 1200 pupils in lower site.
My final junior school teacher was a cow. Anyway, she contacted my parents and discussed the idea of me moving up and going into a program called Route 67 in the teacher learning center. She told them it would only be for certain lessons like maths, English, and science but it would be smaller classes so I could have the chance to make more friends because even the teacher could see that I was socially awkward. I didn’t really understand what it meant so I just went along with it.. but that decision was the start of a road that I would never get off a road or even more isolation.
Route 67… kids with issues being separated from the rest of their year group, good one! The teacher always put me on a table with lads because I was “a calming influence” and the girls on the other table hated that and although they wanted to be my friend they also spent most of the time trying to cause trouble for me. What stood out most was that the people in the rest of the year group though we were all “weirdos” “thick” “dumb”.
My mum and dad fought endlessly to get them to let me go into normal lessons because they knew I was just falling into darkness fast, but no one would listen and I stayed in there for the whole of year 7.
Year 8 came and suddenly the powers that be decided “hey let’s throw these kids to the wolves and put them in with the rest of their year group” .. nice one!
Well if we didn’t get picked on before we certainly did now we were the people no one wanted to be friends with the total social outcasts so it’s safe to say that all the way through high school I was known as Emily in the TLC. It’s a safe assumption to say that the majority of friendships at high school are made in year 7 so after that you’ll always be the outsider looking in.. for me a phrase that was becoming a tattoo on my head!
I did have friends but I was never a “first choice friend” I was nice, reliable friend Emily who would do until someone better came along”.
The one thing that year 7 did do for me though was to make me want to prove people wrong that I wasn’t dumb and that I could make something of my life (despite Miss Flanigan saying I’d never amount to much and I’d never pass any of my exams) well bitch look at me now… the dumb kid who got to university!
How I managed to survive high school I’ll never know, I think in the last two years I just decided that I needed to “play the game, be two-faced, massage people’s egos and generally be someone that’s not me” just to fit in! People were always ready to remind me though that I was Emily Harris who was in the TLC my life label!
2015 I was finally free and guess what I got 7 GCSE’s and I was off to college to start my life off again, to have a chance for people to get to know me without my history coming before me and slapping me in the face. So my social story always read like this:
Infant school- bullied, not many friends, moved to another school for a ‘new start’
Infant school 2 – a new start, not many friends, move to junior school for a ‘new start’
Junior school – a new start, not many friends, never invited to parties, left out, picked on and not good enough moved to high school for a new start
High school – a new start, more labels, more isolation, more not fitting in, more not feeling good enough.
The clear pattern was that each time I believed a new start would mean a chance to finally have friends and fit in with everyone, but all this really meant was a brick wall being built higher and higher so that I’d never get over it. So school formed me… it formed me into a person with zero belief in my self, no confidence and no light at the end of the tunnel.
It wasn’t all bad though… I got to wear the most beautiful prom dress at the end of it all and for once in my life, I was who I wanted to be- a princess forever in Neverland!
~ Don’t let the past bring you down, let it make you stronger~