Here I am, sitting in my father’s black robe in front of my two monitors, struggling with the emotions I refuse to bottle up [like I have for almost the past 2 decades], in pain because my new pain medicine seems to be hurting me more than helping. I always say, if someone wants to get to know me the best route to take is through my writing. It’s where I’ve learned to open myself and express myself.
If you want to get to know me, read this:
I’m a college student finishing her first year at community college, somewhere her family never wanted her to be. It was always a top UC that they expected me to end up. If you asked, why? Here’s the answer: I wasn’t good enough. I hadn’t been prepared to be at a university.
Here’s a brief timeline of my life that brought me to where I am today:
It was bashed in my head at a very, very young age that I couldn’t show my true emotions, that I needed to constantly where a mask, that it was a requirement to be who my parents wanted me to be in order to receive affection of any kind. Before I got into kindergarten or the first grade, I perfected the persona of a daughter my parents wanted to have.
By second grade, I had no friends but I knew what fake friends were. I knew how it felt to be bullied and laughed at. I also learned that I couldn’t talk to my parents about anything.
Going into middle school, I moved houses and therefore moved schools for the third time. Unlike my sister, I jumped at the chance to leave the school I was at. I thought I was saved, because everyone who bullied me wouldn’t be in my life anymore. I finally was getting away from that pain.
The same summer that we moved houses, I went through my second open heart surgery. I survived off of pain medications for about a month after being in the ICU. I soon learned what it felt like to have people treat you with caution, sometimes making it feel like your limitations were disabilities. I hated that feeling, and I came to hate it more when it continued even after I healed and got the ‘OK’ from my doctors. I despised that feeling.
In seventh grade, I realized that the teasing would not end, the laughing at would not stop…basically, the bullying had followed me to a new school [to a certain extent]. I learned where I could hide during the breaks you were supposed to go and “hang out with friends”.
In eighth grade, I got a glimpse of what a true friend could be. His name was Carlos. He made it seem like I could actually talk to him because he actually cared about me. But that diminished after I made one wrong move of developing feelings for the boy.
Going into high school, I was lost once again. Everyone had their groups and everyone had their friends. I went back to hiding in the journalism room whenever I could. I hated wandering the campus like a lost duck after I learned the friends I thought I had from middle school were simply using me to their own advantage. The journalism room became where I met one of my favorite teachers of all time. We called him Mr. Hill. It was only after his encouragement that I found my passion for photography, that I came out of my shell. I got more involved with school. I went to events, I ventured the campus with a purpose instead of like a lost puppy, and I developed some confidence in myself.
Too bad that was also the year I got involved with some of the wrong people. Though I had my interest in photography at the time, I still wanted a group of friends I belonged in. I had people I talked to here and there but no one who I knew would have my back. The vulnerability of this mindset encouraged me to basically take up the first group that offered acceptance. And it was from there that I learned what true betrayal and abandonment felt like.
I quickly learned what depression was and how it felt to cut. I knew depression wasn’t a new feeling to me, but I finally learned was it was called and how to describe what I was experiencing. My parents and sister were very scared for me. News quickly spread and I was the disappointment and the embarrassment of the family. I was taken to a lot of places to “cure my depression” just like some people try to “cure homosexuality”. This angered me because no one listened to me yet everyone seemed to have an answer.
I was soon transferred to a new high school, one my sister had just graduated from, one that my old elementary school “friends” were. Great. I started over again with hatred in my heart and anger flooding through my body. I was a lost duck once again. That’s when I met Peter. He took me under his wing and made the effort to be my friend.
Fast forward, Peter is my best friend and I have a little group I seem to fit in with. But I also had one of my old elementary friends hating my guts. To her, I got along with her boyfriend at the time way too well. (Her boyfriend was also one of Peter’s closest friends). I thought I was doing her a favor to try to get along with her friends. I thought wrong. She hated me.
And from then one out, through the rest of sophomore year to my senior year, countless of problems came up in my group of friends that finally stopped changing junior year.
Ahh, yes, junior year. This is when my mother decided her temple was more important than her family. This is when I stopped praying. This is when I shut out my portion of my life because it was just too painful for me to even think I was anything like my mother. The constant arguments (aka screaming matches) between my mother and father broke my heart. I won’t even go into details.
Fast forward, I’m graduating high school the same year my sister graduates from UC Irvine. All the attention goes to her. She’s the one who accomplished so so so much by graduating. She had honors. She had tassels. She had awards. She was graduating a year before she was supposed to, making her two years younger than the rest of her class. And in all of that excitement, I seemed to have been forgotten.
As much as I wanted to keep my friends close, I became more and more excited to finally go to school closer to home. Santiago Canyon College. The drive would be 20 minutes (with traffic) versus the 1 hour and 15 minutes (with moderate traffic) I dealt with everyday going to high school. My first weeks went by very slowly and very chaotically. The transition from high school to college wasn’t as hard as they said but it definitely wasn’t a breeze either. Most of the semester went by without a single friend at my side. The friends I once had in high school slowly drifted off with little to no attempts to mending the gap. I tried and tried to keep this family of friends a part of my life, but failed one by one.
Jump to my second semester of college, I developed a group of friends in my chemistry sequence that is slowly blending into my math sequence as well. I know they have my back. I know I have friends in that group. But through everything I have been through with “friends”, I still have a hard time letting my guard down and trusting any one fully. But as I am struggling with something new in life, I am learning who are my true friends and who are simply “friends”. I am also getting reminded of what I pushed away my junior year in high school. I had started to miss what I used to have, but the reflection of my mother I see in that belief scare me away from accepting it back into my life.
Today, as I am writing this post, I am still struggling to accept that portion of me back into my life. But I am also realizing that, slowly, what I once pushed away and denied myself had already begun to seep back into my heart, into my life.
Maybe this post wasn’t brief. Maybe it wasn’t very detailed. But that kind of sums up who I am and where I am with my life.