I think many of us have periods of times when heavy clouds just seem to shroud over us and keep our days gloomy and unbearable, clouding the last time you even had a sunny day, and yet you are back here again. There’s always light at the end of a dark tunnel, but why does this tunnel seem to go on for damn ever?
Oddly today, my tunnel made me remember one of the first times I felt the darkest clouds in my life.
To many, it was a time of bliss, freedom, and fun.
I wish I could say the same. Life for me was quite drastic from my glamorous high school life. A story I don’t often tell because of the people who still cross paths with me in life, who still say hi, who still wish me well, who still only tell the memories of the ‘good old days.’
But best said by African Proverb: ‘The axe forgets; the tree remembers.’ Just like everyone who has hurt us forgets.
And that’s okay. Because those were days of adolescence. Days to fend for ourselves; for the selves we didn’t even know yet.
But I’ll talk about it today. With no hard feelings. Just a realization of what I’ve made it through to remind myself of how I’m gonna do it again.
Middle school me was quiet. More naive than you could ever know. I was happy. I had a lot of friends, I was involved, I excelled in class; phy ed wasn’t too shabby either. Then I had a best friend. And she, her first boyfriend (a concept that was not yet in my vocabulary). I was the type to be more happy for others than they are themselves. I was the overly bubbly girl who tried too hard, and worked too hard. I remember even preparing a small gift to celebrate their first month-versary for them. Unfortunately, I inevitably saw him more than her; we had the same bus, same assigned lockers, and similar classes. All things not in my power or choice. But I did my best to pass along the notes, and play mediator.
Fast forward to my return after a few days of being absent from school due to a dance performance I had out of state.
I remember excitedly saying hi to everyone first thing in the morning right after the school meeting. But I was greeted, or so, not greeted with the opposite. Got a nice cold, glare from my was-bestfriend-three-days-ago. Some friends nervously said hi, others walked past me like I died, and there stood my best guy friend, Nick, waving ecstatically with his skinny arm and big smile, just as clueless as I was.
That was the opening day to all hell breaking loose. Prologue to confrontation and threats from various girls I’ve never met, talked to, or used to be friends with, about my supposed “deep wishes” to steal and flirt with my best friend’s boyfriend. Steal? Flirt? What was that? Wait, I didn’t even know what a boyfriend was. Crush? The crushes I had don’t even know I exist because they lived timezones away.
“What a bitch?” “Aren’t you the least bit ashamed of yourself?” “FYI, I am not on your side.” “Ouu, better keep your new man close. Nakita’s around.”
The smiles in my face asking me if I’m okay just so they can chuckle away to the new possy they’ve created based on the hate for me. The slambooks with my name in them, the pledges of “I swear I didn’t take part in it, Nakita,” the in-synch, rolling down of windows of the bus next to mine, trash flying into my face, “slut, whore, hoe–you know what you did! Don’t act like you don’t know, Bitch!”
I will never forget.
I. Will. Never. Forget.
Days, weeks, months–felt like fucking eternity.
Eternity of me making the decision to completely outcast myself. Studying after school to see if I could skip a grade and shorten the misery. Surveying high schools everyone was going to so I could go to one that NO ONE knew. Crying anywhere, anytime and giving no fucks.
I never knew when it was going to stop. My mom used to see me so excited to go to school. Now she never even saw me smile or come out of my room. I just became some angry, dark child. And she didn’t know why, until almost after everything.
Out of the blue, after I don’t even know how long, I eventually did receive an apology, but it was appalling lol. Because it was an “I’m sorry for whatever I may have done to somehow cause us to no longer be friends. I hope you forgive me, Nakita. I don’t know why you’re mad. But don’t be mad.”
I scoffed. And just walked away. I came back the next day like nothing happened, because in everyone else’s mind, nothing did happen. To them. Like this hell was all a fucking dream, some made up shit in my head?!?! Wow. Forgiveness to me, wasn’t me accepting them or overlooking what they did. It was me looking the shit they did to me straight in the eye, and closing off my heart forever and knowing to never let them in again. Ever. Even if I smiled and said hi.
What amazes me the most, is that during all that, I not once ever wished revenge upon them, nor an apology or the same bad things to happen to them. I never once said a thing to retaliate, stand up for myself, or spread rumors back. All I wished for was–the strength to get through this moment.
Because the most important thing wasn’t for them to be punished, it was just for me to get out and far away. It was my safety and inner peace. What happened to them, was never of my concern.
I hope to bring that with me today. During new heartbreaks that shatter my soul, pain that crumbles the good in me, that wishes the most extremity of suffering upon harmers. I hope to remember the resilience in 13 year-old me. The one who knew silence was key. Who knew that truth would prevail. Who believed that good would win. And that to win, was to not play.
Who knew that she no longer needed anyone else. That if she knew the truth, then that was more than enough. That SHE was more than ENOUGH.
Remembering tough memories can be empowering. Living tough times can be nurturing. They teach you that although bad things don’t stop happening to you, you do get better and stronger at overcoming them each time they do.
That even if this moment is hard, focus on the good, and in time, you’ll have made it through before you even knew it.
Nothing lasts forever. ❤
Thanks for hanging in there Nakita. You did great baby girl.
(8th Grade Graduation Day)