Sometimes It’s Not What You’d Expect
Posted on August 28, 2014
Original MySpace Publication Date: August 22, 2010
Republished: August 28th, 2014
I did it. I crammed so much into a day before leaving for DragonCon that I didn’t leave enough time to write a new blog post. Fortunately, it’s been a REALLY long time since I pulled one out from the MySpace blogging days, so I handpicked this one just for you. It harkens back to my high school days. You see, I got up the nerve to contact someone in 2010 via Facebook who’d bullied me back when I was a sophomore, junior and senior. His response was…unexpected. Have a look for yourself.
I was a typical all-American high school student long before I ever became an internationally known author (i.e. South Africa–but hey, a gig’s a gig). And I don’t think about those years very often. A very, very dear friend of mine has simply blocked high school right out of her memory. It probably helps that she married her high school asshole, then divorced him and rightly so, whereas I didn’t get the opportunity to do either. My high school asshole is straight and I was never as attracted to him as he seemed to be to himself. I can say that because that was back then and not now, so he might have been during that time. He certainly acted like it.
In any case, this particular individual became aware of me back in junior high and, for some reason I could never figure out, took a disliking to me. We had two classes together, never spoke to each other, never had any mutual friends and never saw each other outside of school, yet he took every opportunity to make my life a living hell. We’re talking stomach ache in the morning and not wanting to go to school because of just thinking about running into him. It was that bad.
How is it that one person acquires so much power over us? It’s seems silly now, but then we all know so much more today as opposed to then, what’s important and what’s not. Well, this one individual soured things so much for me that I skipped the 10 year reunion (it was either attend or go on a trip to Hong Kong…tough choice) and I had no intention of going to the 20 when it came around. Something interesting happened, though; I found him on Facebook.
Something else interesting happened; someone suggested I e-mail him.
And I did.
It’s been an interesting time listening to all the FHS reunion stories being passed around and participating a little myself. One thing I’d never actually understood is something someone suggested I actually just write and ask you about personally. It never occurred to me to do this and I’m not entirely comfortable with it, but I’m going to give it a shot anyway.
I’m still asking myself twenty years later what it was that made you hate me as much as you apparently did. I remember having one or two classes together where we never interacted, we didn’t hang around the same people, never saw each other outside of school and never had an altercation that I could see starting the animosity that came from you. Yet, for whatever reason, you took some amount of joy in making my life as miserable as possible whenever you could (and I say this now with no animosity or anger). Why? What prompted it?
I left FHS behind me a long time ago and I never expected to revisit those years there. Reconnecting with some of the folks has really turned into a wonderful experience. People grew up and some now have kids. You have kids, so I suspect if one of your children ever had a similar experience, they and you would want to at least ask the same question I am.
It’s just one of those lingering things from the past that I could never associate any closure with. Even if you choose not to respond, I do thank you for at least reading the e-mail.
Are you ready for the answer? I was a nervous wreck waiting for it and one did finally arrive.
Wow…I have to say that I am truly at a loss here. I am actually hoping you have the wrong person, because that doesn’t seem like something I would do. If it is me than I am truly sorry that I inflicted memories that would haunt you 20 years later. I think people that know me would tell you that it doesn’t sound like me. I will admit that I have been told by people that didn’t know me in high school that they thought I was cocky. I say I was just shy. I socialized with my friends, but didn’t always go out of my way to make friends with everyone. So I may not have been the most social person, but don’t remember ever going out of my way to make someone’s life miserable. You are right. I have children and would be very upset if someone was making their life miserable.
Twenty years of waiting, wondering and pondering and I wasn’t even a memorable victim??? Well, more proof as to why I went on to write books like “A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to My Sexual Orientation” and “Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell” instead of becoming an actor.
It makes me wonder if anybody else has one of these kinds of things hanging over their head or if I was just the pathetic one for letting it go on so long. Did you do anything about it? Was it ever resolved? And if you haven’t done anything about, do you plan to?
Sometimes it’s not what you’d expect.
Kristoffer Gair (who formerly wrote under the pseudonym Kage Alan) is the Detroit-based author of Honor Unbound, A Funny Thing Happened On The Way To My Sexual Orientation, Andy Stevenson Vs. The Lord Of The Loins, Gaylias: Operation Thunderspell, several short stories featured in anthologies (to be combined in a forthcoming book), the recently re-published novella Falling Awake, its sequel, Falling Awake II: Revenant and Falling Awake III: Requiem.
4 Responses to “Classic Blog Post: Sometimes It’s Not What You’d Expect”
Jennifer Taylor says:
August 28, 2014 at 9:13 am
I had a very similar situation in high school. In my 13 years of K5-12th grade, I attended 6 schools, so needless to say, I started over a LOT. My 9th grade year, I started in public school and hated it. It took me eight weeks to make my first friend (i ate lunch with her for the first time my last day of school there); before I made a friend, I ate my lunch in the hallway doing homework or writing stories.
I was transferred to a private school and had to start all over again. The first week I managed to tick of the “head freshman” Trey. He was a nice looking guy, but cocky, arrogant, and just cruel to anyone who wasn’t a jock. Since when does a freshman rule the school? You got it, he thought he was God and so did many others. That year was miserable – I developed an eating disorder that trampled on what was left of my self esteem.
Tenth grade, I changed schools again just to get away from him, and guess what? He showed up in my classroom five minutes after I walked in. This time, my mother refused to let me change schools again – the only time I sincerely wanted to change schools. I was miserable – until my senior year.
My senior year is when everything changed. Trey walked into class and I cornered him – literally pushed him into the room closet. Everyone knew how miserable I had been, and no one said a word – not even our teacher. I had my say – I told him everything I was feeling and thinking. I warned him not to cross me, and dared him to try because I wasn’t going to take it any longer. And yes, I kept my composure and religion.
That year was a turning point for both of us. He was the first to stand up for me when a new teacher began bullying me for my eating disorder. I knew I could count on him from that moment on. I returned the favor at graduation when the faculty considered not allowing him to walk because of an incident off campus that he was assumed to be involved with. I was the first one in the principle’s office saying I wouldn’t walk unless Trey did.
That brought closure to a lot of pain for me in high school. I still look back and think of how much tie I wasted worrying about going to school and facing him every day, but now it doesn’t hurt because the matter was resolved. I got closure…I hope your bully’s response brought you some type of closure as well. 🙂
Patricia Hebel says:
August 28, 2014 at 9:36 am
You are a bigger person than I am. I have a lot of this sort of thing in my past. I just moved on and forgot about these people. Never tried to contact them. It isn’t that I have forgotten their abuse, just that I hoped they grew up into better people. I figure they were just learning experiences in my past that I didn’t want to re-visit.
Lisa Worrall says:
August 28, 2014 at 8:57 pm
Wow – shows how much easier it is for the bullier to move on than the bullied.
I had a similar experience in secondary school (high school). A girl made my life a bloody misery. My brother had a bit of a reputation as someone not to mess around with, which just seemed to make everyone think I was fair game. Being overweight as well just put an ever bigger sign on my forehead. I left school I moved on, or I thought I had.
Years later, through other people, this girl became friends with my sister-in-law, so I now have to sit in the same room as the one who made my life hell at every family party and event my sister-in-law has, including my niece’s wedding a couple of months ago.
She obviously doesn’t remember anything like your bullier, because she talks to me as if we’re old friends, but we’re not. Could never be.
August 28, 2014 at 9:58 pm
I had a bully only briefly. She was older and way bigger and would wait for me on the way to lunch. She and her half brother died in a motorcycle accident eventually. To this day i still feel guilty for still being glad.