Thursday, July 5, 2012

In the simplest terms...

"You see us as you want to see us - in the simplest terms, in the most convenient definitions. You see us as a brain, an athlete, a basket case, a princess and a criminal. Correct? That's the way we saw each other at 7:00 this morning. We were brainwashed". - The Breakfast Club

I’m a loser. I always have been. I was never a popular kid; in fact, I was the kid that the unpopular kids picked on. People look at me now and can’t imagine it. I’m beautiful, apparently. I don’t see it. I was told for too long how ugly I was and I’m the remnants of their words; scar tissue that still hurts.

I developed severe cystic acne as a child. Eleven years old, and tossed to the lions that are school yard bullies. ‘Pizza face, crater face, ugly bitch, disgusting, dog’ there are so many “original” ways to tear a person down. They tried to beat me with their fists too when words weren’t getting the rise they wanted. I was always able to stand up for myself, my father taught me well. Hit the biggest and the rest will fall. They learned quickly that I would defend myself and so they finely tuned the craft of verbal abuse. I guess it worked. The marks are still there.

At thirteen I finally saw a dermatologist who told me about a brand new drug on the market, a chemo drug that was discovered to cure people with stubborn cystic acne, Accutane.

I was on Accutane for a year and half before my acne disappeared. During my duration on the drug I thought about suicide endlessly. Apparently it was an unknown side effect. I refuse to blame the drug though. After years of endless teasing, and beatings, and having to defend myself it was no wonder I wanted to die.

I had five people who prevented me from carrying it out. Five people who loved me. Five people I owe so much too and have never said it. Youth and introspection don’t go hand in hand.  But they saved my life. And I will always love them for that. The distance between us now; spelled out through detached and impersonal online interactions is all that I have left of some of the most profound relationships I have ever had.

Lynsey, Alena, Marina, Laura, and Tasha are the girls who gave me courage to believe in myself, and who said out loud and through actions that I was worthy and awesome. We were the outcasts, and labelled by our peers and sometimes our own families. But all of us refused, on some level, to fit in, to compromise ourselves, or to change. We found acceptance with one another - and for a while it was enough.

I suppose what I’m trying to say is that I’m a loser in my own mind. I’m ugly, and awkward, shy and so insecure. But with the right people around me – with people who love me for who I am - I can be a person who still hears the voices, but who chooses not to believe their accusations.

Carrie (me), Marina, Alena, Lynsey, Tasha.
You can kinda of see the acne that plagued me.
Laura had yet to enter our...unique group. :)


Lynnjefferson said...

Heartbreaking baby and I knew you suffered through those years but you have emerged through to the other side much stronger for it. You were always beautiful.


Kait said...

You are as beautiful as I am certain those who mistreated you are not. Miserable mean children do not seem to better themselves with age.
Funny, my self conscious belief that am not pretty or smart came from my oh so wonderful father himself.

Amanda said...

I can relate to this on so many levels. When teasing like that happens at such a young age, the taunts help to inform our identity. I still struggle so hard to realize I'm not who the mean girls thought I was. I wish I would have known you then. We would have been friends.

carrie said...

@Mom-Thank you mom. You are right, I am stronger now.

@Kait- I'm sorry that you had to suffer that humiliation at the hands of your own father. Unforgivable.

@Amanda- It's true. It does become a part of who we are. Even now I cant leave my house without makeup, not even to go into my own backyard. It's a remnant of their words and of thinking that my face isn't worth looking at. I'm sure we would have been good friends, and I'm so sorry you can relate.

Robbie K said...

I am so sorry you by were tortured by cruel people. Mean people suck. I am glad you had some true friends by your side. Those connections can make such a difference.

Michelle Longo said...

I've been meaning to comment on this piece for days. I'm so sorry you went through that. And I'm so glad you came out on the other side stronger and able to write about it.

carrie said...

@Robbie-They really did. In fact they made all the difference.

@Michelle- me too. I'm happy that even before my acne was gone my friends helped me regain some self esteem.

Tyrae said...

I can relate so much with this! I too was a complete outcast when I was in school, and it didn't help that I grew up in Logan Lake, where my grade size was a whopping 20 kids. I also had extremely crooked teeth growing up from too big of teeth, a small jaw and a retarded dentist who refused to pull baby teeth while my adult teeth grew in around them (none of my baby teeth fell out on their own, they all had to get pulled, and because the dentist wouldn't do it, my parents did with floss... ugh). Also having a brain when half of the people in Logan Lake were missing theirs didn't help me at all. I was an outcast for actually getting good grades. The smart ugly one. It does mold how you think of yourself, and if I could keep my children out of that sort of atmosphere I would, but I know that I would never be able to give them the education they need. I don't have enough confidence in my teaching abilities for that.
If only all of us "loners" could have known each other as kids.

carrie said...

@Tyrae- It's so hard being the outcast and it drives me nuts that society is set up to divide instead of unite. From Sports to grades everyone is sorted, judged and "placed".

It's really no wonder that even as adults people suffer from anxiety and depression. It's hard constantly feeling as though you just aren't good "enough".