Why Don't You Like Me?
by, Melissa R. Mendelson
One of my earliest memories takes me back to kindergarten. I remember sitting by myself near the classroom door. The teacher starts to walk by when she noticed I was playing alone, and a look of disapproval crossed her face. Her gaze moves over to all the other kids, who were playing together, and then her eyes return to me. And for whatever reason, this memory has never left my mind.
I remember my days in Birch Lane. I was only a child, but I still remember. I'll never forget Evan and his gang of bullies. I'll never be able to forget Paul, but he is a different story for another time. I still see myself sitting alone for lunch, being teased, being ignored, and I still remember that one day in the hallway, where I sat alone and watched my peers walk by as if I wasn't even there.
My family shortly moved upstate, where I was introduced to the kids of M-W, and I would spend the rest of my school life, my youth with them. And I so desired to fit in, to have real friends, but in the beginning, I found those with plastic smiles and razor sharp knives. And I remained alone, lost through the rest of elementary into the middle school.
Later on, I found myself surrounded by a small group of friends, but I did not understand the value of friendship. I was alone for too long, and I pushed and pulled them every which way. And a few years later, my friends disappeared, leaving me alone to finish out my high school years.
And the bullies kept on coming. Man or woman, I was teased to no end, pushed and pulled by their harsh hands and words, and the school bus ride back and forth from home to school was a living hell. And I had done nothing to these people, but they never left me alone. Their pleasure came from my misery, and I have not forgotten them.
The college years were not one of my best, but one of the good things that came from my time up in Oneonta was being left alone. The only people that gave me a hard time were my two roommates, and the rest of my peers treated me as if I were a ghost. And one of my regrets was going to this college when I had other choices and wasting my time being alone instead of enjoying the college life.
And the high school experience began to fade to black. The bullies were ghosts walking down the corridors of my life. My youth, my childhood was frozen in photography, pictures that I can hardly look at today, and my life continued on alone.
It was only when I was forced to return to the world of retail, where I found myself living a life that I thought was left far behind me. My path crossed with people, who treated me with the same “respect” as those before them. Their plastic smiles crossed wide across their faces with razor sharp knives held tightly behind their backs, and they bided their time, waiting for the perfect moment to strike. And my only escape was to quit and move on to somewhere else, and I still wonder, “What did I ever do to those people?”
The one thing that I have learned from my life, my experiences is the value of being alone, building walls to heal my wounds. I have gathered strength from broken dreams and shattered hearts. The memories that will never fade have become the stories of my life, and the pen is my sword. And that girl that had struggled so long to find herself has come home, and I no longer step out into the world in doubt or despair. I know who I am, and I no longer care why those people, who have brought misery to life never liked me. They don't matter. They're just ghosts walking down the corridors of my life.