It’s a simple recipe.
Add a pinch of difficult home life to a pan of stewing, rotten school life. Once this comes to crippling anxiety then season with bullying and low self-esteem and ta- dah… You have yourself the base recipe for a bitch. Decorate accordingly.
I can’t pinpoint the moment I became an unlikable wretch but I know it started in primary school.
The things I did when I was younger, primarily being awful, was all to make people like me.
I swore like a sailor to make the popular girl laugh. It worked.
I stomped on boys’ dicks to make my best friend like me. It worked.
I was rude to everyone, just to make a few people like me. Oddly enough, it worked.
I was a bitch because it worked… at least for a little while.
The thing is that by the time I had stopped making the popular girl laugh, she had made a new group of friends and I wasn’t part of it. When I stopped abusing boys, none of them wanted to speak to me (shocking) and when no one wanted to be friends with me, neither did my best friend.
By the time I reached secondary school I was so invested in what I had become that I didn’t want to give it up. I was making my dad proud after all. I had a reputation for being violent and having a bad attitude.
No one messed with his little girl. In his words… he had ‘trained’ me well…
Unfortunately, I was bludgeoned with an ugly stick. I wasn’t a cool, witty character like I wanted to be. I was just that moody, acne covered thing in the corner of the room who glared at people from under her monobrow.
I wanted to be liked, and I thought being a first-class a-hole was how to do it. Truth is though, I might never have tried that approach if it had not been for a certain word that had stalked me for years.
I don’t know how many times a day I was called ugly. I remember being called ugly from as young as five, when I was in reception. All through primary I was haunted by that name and in a class of six girls and twenty-one boys, I struggled to cope. If EVER I hear someone say ‘girls stick together,’ and they are being serious, you can bet your arse that I am laughing on the inside. The girls I went to school with tore me a god-dam new one. Funnily enough, the girl who threw me the most grief is a model now. She is gorgeous to be fair but wouldn’t trust her not to kick me in the face for a laugh. I guess looks really were a genuine concern for her.
My ugliness grew with me and by the time I reached secondary I started seeing some of the physical effects it had on people.
I first witnessed the effects of my ugly powers when I was exiting a French class in year 7. I was in a class with a group of platinum blonde, orange faced glamazons— the girls I wanted to desperately imitate. The end of class came and one by one they strutted from the room and into the corridor. Outside, boys in the years above graced them with high praise… then I came out. Well, fuck me, everyone went quiet.
I looked up, my big ass nose blocking half the view, and as I did so the boy in front of me recoiled. He physically withdrew from my presence. Looking back at old photos of myself… I can see why. I looked about seventy and never smiled. But still… ouchies on the feelings.
The effect that moment had on me has lasted like a pair of Dr Martins. The look on his face is glued to my head. His mouth was wonky and stretched in shock, his friends were frozen where they stood. I felt like medusa.
I walked away then, and the next week someone rubbed salt into my wound.
My friend from primary, a similar sort of angry child, approached me in the playing yard. Her face was stoic as usual as she sat beside me and muttered, “I just spoke to Brady.”
I didn’t care. That albino skeleton was far from my worst problem.
Then she said it… “He said to tell you that you’re a fat ugly bitch. And that he knows you lied about Maggy.”
Ding. Ding. Ding.
Maggy. That stuck up prat. She was a girl who had joined us in year five and left two months later when she realised a class of six girls and twenty-one boys wasn’t worth the price of sanity. She had made up lies about me and told the school I had bullied her… I hadn’t even spoken to her at that point. She named herself the most popular girl in class and named me the hunchback. So… when she left our class I spread a rumour about her… yeah, I know. I told everyone that she had fattened over Christmas and looked like Hagrid now. Turns out Brady saw her over the summer and had a little bit of issue with my boner killing lies.
My friend stared at me until I left the playing yard. For the rest of the year I did everything I could to get out of school. I lied, hid and cried my way out of a few months until I was forced back. Then it got worse. The stories of me being a liar had grown, that on top of being an unlikable goblin left me isolated. When anyone spoke to me they were… awful. Thinking back on it now… I can’t believe how bad things got. People who didn’t know me called me names. I was incredibly sheltered at home so some of the names I didn’t even understand, but I knew their intent.
From that moment on, anytime someone spoke to me I was a bitch. And up until the moment I left secondary and joined university I stayed that way. I didn’t want anyone to talk to me, to hurt me or touch me. I made so many mistakes… so, so many mistakes. I missed out on so many friendships. All because I didn’t want to be hurt.
I created a monster, but they created the bitch. To this day I will always regret that I hurt people who reached out to me. At the time I didn’t trust them to be genuinely nice. I can never apologise to them… they’ve blocked me off most things. I’ll always live with the fact that I hurt people to keep myself safe. I do wonder if the people who hurt me think of me. I doubt it though.