I’m not going to be able to do a blog post next week because I’m on holiday and will be WiFi-less but to make up for it this is going to be a really long post, so settle down, with a cup of tea and a snack of choice prepared.
It’s around 2002, and I’m in primary school. I’m carefree, happy and look slightly like a mushroom but this is where this little reflective story thing begins…
I generally loved primary school, years 1, 2, 3, and 4 were great and I had a great best friend, Harriet. We went everywhere together, we were nicknamed “the terrible twins” by the playground staff (why I don’t know). Years 5 and 6 came and I began to realise that people weren’t really noticing me, they were always asking after Harriet. I didn’t mind though, I just felt lucky to have a friend. Harriet wanted to do a duet from Aladdin for the school talent show and she asked me to do it with her. But I was too scared of performing and the fundamental flaw was that I couldn’t and still can’t sing. I said no and Harriet chose someone else. Nicole. Days went past and I soon became the third wheel and was so insecure and convinced they were talking about me I got a lovely girl called Anna to spy on them to see whether they were. Looking back on this I realise this was ridiculous and achieved nothing.
The time to leave primary school and start secondary school was now and I was really nervous. My primary school is 8 times smaller than my secondary school and being around that many people worried me immensely. I wasn’t just worried about the people, I was a little worried about the education and learning aspect of it too. Looking back I don’t know why I was so worried, I love learning and overall really enjoyed the subjects I did. I also managed to make friends quite quickly. Although that didn’t really last…
The first girl I met was Aimee. We were really close for the first few months of year 7. But then she met a girl called Emily and moved on from me… I then met Victoria and we became really close friends. She already had a friendship group from her primary school, and I was allowed to join. After joining however, I realised I wasn’t always noticed. If I wasn’t in they wouldn’t realise but I thought it was better than nothing.
Finally I had a group.
Victoria was the only one of the group in my classes but there was a problem… she was never really in class. Not because she skived, we were in the uncool group we never skived (100% attendence certificate award winners, of course). She was always off school ill, I named it “Victoriaitis”. This meant however, that I was always on my own in lessons. My classmates gave me weird looks and as usual, I just looked away in fear. I used to wish and pray for someone new to join the class and then, in year 9 my prayers were answered.
Laura walked into my history lesson and I smiled at her. She didn’t smile back but I wasn’t deterred. I was determined not to be alone. Eventually me and Laura grew closer and closer and became best friends. Finally I had someone to rely on!
As GCSEs grew closer Victoria changed. She became really competitive with grades and exams, making me feel stupid and refusing to help if I needed it, I got enough pressure at home, and now I was getting it in school too. She also began to bully me. She would take the piss out of me but in a way that was nasty and not jokey, she’d laugh at me, she even spread the rumour that I was gay which meant in the changing rooms for PE I got a lot of homophobic abuse…
GCSEs flew by and it was time to go to college. I was really excited for college, partly for the courses and partly because almost half of my school group, including Laura, was going to the same college as me, albeit a different part, as I was in the sixth form and they weren’t.
I made new friends in college really quickly, surprisingly quickly in fact, in Geography I met Lauren, in English Language I met Kenna and in Psychology I met Pearl. I liked them all as individuals and as individuals they all liked me, but the weirdest part was they were all friends. In the same group. It was just like it had been when I was in school.
However, I decided to spend lunchtimes with Laura, Jasmine and Beth from my secondary school, just so I could try and cling on to the friendship we had, but that meant hanging around with their new friends from their college course and neglecting my new friends. I didn’t like Lauras new friends and they didn’t really like me, but I was still there for her as I always had been.
Until one day when I texted her to ask her where to meet her for lunch, she didn’t reply. And that started a chain of events…
I’d spend entire lunchtimes walking round looking for them meaning I didn’t get to eat at all and, if I did find them, they wouldn’t talk to me. So at the start of second year I made the decision to stop having lunch with them and start having lunch with my new friends. It was great, I was actually being acknowledged for once. I became really close to them and finally felt like I had a group of friends that would be there for life.
Me and Laura drifted further and further apart and now she calls Simone her best friend. She’d walk past me on the bus and not even realise it was me and that hurt, to be honest it still does, thinking about all the times I’ve helped her, cheered her up when she was battling depression and listened to her boy problems. But looking back now, I’ve noticed her personality changed during college, we didn’t have that much in common at all. But luckily my new friends and I did. I began to come out of my shell a lot more, talking about my favourites instead of hiding them, telling them my problems instead of hiding them and telling them about my feelings instead of hiding them. It felt great to stop hiding myself for once.
Then second year ended and it was time to leave. I was terrified about uni and, as you’ll know from previous posts like First Day of Uni Blues I had good reason to be. I wasn’t just terrified about what I was going to, but I was terrified about what I was leaving behind. Would those friends remember me? Or would I be replaced again? Luckily I’m still close to most of them and to this day when we meet it’s exactly the same as it used to be, and I am so happy with that.
You might be thinking “what about your friends at uni?”, well, I’ve still not settled in and I don’t feel 100% comfortable yet, I’m sure I will at some point but for now, I do still feel quite alone. Or you may be thinking “why is this post so bloody long stop talking I have a life”, which is fair enough.
But during these times, especially from year 11 right up till now, I struggled with telling my parents about these problematic friends. But I’ve had one thing helping me, well several things. My internet friends. And yes I know I’ve done blog posts on internet friends before including why my internet friends matter but I’m going to talk about it again here because internet friends are something I am truly glad I have.
They’ve helped me deal with the feelings of being alone and anxious and sad, they’ve given me a place to talk about what and who I love and how I feel. They’ve made me happy and even though I don’t see them very often, if at all (yet), I still knew they were always on the other end of my phone or laptop. I’ve been given the nicknames Gem by the girls who love Radio 1 and Wheel by the girls who love Michael McIntyre and finally, I feel like being a wheel is a great thing.
*I’ve not met the girls who call me Gem yet
so just pretend that picture’s here*
My advice for anyone who’s going through what I have is just remember, everything happens for a reason. The arseholes who upset you, have made you a better and stronger person, and for that reason, they don’t even deserve to know you anyway.
“If we’re only ever looking back we will drive ourselves insane, as the friendship goes resentment grows we will walk our different ways. But those are the days that bind us together, forever and those little things define us forever, forever”
Bastille: Bad Blood