When you struggled throught so many school days with the thought that it is only a temporary nuisance, you would think that a life without apparent tormentors, without the immediate exclusion that the school environment brings, and with a rewarding job and living on a place where narrow-mindedness does not remind of itself all the time, would be enjoyable and worth your while.
One could explain away this as a quest for happiness where you never reach the goal. Where the grass is always greener on the other side. A few things are certain: I have not achieved anything that can be compared to the revenge of popular classmates are subject to when the nerdy hero becomes a beautiful swan (and above all a successful swan). Nor have I reached a point where I for a moment can feel safe, and loved. And not by a long shot am I in a situation where I can feel desired by others.
It is with mixed emotions I see the Australian bullying victim retaliate physically. The situation of being subjected to constant taunts, regular verbal abuse and even physical ditto I recognize far too well from my school days. In my case it was difficult to quickly make friendships with new people and physical coordination skills below normal made me to a suitable victim for degrading treatment. It is about the individual being singled out for not belonging to the norm.
I survived by simply enduring. It is difficult to argue that it would be better for me individually than the alternative, to strike back physically, although in a larger perspective I see the advantages of not meeting violence with violence.
There were periods where I convince myself about my intellectual superiority and simply postpone the hopes of living a happy life until a later date. This applied both in small, as in looking forward to the time after the last sports lesson of the week, but mainly at large. “It gets better in high school, it will be better in my future career, etc..” It was better, but I have not yet reached to the position I was dreaming about in the playground in middle school.
Of course, moments of despair, insecurity, inferiority and thoughts of suicide were there. Frequently recurring. Many were the times I cried in solitude.
The central point around which the misery thrived was school. You are legally obliged to attend primary school. I attended a senior level at school that felt more like the seventies than the nineties it really was. Teachers once may have cared about the state of the world but whose interest in students’ performance now were limited to athletic performance and choirs. The only times that something else could possibly get engage teacher it was due to the likeness of sports competitions. So the only time I managed to excel myself in anything was when I as a new student managed to become the best in any grade in the quiz on current events.
The remaining three years I were at best a burden for the sports team of the other class. Surely there was a lot of discos, parties, drunkenness, moped rides and petting outside school hours. Of that, I experienced nothing. I was sitting at home instead and thought of, everything except myself or the town. My thoughts went instead to how the world functioned, and not so much about the way people function.