When I was a freshmen in high school, the girls had to run the mile first. So all the boys had gathered on both sides of the track while we ran. Alternatively, they booed or cheered each girl as they ran past. I remember fear bubbling up inside me; I didn’t want to be booed. I vaguely remember the girl in front of me getting booed. Or cheered. I don’t remember. It was my turn – I got booed. The girl behind me got cheered. Part of me wondered if it was because I hadn’t run straight through and instead walked some parts. Or if it was because they didn’t think I was cute.
Maybe it was a combination of both.
Honestly – I have no idea.
Around this same time I remember playing basketball with this other black boy my brother was friends with. I told him that I don’t believe in God. And ever the proper Christian, told me I was going to hell. I thought I was going to cry. Good thing I hated him already.
During my first year at my new high school, I didn’t have very many friends. So I ended up sitting with the same few people regularly. Two of the boys took my seat when I went to get something to eat. I saw them laughing about it. I don’t even remember what I did in response.
When I was 16, my mother didn’t defend me when my adult cousin called me names, insulting me. I cried right there while everyone watched. Only his wife marginally stuck up for me – and we’re not related.
My mother forced me to go to a state school because she couldn’t afford to send me anywhere else. I remember crying every night; I was having a hard time fitting in. Oh, and my grades sucked. I’m pretty sure I would’ve flunked out had I not transferred.
During my first semester at the new college I transferred to – I wasn’t fitting in. I ended up befriending a bunch of freshmen. I didn’t belong. They regularly said things that hurt my feelings and yet I persisted. One evening at the birthday party of a mutual friend, I made a comment I thought was hilarious. They didn’t seem to think so; and shot me down. I left crying. I spent the rest of my college career pretty much friendless.
My mother, when we moved to NY, didn’t want to enroll me in a school in the city, because she was afraid I wouldn’t be able to defend myself. That something bad would happen to me. Even my own mother didn’t believe in me.
I guess that makes me a doormat .
What about you?