Looking back in time, as I often do, I see that freshman year of high school had been tough-it was an all-girls school. I did not feel like I 'fit in' or had many friends-when it came to social situations, I could be quiet unless I was completely comfortable (sometimes I am still like this-I am fine in groups, but even better one-on-one). It was tempting to switch to the local public school and I almost did.
Sophomore year was beginning to get better. I had made a very conscious effort over the summer and decided when I got back to school in the fall that I would make new friends, come out of my shell and be more outgoing. It was actually working. I was getting invited to lots of 'Sweet 16 parties', I had friends in almost every 'group', I was talking to a few guys...life was getting good-finally, or so I thought.
The only thing that really sticks out though was this girl, E, who was a junior and we were both on JV field hockey. She was a very unhappy person and to this day, I'm not sure why-but she picked me (oh I was so lucky...) to pick on and try to humiliate every day of practice or games. She even went to the point of making fun of me when I wrote into the newspaper about something (I'm not even sure what it was-I think something with our local baseball team) and she happened to see the article and thought it was laugh-worthy. She brought it up in front of me and her friends...Another 'highlight' was when she literally kicked me out of her car in the middle of the school parking lot-after I had already gotten in and put my backpack in her trunk (we were supposed to get rides to games with older players-there were only 4-since we couldn't drive yet. Thankfully another player was running late and I smashed into the rear part of her Jeep without a seatbelt...). I think I even asked her outright once why she didn't like me-of course she claimed she did because other people were around.
During all this, I was good at ignoring that pain in my back. I became semi-good at ignoring E. Then I was diagnosed with cancer and all of that changed, forever.
Where I'm really going with this-sometimes I think about it-is the day that E came up to me-my skinny bald self with braces on my legs from the chemo drugs-in the hallway at school and apologized for being so mean to me. I was taken aback. It took cancer for her to do this. Interesting. I still kind of wonder what happened to Big E?
Today, I am grateful for: so much! God, family and friends, a great break.
As I read your post, I think to myself, "Really?! I would have never thought that she felt that way." It's amazing looking back at just how self-conscious/ shy people were that didn't seem like it from my point of view and how much stuff people were going through that was not right in front of my eyes.
I know that we never really talked other than the occasional "hi" or "how are you?" or any other small talk, but I would never have guessed that you were shy or having any problems with anyone in the school ... to me, you just always looked like a nice girl who had a lot of friends, but I never really got to know (unfortunately).
Anyway, after reading this (and your other blogs), I really don't know why I was so shy myself where I did not ever get to really know you (or a lot of other people for that matter), but I wish I had. I am glad that you are doing so well now ... and congrats on getting married! You are such a strong individual, and I hope that I have just a fraction of your strength and faith.
Thanks, Karen! It is SO good to hear from you. High school is a strange time for everyone but it especially became extra strange after cancer. I definitely felt like the odd one out after that and like I was growing up faster than everyone around me...it's interesting for sure. How's life?
Life is good ... I feel like I have no right to complain about anything after reading your blogs and seeing how much you have done without any complaints. Anyway, I'm going to get my Master's in Counseling from UMSL full time, doing my internship at ALIVE (Alternatives to Living in Violent Environments) where I counsel victims of domestic abuse, working as a Community Support Worker for the mentally ill of North St. Louis full time, and living with my boyfriend. Pretty much, I'm staying busy but at the same time loving my school and internship (job not so much) and of course my boyfriend :) Hope that you are doing well ... congrats on getting married earlier this year too!!! Anyway, if you ever want someone to talk to, feel free to get in touch with me (I am trying to become a counselor :) ) ... my e-mail address is email@example.com. I wish you the best and want to thank you for being so inspiring :)
- Karen Zdazinsky
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