When I was 8 years old, I say 8 because in truth I do not remember my exact age. I know it was roughly then, I know I was old enough to understand things and not brush them off, but still
naive enough to trust those even a little bit older, but when I was around this age I suffered from an
event that scarred me enough that I still nurse those wounds. What was then, shame has evolved into
sheer anger today.
My older sister had a group of friends, they got together as young girls do. They were all teenagers, running amok, pretending to be rock stars, they watched shows together, and talked at all hours of the day and night. I tried to hang out with them, but as older kids do, they just did not want a little brat
hanging around them. I was just not part of their pack. They all shared in bullying me, calling me names, excluding me. I gave up on trying to be friends with them. In retrospect, I am not angry about that, its the way kids are, it is in some ways normal, unfortunately, but normal as most families have this type of sibling dynamics.
As time went along, I spent most of time with my brother or by myself. One Saturday, I think it was Spring or Summer, I was in the living room of our small house playing with my Barbie Dolls. I had no room of my own, I slept on the couch. This day was peaceful, my mother and stepfather were out, my sister was not home, my brother was there. He was the one who looked dumbfounded and bewildered as the troop, the BratPack entered our home on the Corner of Stanton and Mcafee road in Decatur Georgia. They literally barged into our home, forcing their way in. I stood up as one of them yelled at me and told me to come over. She was blonde headed with freckles, kind of small for her age. The other two stood behind her. She pulled up a bag of dog food and a bowl and told me to observe her. I stood scared. I had never seen such a display from the pack before. All of them looked on me with anger. Then the blonde one proceeded to show me how to fill the bowl.
"This is how you feed your dog" she said loudly and clearly. "You do this everyday at the same time."
I don't remember how long they were there after this, I think once it was established that I understood this, they were pleased and then they all marched out of our home feeling like they had done a great deed.
I felt ashamed. I felt like it was my fault that maybe our dog was starving and it was due to my inability to feed her. Our dog was not starving. But I believe my mother along with the rest of our family did suffer from neglect and we were all underfed. It was not my fault though.
This incredible day of bullying has stayed with me over the years. I still remember the person who did this to me. She still barks at my door on Facebook. She has completely forgotten what she did back them. The other two, they passed away a few years back.
I had a conversation with her today. She absolutely did not remember this and her explanation to me was that she was trying to help and I should not feel ashamed. I could not believe these words actually came out of her mouth, "you should not feel ashamed." No, it's all ok Debbie, we understood that you were living in a misguided home and we were just there to guide you in the right direction and we had to barge in and we had to make it feel like it was your fault at the tender age of 8. She actually had no inkling of how cruel her behavior was. I let her have it. I think every angry feeling that was bottled up that day flew out of my mouth with a force that stymied any defense she might have had. She did apologize.
This is still a wound for me. It will remain so. But we can go on as long as we have the ability to recognize and hear others. But my guess is that many people go about each day with no idea who much they hurt someone. It is not your fault if you do not remember but if reminded you should own it.