Let me tell you about a little girl I used to know.
Tall, shy and awkward as hell. Couldn’t even make eye contact with her best friend. She also had an innate fear of the canteen lady and hated ‘lunch orders’ because that would mean the prospect of having to file in line to get her order filled while the other kids would tease her for looking like the BFG amongst a sea of hobbits.
This girl would be the brunt of everyones jokes and was outcasted for being “weird” and “having no friends”. A bookworm who “needed to come out of her shell more” cos she’d rather sit in the bathroom stalls at lunchtime rather than put up with the constant crap hurled from the schoolyard bullies.
Well, shock-horror that girl was me.
“Giraffe”, “Big Bird”, or just plain ole “Ugly” – I got called them all.
But when it came to the bullying, one kid was worse than all the others. His name was Jake* and he would pick on me from the moment I stepped foot through the school gates — and the cursing would even follow me home down the street where he’d ride his bicycle alongside his two just-as-mean wingmen and hurl out insults as my mum drove past with me slinking in shame/embarassment in the passenger seat.
I mean seriously, the guy was fierce! He’d even once referred to my legs as “cheese graters” because they were “so hairy you could grate cheese on them” — Brutal!
The taunting was petty. It was name-calling at best. But it didn’t mean it didn’t fuck me up.
Now, all these years down the track I still see Jake* in my head. Literally. For some reason I have been dreaming about the guy constantly.
I remembered it first started after my first real break-up after my first real relationship. (Now if Jake hadn’t alreday fucked me up, then this one would have — another story for another time)
I woke up thinking WTF after I had dreamt of chasing Jake through the streets of my hometown, screaming his name. And as soon as I caught up to him he’d turn to me and give a sly smile and then disappear.
These dreams continued for months.
It was really beginning to creep me out cos I imagined that it was some sort of dark prophecy or message that I should take heed of – that, or that I’m actually more delusional than I first thought.
But in every dream I’d be looking for Jake and sometimes when I finally did catch him, we’d embrace like childhood sweethearts.
After a year of these
nightmares dreams, I figured the only logical thing to do was to do some real life Jake chasing. So I stalked him on Facebook.
Turns out he still lived in my hometown.. and grew handsome (I was secretly pissed cos you always hope that your childhood bullies grow up to be completely gross ‘no-hopers’ and working the bin disposal truck).
I debated adding him as a friend but then I thought of all the times he’d hurt me and how much I have suffered from his stupid childhood taunts that adding him as a ‘friend’ would seem vexed.
And then I realised.. why does it matter?
What good will I get from reaching out to him?
And then it dawned on me. My dreams represented my searching for an answer as to why he was so bloody MEAN to me!!
In a way, my need to let go of my past issues rested entirely on him. He was the source of all the shit that was to follow in those years of being socially retarded.
But what would I expect him to say if I did go ahead and confront him? He would probably not even remember me let alone the names he’d hurled at me in the 4th grade.
And then, ironically, just a couple of nights ago I had a dream where I did ask him why — and his reply still rings as clear as it would have if it were in real life:
“I was a kid!”
It got me thinking that in a crazy, yet understandable way, I had been living with my issue and feeling held back all my life by who/what in the end…was only a kid!
I mean, if I were in the psych’s chair I’m sure we’d be having a breakthrough moment right now because it has taken me 15 years to realise that I’m letting an 11-year old boy from my past life dictate how I feel and how I act in my present.
But it also got me questioning.. say if I were to bump into Jake in the here and now — and if we discovered we even had some sort of attraction to one another – would it rid me of all these past hurts and fears? Would it be like some sort of resurrection in where my Judas becomes my Jesus?
Or would it not even change a thing? Are our limitations still deemed our own even if they were inflicted by someone else in the first place? And if not, does the inflictor have the power to take away our pain?
If I were to see Jake now, and if he’s changed as much as I have..would our new affection get rid of our past transgressions – or once a bully, always a bully?
Now I only wonder that if my new lightbulb dream moment means what I think it means, perhaps my subconscious will stop trying to figure shit out and I will stop dreaming about chasing Jake.
*Not real name, yet will disclose if I do happen to see him again and he still happens to continue calling me “pimple face”