When I was 14 I got kicked out of my friend group. From one day to another I was completely neglected by all my girlfriends and spent the breaks locked into the school bathroom because I had no one to talk to. Was never invited anywhere. I’d come into the classroom and they would laugh, point or go completely silent, avoiding eye contact. My best friend didn’t say a word to me for an entire year. I cried to my parents that I wanted to move, change schools. I was extremely lonely, felt ugly to the world and spent my whole 8th grade with a piercing stomach ache. After a year of radio silence I was invited to a dinner party where all the girls would be at. I didn’t question their behavior at all, I just went. I was so happy to be invited. At this time we were 15 and even though I had “friends” again, I felt so out of sync with the world and myself. I was the tallest in my class; pale, freckly and no boobs. Whatever I did to my hair it just fell flat on my head. The other girls were all starting to have sex and I couldn’t think of anything scarier than letting a boy touch my body or even look at it. Back then I didn’t know that my relationship to boys was just one of the things that would be effected by how my best friends treated me at such a fragile age, when you’re already so uncomfortable in your own skin. It’s only in the last few years that I’ve come to understand just how much it dented me and how it has affected my emotional being.
It’s a screwed up world we live in. Kids spend their days scrolling through feeds of false realities and emotions and think that’s how the world works. How our emotions and souls and energies work. I could cry thinking about how much shit is out there and how we make each other feel with it. I’m over it. I think about the 14 year olds (or anyone), locked into bathrooms at school, scruetinizing in front of mirrors, wishing for expensive gifts, obsessing over who they hang out with, and what stories they want to (need to) hear. What stories I want to hear. Like how do you go from that to acceptance and love? I believe all of us have a version of ourselves that we look back on and feel ashamed of, mad at or sorry for. And I truly think if we were to have conversations around and about these versions of ourselves, we could put something real and meaningful into the world.
This is a project I’ve been wanting to do for a really long time and I’m just now starting to put it into words. I’m not sure of how it will take shape or what to do with it just yet, but I know I want to involve more people than just myself. So if you’re interested in participating by telling me a story about your “version”, whoever that may be, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.