I had someone say the funniest thing to me this weekend. One of my friends mentioned to me that I was such a good looking guy in high school. To which I say: wha? Did I miss something?

I guess that I've never really had such an image of myself. I've never thought of myself as attractive. How can one possibly be the judge of such things? It didn't help that I had this idea constantly thrown at me that I was one of the social outcasts, unworthy of popularity.

And now I find that I still think this, and I'm surprised if not shocked when people pay me compliments, because I think to myself how untrue their words must be. It can't possibly be reality. I can't be good looking. It's a lie.

It amazes me how the trauma of a few years of high school can still manage to affect my self-esteem, a decade after the fact. And how does one go about fixing something like this, if it can be fixed at all?

I was putting in a central line, and one of the nurses was standing next to me, helping me with some saline and other assorted things, and she said, "Dr. Ifinding, you smell nice today." Can it be possible that all these years I've been entirely and utterly wrong about myself? What a devastating thought that is.


Halo said...

Both your posts about high school made me remember mine. Thanks!

While I've only been out a few years, I suffered greatly from the time I was in Grade 1 right up until I graduated. I always thought there was something wrong with 'me', and that it was never those who were tormenting me; which ironically were those I called 'friends'. I always figured I was the one with the problem, and that there must have been something wrong with me. Now though, after even just a few short years of reflection and what seems like an eternity of maturing I realize that those who made my life a literal hell were the ones with the problem.

I see now, or at least I'm coming to see, that there was never anything 'wrong' with me at all and that I was as 'normal' as one could aspire to be. Oh sure, perhaps I wasn't a star athlete nor the class braniac but in the grand scheme of things do these earthly titles mean anything anyways? It's not high school that defines your life - it's what you do with yourself that defines it.

I find great triumph, perhaps wrongly, in the fact that at least 80% of those who put me through hell with assaults (both physical and others), death threats, beatings, name calling, and ostrasizing me still live at home with their parents, have no job and at least 5 of my so called 'friends' who were female now are single mothers with really no future ahead of them. Others are drug addicts and alcoholics. It seems that in the end, I turned out to be one of the 'normals' in that I have a good career, a decent post-secondary education (even though it was all distance ed) and have a life full of promise to look forward to.

But like you I am still in the same boat. Compliments and especially people just generally being 'nice' to me automatically makes me fearful and suspicious even though I know these people to me, sometimes, more than double my age the effects of 13 years of abuse still resides.

It's funny how it doesn't seem how long you are out of school for, the memories and feelings you were made to go through still haunt you.

I am sorry you had to experience what it was you did, and my only advice to you is something someone very wise told me:

There is no such thing as a 'BAD' experience. There are negative experiences but anything you walk away from and learn from cannot be 'bad'.

All my negative experiences have given me a wealth of knowledge to look back on and compare notes, so to speak, regarding current ones and I find myself continously surprised at how I can handle some things when I know that if it weren't for the hell that I was put through I probably - no, certainly wouldn't be here today.

I've often felt about trying to get involved and go to high schools to talk to students not just about the current effects of bullying but the long-term; both the positive and the negative. But I've never seem to find that opportunity. Perhaps it will come in time.

Best wishes,
Halo (Laura)

CT said...


Try not to think about it too much. I've noticed that the most attractive people tend to be the ones who've never figured out how good looking they really are.