Friday, June 1, 2012

How cruel is....

…when I finally get a job interview with a company that I have been dying to work for, spent all night preparing for it, wake up the next day incredibly excited, do myself all up, arrive on time feeling confident and positive....

only to walk in the door and see the girl that tormented me for three years straight when I was in primary school...who has now worked her little biddy up to be the executive PA to the owners.

I spent three years from Grade 5 to Grade 7 being this girl's punching bag and she relentlessly picked on me for EVERYTHING from the shape of my body to my intelligence to my family. Looking back I realise the bullying was borderline sexual harrassment. I went into puberty very early, I started developing breasts at nine and I got my first period a week before my eleventh birthday. I went to a small private school where there was some hormonal freak show happening: not only was I developing early but the rest of the girls in my grade were late developers. Seriously, by age twelve pretty much every single one of the 22 girls in my grade still had a flat chest and that was like, soooo cool. The way they treated me you would have sworn that I was the only girl in the history of planet earth to sprout a pair of boobs. Never mind that they were all heading the same way in the boob department they were all disgusted (that is the best way I can describe it) by my boobs.

Although the boys took part in some of the teasing it was mostly the girls and it was relentless. When I was eleven I got at most two or three hours of sleep at night because I would lie awake with my stomach full of knots knowing that day after day I would have to go back into the "boxing ring" where I was called endless amounts of names, have songs made up about me, have to deal with being held down while someone would attempt to open the front part of my uniform. I would throw up before swimming lessons because I knew that my swimming costume would show up everything I was trying to hide. And then there was the dilemma of actually changing into said swimming costume. The teachers would not allow me to change in the bathroom stalls, no I had to change in front of everybody else because, "If you don't hide it, they won't tease you about it". What idiots.. That just meant that they would take my tog bag and throw it out the window so I couldn't change back into my clothes, or they would take my bra and throw it to each other in some sadistic game of piggy-in- the- middle. I would get my skirt lifted up to see if I was wearing a sanitary pad and I would get hit and punched in the chest.

If this all wasn't bad enough I had a learning disability, all my life and even now that I am at university I have had to work my butt off just to get a mediocre C aggregate. My family was poor- my parents broke their backs to put us through that school so we didn't have the Mercs or the BMW's or live in big fancy houses. I had very few clothes all cheap and crappy stationary for school.

This girl... let's call "F", she was the school's superstar. She was the class boffin, she was one of the top gymnasts in our province and was in numerous sports teams. She was from a wealthy family who owned an apple farm outside of town. Her parents had nice cars, she had a wardrobe stacked full of the best clothes and she travelled the world with her family. Her mother was also on the board of directors at the school and knew everything about my unstable, dysfunctional family and our financial troubles ( at one point my sister and I had to be given a bursary because our parents could not pay the school fees).

So F was pretty much the ring leader in that whole sordid mess. She treated me like I was a disease. She found joy in describing my body in the most disgusting ways, she mocked me when I struggled to do the same Maths sums that she flew through. And she would inform my classmates of the embarrassing details of my family- her mother was a nice well- meaning lady but a real ditz, as I can only think she let F know those details accidently.

F and I went to different high schools and I would see her occasionally. When I left South Africa in 2004 one of the things I took comfort in is that I would never have to see F again. I last heard she went to university and then became a steward for a private yacht company. Of all the bloody companies in South Africa that she had to work for, she had to choose this one. When I walked into that office and saw her all the air left my lungs and my face became like fire. It's been 15 years, I am 28 now have been through so much, have achieved so much and am a completely different person. But the minute I saw F I felt like an eleven year old little girl again. She gave me a fleeting glance took a look at my C.V/ Resume like it was chewing gum and floated to the back of the office. I stumbled my way through the interview.

Seriously, this is not supposed to happen!. What I have heard happening to everyone else- they get bullied at school by the cheerleader or football captain. They go on and turn out to be beautiful and hot, earn a tone of money and then come across their nemesis 20 years later either a broke divorced mother of three or a used car salesman who had to drop out of university. But F is still coming out tops even to this day. While I am still struggling. Her bullying me was never dealt with directly. I mean come on...her mother was on the board of directors, she was the schools poster child. My mother believed that I needed to fight my own battles and that what was happening to me was a part of growing up ( she now regrets this ) but when she did finally get involved the class was given a talking to by the teacher and told that if anyone else picked on me they would be sent to the principal. F never had to answer for what she did.

And what’s worse is that she probably doesn't remember any of this now. It is not affecting her at all. And I can't hold something against her that happened when she was still a child and didn't know any better.

If I do somehow miraculously get this job I am going to have to once again face her every single day. If I don't get this job, well she'll just continue to think that I am a looser. And right now I really do feel like one.


  1. My heart broke for you while reading this Stephi. Some hurts are burned onto our brains and it's a challenge and struggle to overcome. Please remember that you have endured all of this and you are still here and still trying. That is strength. This girl that has caused you so much pain, mostly likely has matured and realized how terrible she was. It's possible that guilt could haunt her. If she hasn't then she's not worth your time. Maybe this is your chance to right the wrongs that were done in the past. Sorry if I rambled on too much..

  2. I'm sorry people were so mean to you when you were young. Children can be so mean, but so often it's learned. I'm sorry you had what should have been an exciting and hopeful day ruined by running into her.

    I hope she's grown up a bit. If this works out, I hope you are able to find a way to work together that still leaves you feeling of value.

    Please try to remember how much better off you are than her because you don't have that dark, mean heart. You are a good person of great value. Thank you for sharing your pain.

    Thinking of you tonight.

  3. @ MissRobin @Running Thanks a lot for your support. I can only hope that she has changed otherwise I hate to think what she is capable of now that she is an adult.