The boy and the girl see a Psychologist on a regular basis and the last time that she was here she was having a chat to the girl about learning to like Aspergers.
The girl was saying that she didn’t like telling anyone that she had it because she had been scarred by a friend a couple of years ago. The girl had told her friend that she had it and swore her to secrecy but of course kids being kids this friend told the rest of the class. Now I doubt a class full of nine and 10 year olds actually knew what it was, but it was fun to tease the girl about.
The Psychologist was getting the girl to list all the good things about it and to try to break down her negative perception of it, and of telling anyone as otherwise she will still be hung up on this incident in twenty years, unable to move past it.
It got me to thinking of a few incidents in my life that had happened, and still upset me if I think too hard about them.
The first one was when I was in primary school about Grade 4 and I was singing in the Choir. I loved singing and had fun being with my friends. A girl near me in the row told me I couldn’t sing, so I left the Choir without telling anyone why and have hated singing since.
The next memory was and still is a painful one – one that has caused me much grief and sadness and stopped me liking a single moment of the last 2.5 years of high school. I was in Year 10 and I had a nice group of friends, or so I thought. One day as I approached them at recess or lunch time I saw them look at me, talk to each other and then run away.
I was devastated!
I had no idea what to do next, and any smidgen of confidence I had in myself had now gone. There was no way I was going to attempt to approach them again, and I don’t think I spoke to many people at school for the next two years.
I always had an outlet in the way of sport. I have played or done a sport of some kind all my life, and at one point used to compete in Cross-Country Skiing. I had worked my way up the rankings and had been invited away with the National Team on one of their training camps. I wasn’t in the team as such, just a few aspiring skiers had been added into the camp. I was so excited, being away in another state and getting the chance to ski with some great athletes.
On this one particular day of the camp we all set out for a training run. One of the scheduled breaks was at a hut in the middle of nowhere, but it had a guest book in there for everyone to write down a message in. One of the girls who was slightly older than me, and someone I looked up to, wrote a message on behalf of the whole team. I can’t remember most of the message but she signed it off with
‘……from the National team and loser hangers on’.
I still remember being so crushed by that. I felt so unworthy and stupid for thinking I could be a great skier. Who was I to think I could ever be good?
I slowly withdrew from the skiing world, again not telling anyone because of the shame of having to repeat what I saw.
It’s funny how remarks or actions by people can really define who you are and who you become. If I knew then what I know now it would be such a different story. I wouldn’t stop anyone from pursuing a sport I loved, or not have given up singing, and I would have had the confidence to ask these girls why they ran away from me, and I would have made new friends.
But I guess that comes with age and wisdom.