CHAPTER 1

 

 

SCHOOL ‑ A TIME OF HELL!

 

  For you to realise how I became trapped and fearful of the future I must share with you about my school life.

 

  On an ordinary, fresh and warm summer morning in New Zealand, being an excited and slightly apprehensive young man, as this was my first day at college, I was astounded to discover what awaited me.

  “Don’t associate with him, he’s not worth it!” someone mercilessly back-knifed me.

  I thought that after Primary School things would turn out for the better.  Like turning over a new leaf in my life - hoping that the behaviour of others would be different towards me.  I didn't know that it would actually be my worst nightmare. 

  “Hey Trev!  You’re a nerd!”  I said with a big smirk on my face.

  Thump!  My arm reeled under the solid blow and the pain soared through my arm.

  Why was I so cheeky?  Because I wanted to be noticed and accepted.  Wanting to be in with the in‑guys, the dudes. To be liked .  My heart was screaming out for acceptance - to dispel the lonely, desolate feelings.

  “Hey!  Leave him alone you bully!"  a pretty girl came to my defence and rescue.  Relishing this attention, my ego had been enriched.  Hey, this girl likes me 'cause she defended me!  This was some consolation for my loneliness.  But it brought me more emotional and physical pain as I sought to be defended.

 Lance, one day my friend and another day my worst enemy, would tease me stating there was no hope for me, that my life wasn’t worth living.  Another student, Grant, whom after being cheeky to, would punch me, grunting as he used my arm as a punching bag.  The pain leaving me clutching my arm, manufacturing a grin as I tried to hide the agony soaring up and down my arm.

  Going home at the end of the week, with ugly dark bruises on my arms and legs was not the main cause of my pain.  Nor the fact that my dignity was stripped away time after time.  Something else hurt much deeper and lasted longer than my physical pain.  This was the pain of loneliness.  Who are my friends?  Who likes me?

  But it was my way of saying, “I like the attention!” ‑ the deeper longing of acceptance won the day.

  It was also great fun for them  to pick on me, being quite a short guy (one of the shortest) for most of my time at college.  One older guy used to painfully pick me up my ears leaving me standing on my tiptoes screaming for his mercy ‑ I did nothing to him at all to deserve this, as I asked him one day, “What have I ever done to you?” .

  “Nothing!”

 

  “You’re ugly!”

  “You’re such a whimp!”

  “You’ve got no friends!”

  “They hate your guts!”

  “Why don’t you go and kill yourself?”

  These words ripped into my heart like a knife!  As they taunted me on the outside, I acted like it didn’t hurt me but inside I was hurting like hell.  The more these words were hurled at me the more I began to believe them.

  Self‑pity took over ‑ “No one likes me!”  “Who is my friend?”  “They treat me like dirt!”  “One minute they are my friend and the next minute they act like I’m nothing, like I don't exist!"

  “Why me!”  I cried out to God.  But God was someone too far away to hear me, let alone care!  Part of me believed in Him and another part did not.

 

  What could God do?  Zap them with a lightning bolt?  No, that was only a story in the bible.

  Feeling abandoned, rejected, self‑pity ruled over me like a dark cloud, oppressing, trapping and suffocating me.  I was hoping to be free.

  I could still be happy.  But part of this happiness was the focus ofbringing hurt and pain to others.

  “Bart!  You’re a dick!”  I attacked one student wearing big horned rimmed glasses ‑ my scapegoat.

  Seeing a pained expression come to his face, as I verbally cut him to pieces, brought me a sense of satisfaction.  However, I experienced no guilt as I blasted him with insults again and again.

 

  At home I would seek attention, crying to be accepted and loved, but as a result I was called a pain!  The more I sought attention, the more I was called a pain,  and the more I felt hurt.  These insults ripped into my self‑esteem.  Both at home and at school being called names convinced me to believe what they said.

  With the teachers it was similar.  Generating some noise, like blowing my nose like a trumpet, or screaming with pain as someone thumped a heavy blow on my shoulder, would land me in trouble.  After a time the teachers began to blame me for all the screams.

 

  I wasn’t invited to any parties as I was considered a nobody, uncool, a nerd.  At the completion of my third year at school I was included in an invitation to a friend’s place to celebrate the end of the school year.  The alcohol flowed freely and a friend totalled his car! But apart from people throwing up and parents and teenagers screaming it was a good party.

  Since I wasn’t invited to parties I found another interest.  Computers helped me gain more friends as we had the common passion of solving games and swapping ideas.    It wasn’t enough to have these friends only on some weekends.  I wanted to be liked all the time!

 

  To add to my time of ‘hell’, I flunked School Certificate (My third year at College). I had to endure the shame and terror of another year at the third year level - to be considered a failure.

  Why I didn’t fight back?.  Being crippled by fear ‑ the fear that if I fought back I would get my head utterly bashed in, since the aggressor was a lot stronger than me, would impede me. 

  Basketball was my favourite sport in college.  I was no Magic Johnson, but I tried really hard.  I was considered the underdog of our team.  The other guys loved to sub me off very frequently - actually most of the time.

 

  During my second year of playing basketball, I was on our School’s Intermediate team, and scored my first goal.  The ball flew from outside the keyhole and through the hoop!  Standing there with my mouth agape I was stunned.  So were my team‑mates!

  In all I hated school; being treated like dirt even though I may have deserved a beating sometimes!  I did not deserve to have my self‑confidence, and dignity ripped to pieces and discarded like I was worth nothing.  Nor did I merit being taunted,  or ridiculed!  As a result of being called names like “useless” I was convinced, beginning to hate myself and life.  I developed a really low self‑image.  Subconsciously I began to think that people thought bad of me always.  Afraid of what others would think of me; afraid  to end my life by suicide!  I came to fear making friends, subconsciously believing that when they would come to know me, they would reject me!  I was afraid of rejection!