I was bullied a lot when I was little. The situation began to change when I moved from rural Virginia to the Phoenix suburbs. Some people say that peer issues are at their worst in junior high, but it was during those years that I began to find a niche. With each transition (into high school, into adulthood) I met with more acceptance and more friendship. By the early years of high school, I had already learned that I could build bridges with words -- by telling stories that were personal indeed. Sure there are people in this world who will look down on me, but my tendency is to believe there are people worth trusting ever single place I go -- not everyone is, no, but lots of people, and they're everywhere. They're in Florida, and the Phillipines, and Scotland -- and I'm speaking now from experience, not conjecture.
Making Sense of Monotropism won Lens of the Day at Squidoo a couple days ago. There are now more than 40 comments, written by Squidoo-ers, on that lens. I had to press "load more comments" several times to read them. (I had been aware before the LOTD thing that the lens had been tweeted; one person had commented she encountered the piece when a fellow 'lensmaster' tweeted it.)
If people are surprised at what I've written on Squidoo, it's because they are looking at my behavior through the lens of their own experience -- something we all of course to some degree do. Know: when I tell tales of long-ago childhood, I write in the present tense, but that doesn't mean the transcient concerns of a long-ago little girl are my concerns. I share those stories with particular people because I want to share them, not because I think they are the only person in the world who will accept 'poor broken little me'. I suppose to some extent, I've had myself, and my writing, to blame when people have held that belief -- but I think that people are actually more likely to hold the belief if they themselves see people as untrustworthy.
My favorite book of the middle school years -- my brother's as well -- was The Young Unicorns. A favorite line: "When our trust is broken, as it always is, the only response that is not destructive is to trust again, not blindly, you understand, but fully aware..."
PS I just realized that in my previous post I linked to Placefy Geography Game when I meant to link to "Promising Lensmaster of 2010". Whoops. Well, I've corrected it now.