It took years for me to turn all the negativity into motivational energy, and refocus my efforts on myself, and most importantly, to realize what had happened to me was no fault of mine.
But what happened today has shaken me in a way that I haven't felt in a very long time.
Today, I found a post written 6 years ago by someone who was once my classmate. She described a memory, one of me being punished and humiliated by a teacher 12 years ago. And it seemed to me that she was making a joke out of the incident. I suppose to her, it was hilarious and something that she would never forget, or so she claimed. Strangely, I remembered nothing of my time at that school (perhaps my brain was trying to protect me from negative experiences). So I decided to respond by commenting and asking her, what made the incident so unforgettable? She responded with, "too drama😂"
You see, I interpret this both ways. Granted, I was expecting her to be apologetic, given that it was something she'd written (presumedly) when we were younger. But those two little words left me wondering, was she referring to the present, whereby she thought that I was being too dramatic, or that she thought that the incident itself was too dramatic to the extent that it left such a strong and lasting impression on her, presumably for the rest of her life. The latter which I find queer, by the way, that one would find such pleasure in reminiscing the misfortunes and sufferings that befall others. There is a word for it, though - Schadenfreude.
Of course, I would've liked to have been peaceful and strong, and I felt that I could've responded to the situation better, but if you put yourself in my shoes, perhaps you would've found it hard either. So I did what I felt I should've done, I sent her a message asking her what her response meant. She responded by ignoring my message, even though she had clearly seen it and only replied to me much much later - to which she claimed that she was only "revealing" the facts and did not know that I would be offended by her comment. Of course, my issue was that she had done it in such a public setting, and was so blatantly making a joke out of someone else's misery. Some may disagree, but it still seemed like an offhand way of saying - "It's not my responsibility, you're just blowing things out of proportion."
Well, it's now really easy for me to recognise one's attempt at gaslighting, so I decided to let it slide. Because I choose happiness. I refuse to let a person's actions, no matter their intent, dictate my mood and how I feel about myself, because no one else lives with our choices.
The same goes for all of you out there who have expereienced something like this, you are not alone.
Don't be ashamed of your story, for it may inspire others. I have met so many strong people who have come out of dark places with such power, and I believe you can too.
I share this, not with the intention of naming and shaming (because obviously, no names have been mentioned), but as a honest expression of how I've been made to feel, and bring to light an issue that has not only been faced by myself but many others out there who are likely suffering in silence out there - know this, I am with you, and you are not alone.
And never forget : People have no power over you unless you react to them. You are not weak, you just choose to be better than them.