SECOND CHANCES

    Teenage years are a difficult time. We are trying to fit in, we are trying to figure out ourselves, and we face our peers who try to sway us and sometimes ones who abuse us. My childhood into teenage years were extremely difficult. I so much wanted my classmates to like and accept me, but instead they rebuked me and bullied me.

In high school I went on a search to find my self-worth. It was a rough and lonely journey. I built walls around me to protect myself from bullies, but the walls left me feeling lonely. Not talking unless spoken to was part of the wall I built. If I didn’t speak, then my peers could not use what I said to ssmake fun of me. Inside my world of silence, I felt some sort of safety. It didn’t stop the teasing, but it kept me from making new friends who would have either turned on me or left me, and it was one more thing my bullies couldn’t use against me. The problem was it also took away my chances of making friends who might have accepted me as I was.

In school a red-haired girl tried very hard to get me to talk. She always passed me in the halls and told me to smile. She sat with me when no one else would. She talked to me, but I couldn’t force myself to talk to her. She tried, but I built my wall with bricks so thick that she couldn’t tear them down. I wanted to break through and give her a chance. I was just too afraid.

I struggled with my inner demons. I was barely holding myself together. I was falling into the black hole of mental illness. At the time I didn’t know what was happening to me. I just knew something was wrong. Every day I saw this girl I fought with my thoughts and overwhelming emotions. There was a war inside me, and I felt like I was on the losing side.

Talk to her. Give her a chance.

No don’t give in. She’ll just hurt you like everyone else.

I’m all alone. I need a friend. All I must do is talk.

Don’t be crazy. If you let in, she’ll turn on you or break your heart. You’re better off alone.

The internal fight went on at school, at home, and while I attempted to sleep at night. If I had a switch to turn it off, I would have. It tormented me and made my emotions go out of control. Mental illness is a sickness of the mind that can put you at war with your inner self. I was stuck inside my mind with awful thoughts, and the wall I built made that war even worse.

Later the girl moved away, and I berated myself for never talking to her and never letting her in. Yes, if I had talked to her and had become friends with her, I would have been heart broken when she moved away. If I had talked to her, I might have had good memories that would have made her leaveing easier. She may have been the one friend who would have kept in contact. For years later I was left wondering what I deprived myself of because I built a wall and went silent.

In my adult years when I started working at a grocery store, she started coming in my line. I was finally able to talk to her. Each time she came in my line we talked about casual stuff. Through nearly twenty some years of her coming in my line I still couldn’t bring myself to ask for her phone number and if she wanted to get together. I had torn down the wall that I built in school. I had friends and co-workers who accepted me for who I am, and yet I still couldn’t take the steps to build a friendship.

A week or two ago my husband and I went to a local fair. We stopped at a tent for food. The girl, now a woman, was running the tent with her daughter. We stood and talked for several minutes. Then she wrote her phone number down for me. She even said she’d have me and my husband over for supper sometime. Maybe this was God saying, “Now is the time to build that friendship. You’re strong now, go for it.”

I put her number in my phone that night and texted her so she would have my number. We have texted each other a few times. I learned she too was bullied. Now is my chance to build a friendship I couldn’t allow myself to build in my younger years. Maybe God has given me a second chance.

Sometimes when we are going through rough times and we have been hurt, we put up walls to protect ourselves. The problem with walls is they block out people who could make a big impact in our lives. Those walls can leave you lonely and can block out the people who can help you in your struggles. Don’t live in regret. Take that step and start tearing the bricks down. Take a chance on someone and take a chance on yourself.

I’m not sure where we will go from here, but I’m excited to find out. I now stand in the light of recovery discovering a second chance at a friendship.

7 thoughts on “SECOND CHANCES

  1. Wonderful post, Aimee! This is just too relatable because I did the same thing for a time. I built up walls and didn’t talk to anyone who looked threatening during school. I had one or two that I talked to but no more and like you, the problem was that I shut out people who might have been accepting. And I understand why you did it because it was the same reason I did, for safety and to keep bullies out. Many targets do this and it’s a defense mechanism. But, look at you now. I’m so proud of how far you’ve come. Thank you so much for posting. ❤

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  2. I love that the opportunity has presented itself again and that you are embracing the chance to have a friend! It is not often that you are given a second chance – in this case a third chance!!! I hope it is a wonderful friendship!

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  3. Hi Aimee,
    I loved this post! I knew I would. I really liked your description and your images. I’m so glad you have been given a second chance at this friendship and that you’ve both taken it!
    Amy

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    • Amy,
      God has opened a door for me. Thank you for your comment. Right now is working out when each other is working to text one another. Hopefully in time we can do something together.
      Aimee Eddy

      Like

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