There are two golden threads running through my life. The first is that I was always the unluckiest person I knew. The second is that everybody always hated me.
It started even before I was born. My mom said my father beat her when he heard she was pregnant. Then he left.
When I was a toddler other parents refused to let their children have play dates with me. Mom said they always cried when they were brought to our house or when mom or I came there. They always cried, every single other toddler, without exception.
My only memories of preschool are of me playing alone in a corner of the colorful room. I was the outcast. The others avoided me. They hated the food I brought to school; they hated the way I was dressed; they hated the way I played games. If you ever thought that there is no bullying in preschool – there is. And even the other mothers avoided me. They cuddled each other’s children, picked them up, cuddled them, played with them – but not me. Never me.
That was the time I began to appreciate my mom. Of course I always loved my mom, but as a toddler I didn’t truly understand what love meant. Only in preschool I learned what it means to have someone that wants to hug you; to have someone that loves you unconditionally.
My mother became my only rock in the sea when I finally started school. From the first week on the other kids bullied me. I was chosen last for everything; nobody wanted to partner with me; I sat alone at a table in the back and played alone during the break. At the beginning some kids from other classes still played with me, but then the rumor spread that I had a disease and soon the whole school seemed to avoid me.
After a few months even the teachers seemed to hate me. My mom talked to them many times; I saw her go into the teachers’ rooms after school and in the car she told me how they had refused her request. We cried a lot in that car.
After primary school I learned how nice it is to be ignored. In primary school everybody is self-centered and the height of bullying is to be ignored and occasionally spat at.
After primary school the focus shifts from the self to the others; everything is about show and nothing is a better show of strength and courage than to kick the one that everybody hates. Kick – figuratively and literally.
And again even the teachers joined in the fun. They never touched me, but only two teachers, two older ladies that retired half-way through my path as a student, stopped the others from bullying me. The rest of the teachers either turned a blind eye or they even made it worse. Like Mrs. Sage, the math teacher that always called me to the board for the difficult questions that nobody in the class knew how to answer. And then she made an example out of me, with lectures on laziness and “inborn stupidity.” I could see the grin on the others’ faces.
I don’t know how I ever finished school. I just sat through those classes, my eyes on the board and my ears turned off so I wouldn’t have to hear the insults about my smell or size or looks.
I never knew whether I was just unlucky that the letters didn’t arrive, or whether even the university admission offices hated me, just from looking at my photo and grades. I applied to eight universities, only one local college accepted me.
If there was a happy time in my life it was in those first days at college. The first week I was awkward and reclusive, but my roommate Emelia actually seemed to like me. She was a social butterfly and for a brief moment I was happily friends with everyone on our corridor.
Then, from one day to the next, Emelia began to hate me. I can pinpoint the exact moment where everything changed. Emelia brought the mail in. With a smile she handed me a letter from my mom and she got some letters herself. And then, precisely four minutes later, she insulted me and stormed out of the room.
That day I lost all my friends. That was the one week in my life where I had friends. That day I became a recluse, always sitting in a small corner of the library where no one would find me. My only social contact were the long phone calls with my mom.
It was like that in most clubs and societies I joined: If there was no one I knew then the first day was usually nice and people were friendly to me. Some even added me on Facebook – but only a day or two later some strange information about me had spread and most people unfriended me again. The second time in any club or society I always felt the hate.
In the university library I spent hours in front of the mirror. I saw every flaw in my face and body and the more I stared the more I began to hate myself too.
In my room I always felt Emelia’s hateful stares. In the kitchen I felt those of all the others. Without my mom’s regular food parcels I would probably have lived only off junk food; but even with her home cooked meals I gained weight.
I was tired all day, maybe because of my weight, maybe because I felt uncomfortable sleeping in my room. My tiredness made it impossible for me to pay attention in class or to learn, and when even the lecturers began to hate me I had no one to ask for help. I didn’t even make it through the first year. I moved back in with mom.
I spent weeks writing applications and sent off letter after letter and email after email, but most companies didn’t even bother to respond. The others sent form rejection letters. On the phone I was usually cut off.
I really tried my best. I wrote and rewrote cover letters and CVs and my mom gave me helpful feedback and bought me book after book on proper application writing.
Then I got two assessment centers in a row; only to be refused both times.
It took me four months to finally be accepted. At that point I had even stopped bothering with writing real cover letters; I mostly sent off copies of letters that I found in one of the books.
I was proud of being secretary in an office supply firm. I was welcomed warmly on the first day, then ignored for two weeks and finally fired.
Two months later I was a hotel receptionist. The customers seemed to like me, but the other staff refused to even greet me. They got me fired before the six week probationary period ended.
Then, six months ago, I thought my luck had finally turned. My mom sent me to buy drinks, instead I saw a sign in the window and came back with a job in the liquor store.
Sterling, the owner, was pretty strange. He didn’t talk much – neither to me nor to anybody else. He greeted me when I came, he said goodbye when I left, and in between we only talked when he gave me new tasks. For Sterling I was probably just an employee, for me he was the closest friend I ever had.
A few times Sterling even commented on my mom’s frequent visits and calls and that those would probably bother most employers. I explained to him that she was just proud of me for finally finding my place. Sterling laughed and said that with an overbearing mother like mine it was likely hard to find a job. I laughed with him.
I never stole anything from his store. Sterling kept telling me that he knew I was stealing and that I had to stop or else he would fire me. He said that again and again, over those six months, but he never actually fired me.
Those six months were the happiest of my life. I had my mom and I had the cold and trustless relationship with Sterling. That was more than I ever had.
Then, one week ago, the six happiest months of my life ended because I lost the only person I ever loved.
I took a week of holidays and told Sterling about my spontaneous plans to visit Greece. The first day of my holidays, my mother was stabbed during her afternoon nap. The killer skinned and gutted her. He lived in the house with my mother’s corpse and day after day burned small pieces of her body and finally ground her bones and skull to a fine white powder that he spread throughout the city.
Six months I was happy, now I don’t know if I will ever be happy again. But I am hopeful. That’s the only thing that kept me alive and now, more than ever, I hope that I can be happy someday.
I think there is a reason for all the bad luck that comes to people like me. Believe me, I looked for it thousands of times and I know all my flaws in and out. I scrutinized every acne scar on my face and every ugly part of my body. I hear that my voice is far too squeaky and know that others smell me from afar.
But only now I understand the real reason for my bad luck; the real reason everybody hated me all my life.
The reason reached me eight days ago in an apology letter with the name and address of my old roommate Emelia on the back.
Emelia wrote that she was on a self-discovery trip and wanted to apologize for how she had treated me at college. She was asking for my forgiveness and at the bottom of the letter, just before the greeting “I’m so sorry and I hope someday you can forgive me,” was this paragraph:
“I’m very sorry for everything I did. Thinking back of our time together you never wronged me or hurt me. I was a judgmental person back then, and when I heard about all the horrible things that you did as a child and teenager I thought of you as a very bad person and treated you accordingly. Even in college I should have seen that you too should be forgiven for things that were in the past, just like I hope that you will forgive me today. I should have judged you from the way you were acting and not from all the things of your past that your mother warned me about in her letters.”
This is my story, originally I published it on Reddit.