When we are young, we are taught that when a boy is mean to you, it means he likes you. Most girls learn the hard way that this isn’t true. Some girls never learn. Why do you think that so many girls chase after assholes? If this, “guys being jerks to you because they like you,” was true, then a lot of boys must have liked me when I was younger.
Especially this boy we’ll call “Jason.”
My first crush was a boy in Kindergarten. I didn’t understand what liking meant yet or how to handle it. That’s probably why I would kiss him on the cheek without permission, which would get me in timeout and the boy was pretty much freaked out after that by me. Every little crush I had after that I just kind of ignored because I was supposed to believe boys were gross. I was also too embarrassed to after what happened with that boy in kindergarten.
Then came Jason.
Jason was in my class fifth to eighth grade. For the first three years he was just another boy in my class. He and I never really interacted except for when he would occasionally joke around with me. Despite being in the same middle school class, us talking was rare.
How Jason became the first boy I ever really liked, I don’t understand. All I know is that one day I noticed how attractive Jason was. He had the cutest eyes and he was a funny guy. Now that I look back at it, I question why I even liked him, but twelve-year-old me didn’t care. I would get nervous around Jason, feel butterflies at the slightest touch, and when he was around I couldn’t keep my eyes off of him. I would think about what it would be like to date him. People would get tired of hearing his name leaving my lips constantly.
The only problem? As I stated, we never talked other than a few jokes here and there. To him, I was just some girl in his class. I was extremely shy and had no friends until eighth grade and I was really unattractive so it’s not like I could stand out. I mean I wanted to, but I didn’t know how to get his attention. When seventh grade ended and I knew we wouldn’t see each other for a few months, I made a Myspace with the sole purpose of talking to him. He accepted my friend request but still I was too nervous to speak to him. When I finally did, no response. I was disappointed but determined to grab his attention somehow that summer.
Jason and I had shared one conversation. One of my friends, who I’ll call Christian, had messaged Jason. At that time, I couldn’t understand why Christian had done it but apparently he was determined to prove that Jason was a jerk and decided to prove it to me in his own twisted Christian way. I woke up one morning to a message from Jason on Myspace. I remember Christian mentioned making a Myspace to talk to Jason but I didn’t think he was serious until Jason messaged me in capital letters telling me to leave him alone, why was Christian messaging him making fun of him and asking for his age and that he doesn’t know me well or want to get to know me. This crushed me. My first time liking a boy and already any chance of something happening was ruined. Christian did me a favor, but I didn’t know that at the time. I was too wrapped up in my infatuation and convinced that Christian ruined it for me.
Jason apologized after I sent him a message begging him for forgiveness. He accepted with a much calmer message and we talked a little bit so naturally I assumed everything was okay between us.
Until he got a girlfriend. From there, it all went downhill.
It was the beginning of eighth grade, the year full of ups and downs. Ups because I became best friends with a girl in my class so I opened up more and began to stand up to bullies in my grade. This girl was a reflection of me and I find it a shame that she and I lost touch. She helped me get through eighth grade immensely.
Since I started standing up to the bullies, the intensity increased. I had textbooks thrown at me, called every insult you could think of, and I couldn’t go anywhere or do anything without being the butt of people’s jokes. I was always the quiet one so aside from my best friend I didn’t speak to anyone really. For this reason, I failed to understand why I was the target of severe bullying. I didn’t mess with anyone and before that year I didn’t talk to anyone. I would cry and wonder why I was so ugly and awkward. I believed these insults toward me.
The fact that a boy I liked joined in on it was even worse.
I honestly can’t remember how. I do remember that Jason began to dislike me because of the Christian situation. Even though he was okay with it online, he began to join in on the bullying in school. Jason would refuse to sit near me, force me to not look in his direction at all, and accuse me of being nosy. I remember one day this girl joked about Jason taking me to prom. At this point, I had done nothing to Jason to deserve being humiliated, yet Jason decided to take the opportunity to mortify me by screaming, “Ewww,” and pretending to gag. No one laughed and one girl even called him out for it, but I was overcome with a feeling I had never felt before. That feeling of defeat, of rejection, of self-loathing. This would intensify through the course of that year.
There was also the time where Jason cursed me out on AIM. Jason found out I liked him. Our whole eighth grade class did. Between my big mouth and the big mouth of a “friend” I told, Jason’s girlfriend found out. This “friend” also didn’t fail to leave out what I said about Jason’s girlfriend out of jealous rampage. Now, Jason’s ex-girlfriend was a nice girl. She was popular but not cocky about it and very forgiving toward me for my poor treatment toward her. Jealousy was new to me and I didn’t know how to handle it. I may come off as crazy in this story, but I was twelve. I was naïve and socially awkward.
I didn’t deserve anything Jason did to me that year. I just liked him. I couldn’t control my feelings or what Christian did. I regretted not keeping my stupid mouth shut about liking Jason. He was my first real crush. Had I known telling a few friends would result in the whole eighth grade knowing, I would have kept my mouth shut.
I knew I was mocked behind my back, but I had no idea that I was so repulsive and hideous that Jason was teased because I had a crush on him. Skinny, pale, pimply faced, awkward, weird Lisa likes Jason. Hahaha, let’s laugh at her. Poor Jason.
For a long time after I would keep my mouth shut about my feelings. When I liked someone, I never told them because of how badly Jason reacted and how humiliating it was. Even now if I develop the balls to be open about my feelings to someone when I like them, I keep my mouth shut to everyone except close friend who don’t know the guy so that I am not the butt of everyone’s jokes.
Okay, so I embarrassed Jason by liking him. Did I deserve him cursing me out on AIM? Did I deserve the first boy I ever really liked calling me ugly, scary, dirty, pale, weird and any other name he could think of? Did I deserve having jokes about part of my family being Jewish and being white thrown at me when I did nothing wrong? I didn’t even insult him. I tried to be nice and went as far as apologizing and pleading for this to stop. I know now that Jason didn’t deserve an apology but I liked Jason and my naïve brain tried to spare his feelings and needed his forgiveness. I needed forgiveness from a guy who called me a psycho and informed me that I was considered the ugliest girl in school. The next day, he gloated to his friends as if cursing me out was something to be rewarded. I didn’t matter. I had no feelings.
This bullying resumed for my final year of middle school. One day I decided I couldn’t take it anymore and fought back. The insults, the cursing out and the humiliation all began to overwhelm me. I don’t remember how it started, but I remember this one day, Jason and I began dissing each other and I just started coming up with comebacks. Jason and I went at it for hours until it turned into a fight of paper balls and me smacking him with a book. I was proud of myself but the bullying didn’t end there. For the whole year, Jason and his friends made it their goal to make my life miserable. They would attack any little thing I did even if I was just sitting down minding my own business. When it came to class presentations, I couldn’t speak without one of Jason’s friends doing something to purposely disrupt me. Near the end of my senior year, almost all the boys and some girls hated me for no reason. A game was made where you had to avoid anything I touched because I was “dirty” and if you touched it you would become as dirty as me. Even people who I never even spoke to joined in on this sick little game.
The worst part? I still liked Jason. I don’t know what possessed me to keep liking him at all. Maybe these were early signs of my tendency to like guys who treat me like utter shit. Jason made my last year of middle school hell, but I still clung onto feelings for a guy that was repulsed by me and insulted me in ways worse than any other boy has. Jason would violently throw balls at me in gym class and make fun of the way I spoke even if I wasn’t talking to him. When Jason’s friend made me cry because of an insensitive holocaust joke toward me, all Jason was worried about was whether or not he was in trouble. Jason was the worst kind of asshole and why I continued to crush on him and hoped he would quit bullying me, I don’t know.
Of course, that didn’t happen. After I graduated middle school, I never saw or spoke to Jason again. We were Facebook friends for a while but we never spoke. Looking back on Jason, I wonder what I ever saw in that kid and why I continued to harbor romantic feelings for him despite the severe bullying he did to me.
The sad part is that, even if I didn’t like Jason and he and his friends found another reason to bully me, it still would have hurt just as much.
They tell you that sticks and stones may break your bones but names will never hurt you. Personally, I’d take getting hit with a dodgeball by Jason over him reminding me how ugly and weird I am every day. I’ve heard that bullying wouldn’t exist if everyone would just ignore it, but how would I ignore nearly half my middle school class calling me names and teasing my every move for no reason? I was already bullied heavily during all of elementary school, did I really need it to follow me throughout middle school?
For a long time, I believed that I deserved it. I believed that since everyone seemed to have it out for me, I must have been all these things there were calling me. Now, this isn’t true because I never did anything to deserve the bullying and a lot of them did it to fit in. However, that fact alone of being so repulsive that it became cool to bully me made me wonder why? Why did Jason feel compelled to bully me when all I did was like him? Why did anyone feel compelled to bully me?
Even if seven years has passed since this happened, it still haunts me. I’ve grown to love myself a little more, but it hasn’t been an easy journey. Sometimes when I look at myself in the mirror, I still think of Jason’s words along with the words of the taunting middle schoolers and hate myself.
The worst part of it was that none of them would care about the long-lasting impact their cruel words had on me. They can just move along and sleep well at night, not caring that what they thought was just a little insult to them ruined a person’s self-esteem and perception of herself.