"I felt that he was a kindred spirit as soon as ever I saw him."
"You're both queer enough, if that's what you mean by kindred spirits,"
I still remember the first time I was rejected. I was nearly five years old, and I'd invited everyone in my class to my birthday party (my parents were very strict on this, as only inviting some people would make others feel left out) and one boy flat out refused to accept the invitation. I didn't understand it. Even if he didn't want to come, he could just have taken it and then not turned up. It was very... public. I was standing in the middle of the classroom, holding out an invitation that he refused to take.
Since then, there are any number of other instances of me being left out, not fitting in with my peers. I was bullied at every school I ever went to after that - sometimes for the entire time I was there. Even when I wasn't bullied I didn't have a vast number of friends. I rarely, if ever, felt like I belonged to a group.
I was picked on for any number of things. For being 'too posh' at one school, for being 'a pikey' (aka not posh enough) at another. For being fat, for being awkward, for being 'a frigid slut'. Fortunately, along the way I discovered some kindred spirits - friends who were as ‘queer’ as I was. Even today, most people I am friends with experienced bullying and I find it very difficult to relate to the expectations and life experience of people who've always been on the inside.
"A bosom friend—an intimate friend, you know—a really kindred spirit to whom I can confide my inmost soul."
Though I am (fortunately) no longer bullied, it has left its mark. My self-esteem is appallingly low, I am highly critical of myself, a perfectionist about many things, afraid to be assertive. The list goes on but frankly, if you are reading this then you are probably ‘kindred’ and thus hardly need me to tell you.
I've found that the more open I am about this ongoing quest to recover from bullying, the easier it is, the more mindful I am of it. That's part of what this blog is about, I suppose. I also hope that some of the ways I've created to tackle the problem, or ones I've found, may be of use to other kindred spirits out there.
This blog is also a way to reach out to current friends, to let them know what's going on in my life as they may be some distance away. Facebook is all well and good for quick updates, but I know I appreciate the deeper insight into the lives of my friends who blog, so I thought I'd give it a try myself.
As for the future, who can say?
"You're young and I'm old, but our souls are about the same age, I reckon. We both belong to the race that knows Joseph, as Cornelia Bryant would say."
"The race that knows Joseph?" puzzled Anne.
"Yes. Cornelia divides all the folks in the world into two kinds—the race that knows Joseph and the race that don't. If a person sorter sees eye to eye with you, and has pretty much the same ideas about things, and the same taste in jokes—why, then he belongs to the race that knows Joseph."
"Oh, I understand," exclaimed Anne, light breaking in upon her. "It's what I used to call—and still call in quotation marks 'kindred spirits.'"
[Quotations from Anne of Green Gables and Anne's House of Dreams by L M Montgomery]