If I die tomorrow, I want you to know this

It happened six years ago. The day I thought I would die. I still remember it to this day.

I walked into school like any other high school senior. I had gotten accepted into my dream college and was looking forward to passing the last few months of school being bored, pretending to work, and chatting my days away with my friends while we were still all in one place.

Instead, I was pulled into a separate room, to be interrogated.

“We have received an e-mail from your e-mail address that contains pictures of a document you didn’t have access to. We want to know what happened.”

1-20-14 if i dieI told them I didn’t know what they were talking about. That I hadn’t sent any e-mails. They refused to show me their copy of the e-mail. They only asked me if that was my e-mail address (it was).

They asked me if my final grades mattered for college. What college I was going to. If a phone call accusing me of fraud would make them revoke my admissions offer.

They pulled in every single other student in my class. Made several girls cry.

Parents came in, argued, threatened, all to no avail. The corrupt system was well defended.

Someone had hacked my e-mail address and sent an e-mail as if having been delivered from my address to the school principal and my homeroom teacher, as well as a few other students, containing pictures of a future test they had “found”.

For this, I was being punished.

I tried to prove my innocence – but the e-mail provider needed to have the original e-mail, and they refused to even let me see it, let alone have it.

I tried to bring a lawyer – they informed me that this was internal school business so the lawyer couldn’t interfere.

During those few months until I graduated, I experienced the most intense emotions. Fear, anger, fury, desperation, hope…

One day, I just broke down. I cried so much that I couldn’t stop anymore. I was just laying there on the ground, sobbing. No matter what I tried to do, I just couldn’t stop. I cried for several hours until no more tears were coming out.

I became exhausted and haunted by this. Their persecution of me lasted for months. Threats that they will expel me. Bad grades. Various other sketchy maneuvers. I got a lowered grade in “behavior” (something we get graded on in Romania) because of a vote that was approximately 2 for and 15 against. Yes, you heard that right. 2 people voted for me getting the lowered grade. But hey, it was the right two people.

I felt like the future I had built, that I had worked so hard for, was collapsing all around me. All because someone was mean enough to try to jeopardize my future through a (really, really bad) joke.

But through all the darkness I started seeing the light. It was the light of the people around me. Those people who I have probably never thanked enough for how much they were there for me. The teachers who gave me words of encouragement and fought for me. The other students who fought right alongside me and didn’t stand back in front of “authority”. The people who were there for me, supporting me when I couldn’t keep myself together anymore.

These amazing people taught me one thing that I want you to know:

You are not alone.

We’ve all been through tough times.

There are people all around you who know just what it is like to feel the way you do.

There are also people all around you who are more than willing to lend you a hand, or their shoulder. Who will listen to you, encourage you, and even fight with you, and for you.

When you look at other people, you see their “outer mask” – what they want the world to see. This outer mask is filtered through fear, self-doubt, and various other experiences they have been through that has shaped how much they show to the world.
But when you ask for help, you get to see people’s true self. Their core, the one that is not nearly as shiny as the outside. It’s scratched, dirty, dinged-up. But oh, how they don’t realize that this is the most beautiful part of themselves. The only part of them that can truly change the world, starting with one person – perhaps it is you.

And nothing brings out compassion and fellowship in people more than seeing someone else go through the pain they know.

So reach out. Tell your story. Ask for a shoulder, or a hand.

But, before you do, you should know this, too:

You’re not a victim.

Whether you’ve been hacked by a mindless teenager, hurt by an abusive partner, or otherwise damaged in life, you are not powerless.

The only power you have is the most important power you have: that to take care of yourself. To be true to yourself, to put all the crap about who you pretend to be aside and to be who you really are in front of people.

To ask people for help, to pick yourself back up and start over, one step at a time.

It doesn’t take much to get the ball rolling. And yes, you will get set backs. You will keep falling on your butt. But then you will remind yourself that you are not alone, and that you are not a victim, and you will pick yourself back up and keep moving forward on your path in life.

And, one day, you will look back at that scar on your heart and realize that it was one of the most valuable lessons of your life. And you will treasure it with gratitude. And you will smile, because the idiot who hurt you didn’t realize just how much he was helping you along.

Namaste, my friend.

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Comments

  1. Hi Laura
    I am touched by what you have gone through. It must have been horrendous at the time.
    You find out who your true friends are.
    You learn lessons and ‘the idiot who hurt you—-‘, helped you to grow.
    You have learned and moved on and become a better person. If you had let it affect the rest of your life and being resentful, life would have been different.
    Namaste

    Raj

    • Raj,

      It really was quite a horrible experience. But I value it so dearly, because it has played such a big role in allowing me to step out of my confusion and fear. It’s one of the experiences I credit for helping me grow up so much (isn’t it funny how it’s always the worst experiences that help us grow the most?)

      That’s true, I could have let it affect me differently. But I’m glad I chose to learn from it rather than letting it control my life. Thank you!

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