It was my first year of high school. I was totally unprepared. The jump from year 6 to year 7 for me, was particularly brutal. The year before, in year 6, I was the only kid. That’s right, I WAS year 6. There was another kid in year 6, my best friend at the time, Benny.

I guess choice was a luxury I couldn’t really afford when it came to choosing friends, so thankfully myself and Benny got along very naturally. But, at the same time, it would appear that good fortune was another luxury I had in limited stock, and early in the year Bennys parents decided to move Benny and his brothers from Doubtful Creek, my school, to the public school in the town of Casino, about 30 minutes away by car. 

So, there I was, the oldest and loneliest kid at Doubtful Creek Primary School. With a population of about 12, the school was tiny. Isolation had been a prominent theme for my younger years and I remember being quite indifferent on the situation, I think the effects probably ran much deeper than my perception could reach at that point. 

I spent my time at home avoiding, or hiding from my family, then would go to school and play on my own, and be taught on my own. In retrospect, and especially now that I’m putting all this on paper, it strikes me almost as a shock, but the relationship between the experience of those years, and the person I have grown to be is undeniable. I am solitary. Not antisocial, no, actually I think I am an excellent socialiser, and seem to be quite popular and successful in building functional social networks and relationships, however it does pain me, and the need to be alone is ever growing as time passes. 

Another prominent feature of my youth was bullying. With so little experience dealing with other kids I was helpless when it came to confrontations, so it was only a matter of time until the bullies had sniffed out that weakness in me, and by year 8 I was the target of physical abuse on a daily basis. Troy, was the main perpetrator. 

It was the beginning of our year 8 sience class that day. Amongst the clamor of students making their way to their seats Troys attention had found me, sitting at the table next to my friend Sam. 

As he closed in on me I began the standard protocol, look straight ahead, become totally vacant, and sink deeply into the dark corner of my mind I had grown so accustomed to. He began hitting me in the arm, maybe my inability to respond provoked it, but the punches were getting harder. 

He was now punching me with as much force as he could muster, I couldn’t believe it, the pain was so intense I was sweating. Eventually he had to stop for the class to begin. I’ll never forget the look of dismay on Sams face when I turned to him… 

Crying without showing it… unfortunately it was a painful skill I had alot of experience with. When you put a lid on such an intense emotion, it physically burns deep in your core. Well, sitting there with sweat beading on my face, trembling as I reached for my pencil case as if nothing happened, my heart was fucking blazing.

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