I was a weird kid.
At 6 years old, my passions were Beethoven, Renoir, and The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe.
I loved writing my own stories and playing games which somehow always involved more witches than princesses (although, combining the two was never out of the question!)
A little under two decades later, I see nothing wrong with that.
At the time? No-one likes to be the weird kid.
Without even thinking about it, I started the worst habit of my life - locking parts of myself away.
If you don't show your passions, no-one can judge them. I didn't like being judged. Kids can be cruel.
Flash-forward ten-ish years, and I was stuck in what I now see was an emotionally-abusive friendship.
I became scared to share my own opinions, in case they weren't what N would approve of.
I have no idea, now, how I came to that point.
She was controlling, manipulative, and possessive.
She claimed to be shy but screamed us down - there was a group of us, all scared to criticise her - at every opportunity.
Me and The Bestie still refer to her as 'Madam' or sometimes 'Her' or 'Someone,' as if she has some Voldemort-like power to sense when her name is being invoked.
She took the boxes the 6-year-old me had started building inside myself and crammed them full.
I stopped exercising my enthusiasm or interest in things that she didn't approve of - in things that weren't of interest to her.
If we made a mis-step in the unwritten rules of life in N-world, she made our lives miserable in a way only teenage girls really can. This included liking things she didn't.
She was also homophobic in a way which somehow was never spoken - out loud she was a proponent of gay rights - but was always heavily implied. And that really did not help when I was struggling with accepting myself as I am.
To someone who has never been there, never had their steps judged and controlled by someone who thought herself superior but was also utterly insecure, it's difficult to explain.
To them, I will say this simply:
She was not a good friend.
She was not a good person.
I hold no ill-will, but honestly hope I never see her again.
And now, nearly a decade on from that whole teenage mess? Now I wanna be me.
I wanna be interested in what I'm interested in, and never, ever, lose my enthusiasm for the things I love.
There is nothing wrong with loving the things you love. There is nothing wrong with thoroughly enjoying every little bit of it.
Remember that, my dearest nerdlets, it'll serve you well. You are amazing, never forget that.
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