I can’t quite pinpoint the moment in my life where I realized that I was a cynic. Now, I know the whole nature vs. nurture argument pertaining to how people’s thoughts and personalities are formed, but for me, I’m definitely “the way I am” because of the latter. I hate to victimize myself, but being hurt by others has truly made me the cynic I am today (or is that how all cynics are formed? Not sure).
I’m in my mid-twenties and I still cry about silly things that happened to me in second grade. I know it sounds like sappy and pathetic childhood drama, but for some reason I can never forgive or forget (well, I know why but I’ll get into that some other time). For starters, one day in second grade my teacher read my private journal out loud to the entire class. I was a fan of the movie Harriet the Spy at the time and decided to copy the main character by having a private notebook where I said mean things about people. Except, of course, unlike the movie no one was ever supposed to find out.
I can’t remember what I wrote in the notebook but what I do remember is that I didn’t mean a single thing. At the time, I was copying what Harriet did in the movie and I just thought it was so cool to have something private, that no one else would see. I learned the hard way not to say mean things after that, but the shame my teacher put me through was something that I swear I’m still dealing with to this day. Although what I did was very wrong, I was only a child at the time and I didn’t deserve to be publicly disgraced in the way it went about. The teacher read every single thing I wrote in a taunting voice and kept looking at me with such scorn and disgust. I’ll never forget how she asked the entire class to raise their hand afterwards if they were still going to be my friend, and only one person did.
For the remaining few years I was in elementary school, kids and teachers alike thought I was a “bad kid” and definitely treated me like one because of that incident. One day in fourth or fifth grade, a boy slapped me and I ran to tell the principal. Without even looking at me, all he said was “you deserve it.” My jaw dropped to the ground. My remaining experiences pertaining to trying to make friends in elementary school involved me always getting framed and tricked into doing favors for people in hopes of them accepting me, but then literally getting laughed at (and in deep trouble with teachers) in the end.
Being shunned and mistreated is something that I’ve just grown to expect from people. I still get shocked when I realize people actually want to be my friend. Nonetheless, I try not to get too close to people nor tell them what’s going on in my current life because… you just never know.
My cynicism isn’t simply because I think all people are motivated by self-interest, but because no one ever cared for my feelings. From the time my trusted neighbor in seventh grade stole my brand new white Nike Air Force Ones (which the thought of wearing now makes me cringe), the time I had my first horrible heartbreak in ninth grade and to my best friends in college no longer speaking to me for no reason that I can think of; I’ve grown used to people being hurtful and only looking out for themselves. I won’t even begin to talk about how the atrocities I see on the news depress the crap out of me.
I know what I’m saying sounds so petty and ridiculous, but because I never got closure after these incidents I can’t help but to be reminded of them every time I deal with people. I doubt I’ll ever trust anyone in my life, but I’m hopeful that through letting out these deep emotions inside of me I can begin to get that closure I’ve always wanted needed.