Hi Goju-girl. I can relate to your situation; when I was in school, for most of my school years, I was also the "weird kid", funny looking with low confidence and a low understanding of social complexities. I also was poked at and called names, for several years. The worst of it started in grade five and it levelled off somewhat in grade eleven, and the self-esteem damage had been done.

Why did you snap? I don't think you really "snapped" in the true sense. If your mental state had slipped entirely you would have continued to pummel the guy long after his shirt ripped. If an adult had to endure that kind of thing at work they would have had a similar reaction, and the offender would have been disciplined, unlike in school where the administration usually ignores such things.

Yes, you did the right thing. You didn't harm the guy but you did make it very clear to him and those around him that you are not to be pushed around. You didn't return his attacks immediately which shows that you have patience, but you also have your breaking point and that is to be respected.

Fighting back, especially at your age and with your popularity issues, is more important at this point than just sitting there and taking abuse. You are reminding yourself that you count, that you are important, and that you deserve better. (Notice I said fighting BACK, not starting them!) I didn't see your "self-esteem" thread but if that is an issue for you, as it is with many junior high students, then your self-esteem will be crushed further if you allow people to abuse you. There is a certain amount of flack that you have to accept from people; folks of all ages have to tolerate certain situations where they would rather fight. But, it sounds like you're doing that already.

In my school years I almost never fought back and I can tell you, that didn't do me any good. The reason I just sat and took it was because I came from a very violent home and my experience with violence was that others who were bigger and stronger would escalate it until the weapons came out. Nothing was ever settled with a scrap. It was a fight to the death (or 'til the cops came!). So, I didn't want this sort of thing happening at school either.

Fast forward 25 years to where I am at now, at the age of 37: My self-esteem is now quite high and I think very highly of my personality and how I turned out. The rejection in school helped me to forge my own path, define my own identity, and follow my own voice. For the most part I am right where I want to be, spiritually, mentally and emotionally. That seems somewhat rare for people my age; so many people in my peer group are struggling for self-definition and meaning. The people who I call friends are first-rate awesome people, open and caring and level-headed, I am a great mom and a valued employee. (I work now with troubled youth in group homes and independent settings, and am able to handle their crises very well thanks to my experiences in youth!)

You'll get there as well. I actually am surprised at your age; from your well-composed posts throughout the forum I thought you were older. Remember this: If you don't fit into the mainstream now, you probably never will. Rejoice in this. Walk your path one step at a time, enjoy your MA training, stay away from drugs and alcohol (I cannot stress that one enough!!), don't be afraid to be alone, and remember that you have a place on this earth. You'll find your "tribe" once you really have a sense of who you are, and you'll love it.

A.