I was in a great amount of pain, and had been for most of the day. Eventually, I had no choice but to tell my mom that I probably needed to get checked out. It was embarrassing, but I knew it was the right thing to do. The rest of that afternoon and evening was a whirlwind of tests, diagnosis, surgery, and recovery.
Somehow news spread… It was a small town, these things are bound to happen, and before I had been discharged late that night, some friends had come to the hospital to make sure I was alright. It was the only genuine concern and sympathy I received outside my immediate family. After that night, everything else was painful teasing and taunting.
The bullies were relentless and merciless.
It was the equivalent of a polyp, that had inflamed, and would normally have resolved itself given enough time, but, unfortunately for me, some of the tests indicated that perhaps blood was not flowing properly. The doctor was concerned enough that he decided surgery was necessary to ensure everything was working properly. He guessed everything was fine, but wanted to make sure.
Everything was working fine and, while they had me open, the doctor just went ahead and removed the polyp. They sewed me back together. Problem solved.
If I had just been able to withstand the pain for another day, I wouldn’t have needed surgery because there was no issue with blood flow, there was nothing that warranted the operation, and the polyp would have eventually deflated on its own. If I hadn’t had surgery then there would have been no impetus for what turned into some of the most painful years of my life.
Of all the horrible nicknames that came from that one day, early in high school, the worst was probably “one nut.”
Perhaps a less shy child, because that’s what we all truly were at that age, would have dropped his boxers and proved to all those calling him names that he still had both of his testicles, thank you very much. But, that same child probably would have been suspended, if not worse. And, besides being shy, I feared those kinds of punishments more than I loathed the names, because I felt that would have disappointed my parents.
Perhaps a tougher kid, a bigger kid, would have opted to fight, rather than turning their back and walking away from the bullies, choking back tears of shame and rage. They would have demanded a stop to the teasing with their fists. But, I was small and weak. I didn’t get my height until my senior year, and I’ve always been built like a toothpick. I was too afraid to start a fight and then lose. And, again, I didn’t want to get suspended, I didn’t want to disappoint my parents.
I was wrong in that, of course. My parents would have supported me and understood my need to stand up for myself. They would have helped me deal with any ramifications of such behavior. It would have been fine. This knowledge now often leads me to wonder how different my life would have been if only I had done something to stand up to those bullies, to put a stop to those awful names…
It’s a fine line to ponder, though. I love my life now. The Queen. The Little Prince. The person I am. I wouldn’t want to jeopardize any of that. I wouldn’t want to change anything from my past that would make this great part of my life disappear.
But, I desperately want to save fourteen year old me from all the pain he endured too.
Would you change anything from your past despite the risk it would mean to the current you?