It struck me recently that it's been 10 years since I was at high school.
High school wasn't a fun time for me. I was filled with an idea that I was fat, ugly and worthless. Regardless of what I actually said or did at the time, that was how I actually felt. I wanted people to like me, to validate my existence. I tried to get people to like me, they did not, I felt worse.
As I moved up through high school I fell in with the other outcasts. We weren't the bottom of the rung but let's face it - I'm immortalised in the yearbook as being part of the chess club and for a while there we hung out outside the library. I was that kid, but I was never comfortable with being that person either.
I made friends outside of my own high school and I grew up and I moved away and I've got on with living my life, but it's quite amazing how the experiences I had in high school have stayed with me and continue to shape who I am and how I think about things.
The cruelty of 14 year old girls continues to feed my fears, the insecurity I felt continues to be part of me... Yet it's been 10 years since I tasted the sweet freedom that came from leaving.
I still remember my last day. The sky was bright blue, I remember the smells of the classrooms as I went and got my teacher's signatures on my leavers card. I remember the smell of the grass as I walked past the rugby field. I remember the smile on my face that was so big it hurt. I was leaving my own private hell hole.
10 years ago. Bloody oath.