When remembering you it is with the awareness of middle age. Maturing expands perspective, yet I do not wish to diminish the gravity of your situation by flippantly comparing it to global crises. The subject at hand is your personal experience, not how it relates to the world at large. By today’s standards, what you are experiencing is bullying, yet in your present it is considered peer correction. You violated a social convention, and juvenile society ostracized you for it.
Almost thirty years have passed and it is still difficult to defend your actions, not to imply punishment was justified, but you committed a social transgression and actions have consequences. I do not believe the outcomes are personal, but the self preservation of kids piling on because they do not wish to draw the attention to themselves. Offering sympathy, would have jeopardized their own social status. At this age, non-conformity is a sin.
When considering life a race, it is presumed starting and finish lines equidistant for all participants, yet that is a myth. Each person’s best in any given situation is based on who they are as an individual, not how they compare to the rest of the world. Do not blame your parents They are doing they best they can based on their experience. This will not ameliorate your situation, but remember they are trying and they love you. Do not punish them just because you are unhappy.
You might think, if this disappears then adolescence will be unworthy of therapy, but the reality is removing this moment is unlikely to alter your life in any significant way. This is happening because of your social awkwardness. It isn’t personal. You don’t conform to norms. Variations of this incident will repeat as you age.
This letter is harsh, but I believe you will benefit from truth more than a saccharine pep talk. Even if you witness someone get their due it will not validate your torment, and you will feel empty at the wastefulness of it all. Life will not stay the same. It will get better and worse. It isn’t always personal. Once you understand that, you can quit being a martyr. It’s boorish. Pity isn’t the same as affection. When you understand this, your coping skills will become stronger.
You are an introvert with social anxiety and will learn to function around it and co-exist in polite society. It’s okay. It’s who you are. You will struggle to find your place in this world, but you will find it and be sure of yourself. Do not worry about living up to others’ expectations. Be willing to set goals and work toward them. If necessary, modify your goals, but never stop setting them. Complacency is unattractive.
A word about religion. Don’t be afraid to ask questions about dogma or science. When you ask, be firm and respectful. One day you will be confident enough in your beliefs to be unintimidated by condemnation. Never quit asking difficult questions. Don’t just ask for answers, take it upon yourself to search for them.
~your forty year old self