I thought it was NORMAL… but it was BULLYING

At kindergarten I did not like to be with other kids. I was always very shy and reserved.
In elementary school I had created an exclusive circle of friends, the ones closest to my house, those with whom I was always together at school. My mother, however, knowing me, has always advised me to go out with other kids, to expand my group of friends, but I wasn’t at ease in big groups.
At middle school they changed and I immediately created another small group of four/five friends, excluding all others. At school I did not do well, I didn’t like to study, and I eventually began to have my first fights, the first fistfight was with classmates. From that moment onwards my restless and lively character came out. In class I was never focused, I always just wanted to mess around.
Back then I attended judo, I practiced for six years, and I was kind of good. My friends however all played football, I often told them of my tournaments and victories. They, however, always belittled me. They made fun of me because in judo wasn’t a popular sport. According to them it was not cool what I did, they always said that winning was easy and that I was not good. I was so annoyed; I felt inferior to them, out of the group. All of them were doing the same sport, they had the same interests, and they talked about the same things. I was outside, foreign to their language. I began bothering people by feeling uncomfortable, which drew more attention to me. For this reason, I was beaten up by one of my closest friends. My mom noticed the bruises on my arms and legs, asking me to explain, but I tried to hide it by saying that I had fallen off a bike or I was injured playing. At that time I could not understand what was really going on and so I thought it was normal, but it was actually pure bullying that in the future has influenced my choices. When I was being beaten up, all the other classmates watched and laughed. They thought it was a game, but it hurt, it was really painful. Slowly I began to see everything that differentiated me from the group as something that made me feel inferior to them, the shoe size, height, age.
When I came home from school usually I ate alone, my father went to work and my mother kept me company at the table. But I couldn’t tell her anything of what was going on at school; I would have looked bad if my mom had intruded. There wasn’t much dialogue with my parents, I never opened up, I didn’t care to talk about my things with them. With my father, however, I spent a lot of time playing video games, even though this didn’t help us to build a real relationship. We were alienated by the game, we did not speak, we only stared at the screen, we never really committed into knowing each other. In high school, I chose to enroll in IPSIA, I did not want to study so I chose something simple. There I made friends with other guys, but I continued to go out with both: my neighbors and almost all my former middle school friends. The separation, after the end of middle school, had united us as it never has before. I remember that we always met in our neighborhood bar, and there we began our first flirtations, the first aperitifs and spirits.
I failed the first year of high school, I was told not to give up electrical engineering because my father had experience in the field, but I wanted to go to mechanics. I finally had to give in to the request of my parents and I stayed. I failed the following year too, I did not want to open the books and I only wanted to hang around with my friends. In the classroom I met a boy, Giuseppe, he was one year younger than me. I began to hang around with him, I was tired of staying every night with the same friends, staying in the usual bar and listen to them talking about football. I wanted to escape from the dynamic of the group that I didn’t feel was completely mine. This new guy I liked though, he was a bully, at fourteen he already had a scooter, he smoked cigarettes, he had a girlfriend, he was cool. So I left my group to stay more with this guy and my girlfriend.
One night we were alone in a little park near our houses, he takes out his cigarettes but instead there’s a joint. He immediately lights it up and at that moment I could not say no to him. My entire world flipped upside down at that very moment. I knew that it was harmful but I could not pull myself back, I could lose his friendship and I would be forced to return to my old friends. I was afraid to be judged. On that occasion, I had to be the same as him. That night I did not give much weight to the effect that the joint gave me, I returned home and slept. The next evening it happened again, Giuseppe pulls out another joint. This time I smoked a little more, I felt good, we laughed, joked, had no inhibitions, we had no worries. Since that time I couldn’t stop looking for those feelings and that substance.