Yesterday, I felt extremely vulnerable and it didn’t help that I watched a film called Bully. It’s on the list of topics that are sensitive to me. I’ve been the target, and am ashamed to admit that I have been on both sides of the spectrum.
Throughout my life, for as long as I can remember, I’ve battled depression and anxiety. When I was little, I thought they were just things that I was going through and should be ashamed of. I didn’t know that their was a label nor that their were millions of people out there experiencing the same things that I was. I always thought I had to keep those feelings private because everyone I knew was happy or normal all the time. So, I did what I did best, I pretended and acted as if though everything was fine. I fooled many and at times even fooled myself.
I grew up very poor and we lived in a humble home. It was a one bedroom house that initially had no bathroom, it was added later by my father. Shortly thereafter he walked out on us. We had two beds in the bedroom, one in the living room, and one in the kitchen. I shared this home with my 2 brothers, 2 sisters and my mother. At various points in my life, their were sometimes up to 10 or more people living in this home and even though I was always surrounded by people, I always felt alone.
I felt this overwhelming fear of abandonment, anger, guilt, emptiness and sadness. I found joy in running amok in our yard and found solace when my flesh was grazed, in pain, or bleeding. I vividly remember moments where I used to wrap myself in chicken wire until I bled, walk on broken glass, put the cigarette lighter from my Mom’s car on my fingers, cut my fingers as well as the webbing in between my fingers. . . amongst other things. A lot of it was not out of curiosity but because I felt alive when I hurt myself. In retrospect, I realize that those were the moments I had first discovered self-harm — it was a trend that would continue for a long time.
In elementary school, I had people pick on me because I was either too poor, shy, quiet, fat, tall, had big ears, or holes in my socks. The list is never ending. Their was always a reason to be picked on. I don’t quite recall the moment but I snapped. I remember, just not wanting to be made fun of anymore and wanting it to stop. I came from a family of 5, so I was taught by them that I had to fend for myself. So I did.
I wish I could recall the exact moment, but the feeling of wanting it to stop still resonates. I remember it changing from year to year. Their were moments where I felt like everything was normal, but then you’d fight with the popular girl and you were a social pariah. No one spoke to you and the bullying would commence once again. You’d fight back and then you were back in everyone’s good graces and the roles were reversed with the popular girl and yourself. It was like this, year after year. I remember their was even a specific boy who attempted very hard to make my life a living hell. He’d always find something at fault with me and we’d get into fist fights that at times even drew blood. Mind you, this is all in elementary school. Of course, he had his goonies who would also assist him but I was fortunate enough to have a best friend who was there by my side.
When I wasn’t being bullied I was bullying those who bullied me and at times stooped to their level and said awful things to people who may have not necessarily been deserving of it. I thought it was retribution, because they did nothing when I was being forced to be the outcast. I was only nice to those who had been nice to me. It’s a shame that I had to learn that you had to fight back in order to get these cruel kids to stop being cruel to you. I also learned at a young age, that bullies were cowards and belittled people because they were even more insecure with themselves than I was.
Things in middle school became more psychological. I did my best to be nice to everyone and to treat people equally because I knew how terrible it was to be the one being bullied. I was always labeled the weird girl and I don’t say that because I wanted to be weird but because it was a label given by the masses. I lived in a small town, so anyone remotely different stood out like a sore thumb. I liked tattoos, wanted to dye my hair unnatural colors, had morbid dreams, wasn’t girly and watched The X-Files. I honestly can’t recall what it was that got me labeled as the weird girl because I never thought I was weird. I never even got to go through those phases where you wore weird clothes or dyed my hair at a young age, because my family was poor and I couldn’t afford to express myself through those means. Still, I was teased for being fat, ugly, gross, poor, “lesbian” and especially weird.
I remember having to deal with not only myself and my personal demons but with the taunts and shit that kids at school said. I wanted to end my life. I wanted the pain and sadness to stop. I wanted nothing more but to sleep forever, to never wake. I would sit in class and wish that I could make them feel the pain that I was feeling. I wanted it to end but how can you stand up to more than one person when they were being protected by the people that weren’t supposed to take sides? That’s where my thoughts wandered to hurting them. I thought of ways that I could make them regret having ever hurt me or anyone for that matter. I plotted ways that I could, it could have been so easy. Terribly easy. I didn’t own guns but their were other means. I thought of plans and reworked them every time they said something hateful. To this day, I don’t know if I ever would have gone through with those plans. I moved away before any of them could come to fruition.
It’s no wonder why kids are committing suicide and/or shooting up schools. I don’t justify their actions nor am I saying that it’s the right thing to do. But when the people that you’re supposed to go to for help are turning their heads and when you’re going through all that shit. . . you run out of options. You’re a child, you can’t just ask your family to get up and leave. You’re cornered and you start thinking of ways to make it end. Even then, sometimes stopping it isn’t enough. You want to make a statement. It always frightens me how much I sympathize with them, but if it were not for the experiences that I’ve had I would never be able to understand the thought process.
But to answer my own question, on whether I would have gone through with my plans, I don’t think that I actually would have ever done anything. The harder that I think back on those moments I remember telling several people that these high and mighty people would soon be removed from their kingdom. They would surely fall and some would fall harder than most but that’s what I found solace in, knowing soon it would end and they would face the consequences of their actions. I liked to think that Karma would reward them generously for being shitty humans and I can attest that plenty of them have been rewarded sufficiently if not more.
After watching that film, I just realize just how much I didn’t want to admit to myself and even now still can’t. I suppose at this point I just want to put it out there rather than leave it in my brain where I would sulk in it for days.
I could go on with my experiences but it’s torture reliving this much and admitting a lot of this. I always wanted to say how much of a bad ass I was when I was little but really I was fighting for my peace of mind. My sanity. I fought because I had to, no kid should have to fight for that. My experiences in school weren’t nearly as bad as most peoples and were probably made worse because of my own personal issues but still no kid should have to go through the little that I did. And though I would like to pretend that the little I experienced didn’t have it’s toll, but it has and some experiences will haunt me for life.