The following is reposted from my Facebook notes because, well, there are other people out there who get treated this way, too. And it’s a bunch of bullshit.
This is me ranting about people. Specific people. The ones who act all, “zomg, we should totally be BFFs!!!” and then don’t fucking talk to you for months. Years. Until it’s convenient for them, or they get bored enough to weed through their friends list. Life happens, I get that. Shit comes up. But damn, people.
Or how about those, “we should chat!” bitches you bump into on occasion who swear up and down they’ll call you/text you/IM you, then don’t? Love those. (That’s /sarcasm, for the me-illiterate.)
I’m starting to feel like that date who gets sugar and spice and everything nice at dinner, a promise of a phone call and second date, then wonders if maybe, just maybe, I gave the wrong number? Shit, did I transpose those last two digits? Did I write my email all illegible? But no, you just decided I wasn’t worth the time of day and conveniently didn’t tell me. A simple, “You’re nifty and shit, but I’m just not that into you.” will suffice. KTHXBAI.
And you know, I act all nonchalant and I-couldn’t-give-a-fuck-if-I-tried. Because breaking down into tears of, “why don’t they like meeeee??” is fucking pathetic and makes me stabby just to think about. But I’m not a goddamn droid there for you to turn on and off when you please.
I do actually have feelings. (GASP! I know. But my doctor swears I have a blood pressure and everything. Totally living, breathing, the nines. Go figure.) I’m a big girl who can handle her share of Dear John letters, but I’d actually like to GET them. Hanging in limbo sucks.
So if you don’t want to braid each others’ hair and make friendship bracelets, I think I’ll recover. Just have the cajones to tell me so, k?
So it’s 1976, I’m 15 and reading Stephen King’s “Carrie” in a corner of the library. The library is a fairly safe place. She doesn’t spend much time here. That’s not a guarantee though. She has spread the word and sometimes names or spitballs or random crap comes at me from some kid I don’t even know, but who knows Her.
I’m near the end, and I’m right there with Carrie, crowned, loved, feeling beautiful, on top of the world, until that first glut of smelly blood hits her face. I’m there with her, except she has something I can’t find: her rage. A rage so big that with her mind–not moving a muscle, but with the power of her anger, she destroys an entire gymnasium full of people. And they deserve it. All of them. That’s what I’m thinking, sitting there in the library. For a moment, I’m seeing everyone, even the people I like, dead on the floor and me above them, raging, holding the power in my hands. For once. For once.
Like Sweeney Todd, when he sings “They all deserve to die …because in all of the whole human race, Mrs. Lovett, there are two kinds of men …the one staying put in his proper place, and the one with his foot in the other one’s face: look at me, Mrs. Lovett, look at you!” Like Lotte Lenya as Pirate Jenny, in that old 1930’s record my father plays: “Noon by the clock, and so still on the dock, you can hear a fog horn, miles away. In that silence up there, I say: kill them all. And they’re piling up the bodies and I say: hoopla! And the ship, the black freighter, disappears out to sea, and on it is me.”
That’s the fantasy, except in the library, for a moment, it’s not a fantasy, it’s the most sincere wish I can make.
Then She comes in to the library, God knows why, she never studies in here. And I’m the first thing She sees. I freeze. Now it’s just a question of how bad it’ll be today.
I’m not Carrie. I’m not a vengeful Sweeney Todd, or Pirate Jenny sailing away. I’m fat, with long hair that is always greasy because the water pressure in our house sucks. I’m wearing my “Shakespeare is the One” sweatshirt and it smells because I wear it so much.
She zeroes in on me, of course. She and her gang all pretend to be getting books, but what they’re doing is stalking me, surrounding me, like jackals. “Hi Gerber Baby,” She says, “watcha reading?” in that fake sweet voice. “You reading Shakespeare? Huh?” I won’t look up. I won’t look at her. The book is ripped from my hand. “Fucking look at me, bitch. Don’t fucking ignore me, Gerber-head.”
She looks at the cover, and grins. “‘Carrie!’ That’s a great book. I bet you like her, Gerber. Know why?” She gets in my space and pokes me with her sharpened pencil on every word. “Because. You. Are. A. Pig. Just like Carrie.”
So it goes. Every day, so it goes. As far as I know, that’s how it will always be. Little by little, I will be destroyed. Today it’s mild, poking and prodding in the library. Tomorrow it will be science lab chemicals thrown on my skin. My books will be on the floor more often than on a desk. I will be chased down stairwells, trapped in bathroom stalls, and punched. There will be no part of my body or face or personality unmocked. Spitballs will be stuck in my hair. I will eat more, to try and drown it out, but I can’t. School is inescapable, and it’s the same people, year in, year out.
I have tried to tell Authorities. A guidance counselor carefully explains what a terrible background She comes from. I am told that life is no bowl of cherries for anyone in this world.
My teachers look away, turn on a movie, disappear from the hallways into break rooms as soon as they see Her starting in on someone (usually me). I have a vague impression that the teachers are scared of her too.
Home is my safe haven. I would rather die than tell my parents that their smart, pretty, talented only child is, in reality, a Big Fat Loser being tortured every day by the school nutcase. The fact that She is African-American would just make it worse. My folks were Civil Rights activists and I was raised on stories of racial oppression. They’d probably tell me how hard it is for Her, one of maybe five African-American kids in the school. And I’d agree.
No. Home must stay safe. I will not let Her have my home.
Sunday night, and I’m cold inside because I have to go back to school the next day. After dinner, we’re watching Masterpiece Theatre. “Upstairs, Downstairs.” I adore that show. I wish I could be an Edwardian servant. It looks better than Warren Junior High School.
The phone rings. My mother answers it, annoyed. “It’s for you, honey.” I go to the phone, annoyed. “Hello?” “Hi Gerber-baby,” She says sweetly. “Watcha doin? I bet you’re writing a paper. About pigs. I hope you’ll read it out loud to me tomorrow. You better fuckin do it.” Horrified, I drop the phone, then slam it on the receiver.
I go back to the living room. “Sweetie, are you OK?” says my Mom, “You’re very white.”
“I’m fine. I’m going to bed.”
I lie in bed. There are a lot of ways to die. I fall asleep wondering how many aspirin would do it, or if I could step in front of a subway train. Maybe that wouldn’t hurt. Maybe it would happen so fast that you wouldn’t know it.
“And the ship, the black freighter, disappears out to sea …and on it is me.”
It is 35 years later. I’m successful. I make my living as an actress and writer. I have lots of love and friends in my life, and everything I need materially, but I never married, or had children. I’ve always kept people slightly at a distance. I prefer to perform for them, I prefer to control what they see. I have fought with food, alcohol, and depression. Sometimes I win. What I just wrote, I’ve never said in full to anyone. And you know, all the school shootings now: every time, I think, there but for the grace of God go I.
This is her story:
Hi, The Band. I’m a Chinese international student and I’m still trying hard to recover from being bullied in kindergarten.
Back then, I was a shy little girl who was mocked by my classmates; I can still hear their laughter. To make matters worse, my kindergarten teacher was irresponsible (she only cared for children whose parents bribed her). Once, classmates kicked my head in until I bled heavily. The teachers advice? She told me to lie to my family and say that I “fell down accidentally,” clearly my own fault.
The effects of bullying persist. I’ve suppressed my own wants and desires so that I can please others; my family, classmates, and teachers. I was a nice girl, I studied hard, didn’t waste my time on music, pop culture, relationships during my adolescent “rebellion.” I took every word of my family, friends, teachers, and classmates seriously, even when they’d ask me to do something I didn’t want to do. Everyone thumbed on me and nobody thought I was problematic – including me.
I began to notice problems when I was in college: I cannot keep diaries for myself (but I can write for school work). I cannot develop hobbies, enjoy music just for fun, or express myself on social media unless it relates to school work. I don’t have any idols. Anything of my own preferences feels obscure and unimportant. My self esteem is low, I never feel proud of myself.
It’s hard for me to say no to others. I don’t even know what it feels to like fight for myself. I’ve compromised myself many times no matter if I wanted to do it or not (and there are a lot of things I like and dislike). I treat everyone the same, no matter if he/she was cruel to me.
I feel especially uncomfortable when it comes to meeting some outstanding, strong or potential-to-be-bullying peers. All my current friends are somehow weaker than me. While I relate to most of my peers during school, I never contacted them after graduation.
I need to pretend to be exciting to my peers or siblings.
I’ve just recovered from two depressive episodes and begun the long process of healing, empowering, and understanding myself. I repeated “I love you” everyday to myself since last April.
I can calmly write for myself. I can express myself on social media. I started to figure out my likes and dislikes. I began to asking my Chinese friends to help if I have concerns about my life. I stopped taking school so seriously so that I can best understand myself and the world. I’ve begun reaching out to help other people who feel weak, depressed, or bullied learn to love themselves. Invigorated, I’ve started to contribute to the development of my discipline in China. I’m comfortable and peaceful being alone doing nothing. While I stay alone here, I’m never lonely.
I have goals now, too! There are a couple of things on my bucket list (traveling, feeling a sense of belonging with my peers, learning to make friends with people who intimidate me) are things I really want but haven’t had acquired yet. I want to fight for myself (when necessary), go to parties and have fun, enjoy music, and attending online or offline community activities.
Life is certainly looking up.
I was in the third grade when I was given my first labels.
I hear it now, as I did six years ago.
Still I hear it ringing through my ears, wondering if it is the truth.
Years later I think to myself, do they know how hurtful those words are? Do they know I still think of it? Do they know that every time I look in the mirror, those names, those labels comes to mind, along with many others.
If they do, if they did, would they still have chosen to say that, or would they go back and erase it?
Fast forward three years.
Just starting middle school, a new school, a new beginning, a new life. Right?
With a new school, comes a new bully, new names.
“Bitch.” “Slut.” “Ugly.” “Poodle head.”
The names go on.
And the first time in my life, I feel helpless.
I feel trapped.
Because now, not only were they attacking verbally, but now they attacked through social media.
Helplessly, I admit defeat, and call for help.
Therapy for one year.
I stop going.
No more bullies …for now.
One year later.
Half-way through the terrible mix.
Not an adult, but not a kid.
You’re changing in different ways.
Discovering new things about yourself.
Life is great …until they come again.
A new army of bullies ready to take down their first victim.
“Idiot.” “Fat.” “No good.” “Dirty whore.” “Lame.” “Loser.”
Those were the nice ones.
One more year…
Once again, a new year, a new bully
This time it’s worse.
“Thunder Thighs” is the only thing I was called.
One name, twice the pain.
I pull out my razor, to help relieve the mental tension.
Trying to replace mental pain with physical pain.
It works …for a little while.
One year later.
I am now clean.
Going through therapy.
Recently diagnosed with clinical depression and anxiety,
This puts a toll on my family.
I try and push through it, as I’ve done for years.
Apparently, I’m a great actress,
Fooling everyone around me that I am happy.
But now, I no longer have to pretend…
I am getting help.
Even though it hurts sometimes…
And those awful memories flood back.
I have self control…
I am seven months clean.
Still with urges, I manage to throw away my razor, and speak up.
With help from my family and friends, I am on the road to recovery.
Because after all, my disorder doesn’t define me.
Here at The Band, we believe in kicking stigmas to the curb, flinging glitter, and shining a light into the dark.
And now? Your bandmate needs a sounding board.
It’s time to Ask The Band!
I’m still being bullied and telling my parents and teachers didn’t work out that well. My bullies became wiser, and there is no proof to show what they’ve done to me. You can’t prove someone’s words. This has been going on nearly a year. And they influence even more people, day by day. I have avoided talking to them as much as possible, but they’re my classmates. I see them every shitty day, eight hours straight. Even people who don’t know me hate me. (Seriously, people?)
So I made a decision.
I want to transfer to another school after taking my finals. I’m in my 10th grade right now.
But how do I tell my mum? I’m now studying in one of the best all-girls school in town. My parents actually made efforts to send me there. My parents don’t approve of the other school. I can study really well, so either school is the same for me. My school has an excellent academic reputation, but lots of bitches to screw with me.
The other school is a not famous co-ed school, with lots of troublemakers. (Rumors? I don’t know…) My fear is what if I’m still bullied when I’m in my new school?
I’m gonna lay low. I don’t care about my reputation, I just need a calm life.
So, how the hell do I tell my parents? How to convince them? Should I transfer?
I was thinking of getting straight A’s for my finals to convince them, don’t know if I can nail that.
I was 7 years old when they started to bully me. I was only a kid. I don’t understand what I did to them.
At first I would laugh along with them, but soon I realized that those words hurt. Didn’t they see I looked up to them? They hurt me so badly that many times I thought I didn’t deserve to live. I thought it was my fault.
They robbed me of my childhood, I would go to sleep crying, hoping the next day it wouldn’t be as bad. I asked for help, but instead, I was told to “man up.” How is an eight year old suppose to do that? After a few years they finally stopped. I had my friends and family, but I would still felt worthless, like I didn’t matter.
I forgave them, but those scars are still there.
I can still hear all those horrible things they said to me in my head. The only way I survived was that I made myself stop feeling emotions. Things would happen to me in my life, but I would no longer feel them. I talk to my former bullies now as if nothing ever happened, but whenever they look at me, I feel like I’m 7 again, hiding in a corner, scared.
Little by little, I have been able to put myself together again, to start to feel, but those painful memories just don’t go away. Whenever I remember those painful memories all I can ask myself is what did I do to them to make them hate me so much? I was only a kid.