To the 2 year old little girl, Allison, with brown eyes that love everyone and everything you are perfect never change.
3 year old Allison:
The dog bite and 120 plus stitches you will need in your face will only hurt for a little bit. It’s what comes later that will really hurt you.
4 year old Allison:
The daycare teachers and other kids at daycare will call you the ugly duckling. Don’t cry to much about it because at the end of the story the duck ends up being a swan. But that’s just a story and stories aren’t true. Right?
5 year old Allison:
Now is when you should try and run away from people. Here is when you change schools for the first time and you have to deal with the bullies again. Now is when you will have to talk to the state police about your aunt sexually harassing and sexually assaulting you for a couple of years. But that’s okay because that’s how you show people you love them. WRONG!!!! Now is when all the nightmares will start and you won’t sleep for the next couple of weeks and, sleeping the next couple of months without waking up screaming will be a miracle.
6,7,& 8 year old Allison:
These years will be different right? Wrong! These years the bullies get worse because they make new friends and become “Popular”. Don’t worry about what popular means you’ll find out within the next couple of years. But on the plus side you make a few new friends too. The downside to these friends one will steal your things when you have her spend the night, one will hate you most of the time, and the other is a boy that only has you for a friend.
9, 10, 11, & 12 year old Allison:
Those boys who always “pick on you” as the teachers call it only do it because they like you. Let me tell you how wrong that is. Those boys don’t like and probably never will. They are rude and can get away with murder because their dad is the big man at the school. You will be hurt emotionally, physically, and spiritually because of these boys and the fact that no one will help you because their daddy signs everyone’s paychecks. The teachers will say money is more important than you. You can’t get help.
You’ve made it this far through hell. Don’t look anyone in the eyes and don’t speak unless spoken too. You will break down in tears because now the boys are sexually harassing you and it brings back the nightmares. But still no help.
13 year old Allison:
You move schools to a place where no one knows your name. You will feel relief but only till a group of girls start to bully you. Those girls don’t matter though because later on they will become so of your closest friends. What really matters is that at the end of the year there will be a boy who takes his junk out in science class and measures it to see how manly he is. He will blame you on telling even though you didn’t. He will tell you that he is going to make small but deep cuts on you after he beats you so you will feel pain and slowly bleed out. The nightmares will come back but now you have him and his “manhood” threatening to kill you after your aunt takes advantage of you. You start to cut.
14, 15, & 16 year old Allison:
You’re in high school. The first day will go okay until you run into him in the hallway and you have a panic attack. You will have a panic attack at least once a day and will end up with a few new cuts for every panic attack. The nightmares will start again and for every sleepless night you add a couple of new cuts. Your wrist will be stained red for awhile but that’s okay because you realize how poetic black is and you wear it almost every day.
17 year old (Present day) Allison:
You have stopped cutting and hopefully for good this time. You never see him at school anymore but that’s because he is in a different building now. You’re a senior in high school, have panic attacks, social anxiety, and migraines often. You are falling apart and you shouldn’t be. You’ve been through so much that you will be up one night at 12 writing this warning because the nightmares wont stop and you haven’t been able to sleep all week because of them.
Thanks to all the crap that has happened I don’t feel. The only time I ever feel anything truly is when I physical hurt myself or when I have the nightmares. Other than those times I don’t know what’s wrong with me. It’s not normal for a 17 year old girl to not feel emotions. I talk to my mom about all of this all the time; she just doesn’t know how bad all this actually is.
Am I the only one who feels this way? Am I the only 17 year old who questions life, God, death, and emotions?
4 years old, the boy,
Likes dinosaurs and legos
coloring things on white paper
he likes to draw butterflies and flowers
Tall, strong trees full of leaves
8 years old, the boy,
likes riding bikes and drawing;
Etching things on lined paper
Later he’ll use those lines for a story about
Tall, strong words full of meaning
12 years old, the boy,
likes drawing sunsets and waterfalls
The things he designs are “for girls”
He has to use his fists to defend himself
when he would rather use them to cradle a paintbrush
Like how his mom held him close
as he came home from school and yelled
“Mom! Michael didn’t hit me today!”
The other boys call him things
things that make him cry when he gets home
Tall, strong words full of meaning
14 years old, the boy,
Doesn’t really like anything anymore
He stays inside most of the time
and washes his hands frequently
because whenever the bullies had him on the ground
he noticed his hands were dusty; so he doesn’t like dust
He tries to be himself but that’s too hard now
No more words, half dead
Didn’t take art like he wanted to
Void of meaning
16 years old, the boy,
like music and poetry
and the solace of words
tall, strong beautiful words
He wants to be a musician someday
The other boys don’t like him, but that’s okay
Those times they pushed him around
Those times they made him cry
Later he’ll use those lines in his book he’s writing
He says he’s been growing the book for 17 years
From a small acorn
each page covered in those butterflies and flowers
He likes writing and he doesn’t care what people think of him
The book stands: a beacon
Tall, strong, a heretic in plain sight
And casting light on the darkness he feels
The book may not mean much to others
Like how you pass a thousand trees on your way to the grocery store
To pick up your 1,000th jug of milk
But to him it is tall, strong
and full of healing
This poem is about how bullying messes up your mindset and stops you from doing things you want to do. Sometimes it seems like the only thing you are is a victim, and there is nothing you can do to make that stop. Bullying is massive.
I’ve felt what it feels like to feel alone. I’ve felt what it feels like to feel unwanted. I’ve felt the pain of being judged. All thanks to you.
It all started in the beginning of seventh grade. I met this boy, in which at the time, was your boyfriend. You befriended me only to keep an “eye” on me. You told me, “You’re like my best friend”. You lied, repeatedly, all because of this one boy. I still remember the day when your friends texted me and told me to “back off” because you thought he was losing interest in you because of me. That’s when it began, when he “broke” your heart. I don’t know if I would’ve made it out alive, you tormented me to a point of disgust.
Everyday, you’d pass by only to call me names. You’ve called me absolutely everything one could think of. Ranging from a “slut”, to a “cry baby”. You wrote my name on walls and desks, commenting on how much of a “whore” I was. I hadn’t even had my first kiss yet. But you still kept on. Your parents supported you, babied you, all because they had no idea of who you really were, and still are. I was only 12, turning 13, but you kept consistent with your words. Only 12, and I was already thinking about suicide.
You made rumors, and pressed charges against the very person that you once “loved”. This remained until the end of eight grade. At this point, I was losing. I was losing myself, I was losing my aunt, and I was losing my parents. I cried in school because my aunt was dying from cancer, but you thought it was because of your words. That’s why I was a “cry baby”, to you. I still recall the day I messaged you on Facebook, and apologized, the same day she died. As if it was all my fault. My parents were getting a divorce, and you just kept on. Having no respect for anyone but yourself because you believe you’re the only one who deserves it. That’s a bully, that’s who you are.
The bullying subsided for about a year. We were “friends”, at least that’s what I believed. You asked for answers on the test, you asked me for help with your work. You pretended. It all started again in tenth grade, you came up to me about midway in the school year. Telling me to “keep my nose out of your business”. I was so confused, I don’t talk to any of her friends exactly for that reason. I’d never respect her, but I’d also never what to be part of her dramatic life. I was extremely unaware of what the situation was. I couldn’t stop shaking. That’s when I realized that I didn’t hate you, but despised you. Everything you were, everything you are. You traumatized me, you made me into this person full of anxiety, full of sadness. I wasn’t gonna let you win.
The next year came, I tried my best to ignore you in every possible way. The previous year, I had dated this boy, let’s just call him “Bunny”. I told everything to him, and he told me everything. We hurt in all the same ways, but he left for the summer, and we split. He knew about you, he said he’d “never date” you for what you did. But of course, that was a lie. The only person I connected to, you stole. You made him block me, exile me out of his life, and he probably hates me. That’s why I’m here now, you pass by me in the hallways, and call me a “slut”, while he’s holding your hand. All I say is “thanks”. Thank you for making me feel. I’ve felt. In which, is past tense, in which it means I won’t anymore. I’ve felt pain. But I now feel happiness. I’ve felt insufficient, but now I feel enough. I’ve felt disgusting.. But now I feel beautiful. All because of you.
I’m just really tired of it all. It’s been eating away at me for some time now. I can’t count all the times I’ve been harassed by boys and grown men. I don’t know one girl that hasn’t been sexually harassed at least once in her life. That’s pretty sad.
Sophomore year was one of the worst years of this. Two boys harassed me all year long saying disgusting things to me, touching me, poking me. One day one of them even stuck his hand up my skirt and pinched my ass! That was super fun. Later that year a different boy pushed me on the ground and stood over me jokingly saying “give me a blowjob.”
Junior year I didn’t have classes with the two boys anymore. But then the boy who had said “give me a blow job” later took it even further. I was at a party at his house, most everyone was already gone. It was me, him and his brother and my other friend who is a boy. The boy twisted my arm forcing me to the ground, next thing I know him and his brother start to dry hump me. His brother on my boobs, and him on my lower stomach. I was yelling stop. They didn’t care. And my friend didn’t do anything, he just stood there. And that really hurt.
They have finally stopped. It amazes me that boys think these things they do are okay. I just want it to stop. But the really sad thing is, I feel like I deserve it.
You have broken my heart;
you have cut me to the bone;
you have stabbed me in the back;
you have endangered my children;
you have stolen from me;
you have threatened to kill me and it seems every time we talk you spew out nothing but lies.
I failed you. As the person who brought you into this world, it was my convoluted job to make you appropriate for society.
If you had been an only child, would it have been different? If you had been an only child, would I have given you more leeway so I did not sacrifice your siblings humiliation, safety and discontent?
We moved for you. It was the area, the neighborhood, the school, the doctors. I did everything and gave all in hope that the problem wasn’t really you.
Doctors, therapists, counselors, hospitals; things a mother should never have to say about her child, I said.
In the end, I failed you.
For many years, I was a mighty warrior set out to ensure your health and happiness, but you broke my spirit and I gave up. I want so badly to let you in, but the price is so high and I am emotionally bankrupt.
You deserved a stronger mother, one who could stay in the fight, one who could be more understanding, one who could battle for more than 19 years. I am so sorry you ended up with me, who tried to make you fit in a cookie-cutter mold. I still have no clue what kind of mom could have helped you.
It wasn’t me.
I battled uphill to mend my broken life while trying to protect yours. The spiraling, all-consuming, soul-sucking, constantly being kicked and punched, that was all beyond me.
I’m sorry I am so broken and weak that I can’t afford to be hurt again. Everyone in your world has disconnected over the years in the simple and often subconscious act of self-preservation. But in everyone’s life, there should be at least one constant, one person you know will always be there. You don’t even have that.
I hurt you.
I insulted you.
I embarrassed you.
I punished you.
I hospitalized you.
I let you down.
I lied to you.
I threatened you.
I had you arrested.
I closed my door to you.
I laughed at you.
I walked away….
I didn’t ever deserve you, and you certainly didn’t deserve me.
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.