This entire week, my posts have been split into parts, each with a different topic about bullying. Today and tomorrow, my posts will be split up again. I guess you could call it part four and part four and a half, because my story is too long to put into one post.
Honestly, I am scared shitless about posting this. I don't like talking about it. I don't like thinking about it. It's just a really scary and hard topic to discuss with anyone and now I'm putting it out there for the entire world to see (or at least, my 23 readers). If you don't want to write a post and open up because of that, trust me, I completely understand, but the best way to make a difference is to talk about it. If you do want to write a post, and I encourage you to, please please please email me the links at firstname.lastname@example.org so that I can post the links with full credit on a new post and page on Saturday.
Before I go any further, I would just like to state that I'm not doing this for sympathy or attention for myself and I really don't want pity or sorrow or anything like that. The best thing you can do, if you want to make me feel better, is to write a post and let me link up with it so we can potentially help more people. That's all I want out of this.
I don't even remember a lot of my childhood. I have a lot of blocked memories and sometimes things will trigger them. Things can get pretty bad when that happens. My emotions are at their worst when my mind starts to wander, especially if I've had a bad day or if something happened to make me start thinking about it.
I've mentioned before, in older posts, that I have psoriasis. That's a skin condition where your body makes too many skin cells so they over lap and become very dry and irritated. I don't even have it that bad. It's on my scalp, so my hair hides it. On bad days, it'll try to go on my ears and my face. My left ear had a piercing in the cartilage when I was thirteen. Skin over grew it in one night, about a month after I got it, and it got infection so it was removed.
When I was little, we didn't know what it was. We didn't know that lotion, certain soaps, or my nails scrubbing my scalp could keep it under control. This was long before I discovered hair dye. My face was always dry because we just didn't know what to do and I never gave it a second thought until people started saying things. I was probably only in pre-k when I first remember it but it continued until I was in fourth grade.
"What's that stuff on your face?" "Ew, you have something on your face." "Don't you wash your face? What is that stuff?"
Every. Single. Day.
The worst part was, it wasn't just kids that would say things like that. Teenagers would ask me if they were with their little siblings. Parents would ask me. Even staff may have asked me, but I can't be sure about that. What I did know, was that they were adults. I even had hair salons turn me away when I was in elementary school because they thought I would give it to their customers or something.
Eventually, a doctor told me what it was and to use certain medicated shampoos. I actually became immune to them. I would use about two or three bottles and then they would just stop working and it would all start right back up. My 'cousins' used to love playing with hair and they would beg me to play with my hair when I was little, because it was such an unusual blond, but I was literally ashamed to tell them because of all of the verbal abuse. To this day, they think it was because my scalp was too sensitive and the brush would hurt me, even though I absolutely love people playing with my hair.
Now, I scrub my face with a soap that has little beads in it with wash rags, so people won't see it. A lot of times, that causes my face to look red or pink. I'm already really pale so that's easy enough to notice. If I see a little patch of dry skin after applying part of my make up, I have to repeat the process and that makes the redness worse. Wanna guess who comments on it? Everyone. I use my nails to scrub my scalp and then overload conditioner, which I let sit for at least five minutes. Sometimes, there's still a little 'dandruff'. Wanna guess who comments on it? Everyone who sees it.
You're probably thinking that it's just a medical condition and I shouldn't be ashamed or self conscious because I can't help it. I'm fully aware of that. But I can't help it. If I'm having a bad day with it, that's all I can think about. Last night, at work, the manager tried to tell me I had an eyelash on my face and I freaked out because I thought I had noticeable dry skin there.
Moving on to a different subject, friends can be as big of bullies as the best you scream at every day. I used to have a friend like that. We met in the fourth grade and were only friends until a couple weeks into fifth grade, when I made a real friend and I finally understood that I didn't have to be treated like crap by somebody who was supposed to care.
This story is actually really unpleasant to talk about even though its far from the worst thing to happen and I'm going to say this now: If you actually know me, don't bring it up. Just don't. This is the only time I plan on talking about it.
In fourth grade, I had a crush on a kid in my class. I decided to tell my friend during a field trip when we were allowed to talk, because that's what I thought you were supposed to do. Within five minutes, she had told somebody else, who then went and told the boy's friends, who then literally screamed it for the entire fourth grade (roughly 120 students, plus staff) to hear. That was how he found out. He never spoke to me again and wouldn't even be caught dead on the same side of the classroom as me.
At the end of the school year, the girl and I were still friends. To this day, I don't know why. I guess it was she was the only person who didn't shun me after that, even though she caused it. Her family would take me to church on Sundays so she called me to talk about it the day before. I never saw the movie The Ring until I was fifteen or sixteen. I never knew about the "You will die in seven days" quote until school started back up. While we were on the phone, she went dead silent in the middle of a conversation. When I asked if she was still there, she whispered it and sort of deepened her voice so I couldn't tell it was her. Then she hung up. I literally thought I was going to die seven days later.
The first day of fifth grade, in science class, we had to fill out work sheets in a group of two or three students that you didn't know. It was basically to help you make friends by getting to know each other. You had to write your name, your favorite song, your favorite movie, that sort of thing. The teacher partnered me with a girl I had never met. Every time I answered a question, she would scoff because I didn't like the same movies as her. To be likable, in her book, I had to love romance movies, rap music, and leaning over so that my bra could be seen by everyone in the room (I'm not kidding. She did that.). That was the start.
The entire year, that girl had two girls she was friends with and three boys. They made it their personal goal to harass me. I never once saw them harassing anyone else. If they could say something nasty about me, they said it. If they could tell on me for something, they would, whether I had done it or not. They would follow my two or three friends and I around during recess, so maybe they could over hear some sort of rumor to spread, since that was their biggest weapon.
They even tried to make me relive what happened in fourth grade, since one of the girls was there when it happened. In math class (you won't believe this, but that was my favorite class that year, because I loved my teacher- only time I ever enjoyed math), the boys started calling my name and whistling at me and if I turned around, they would wink or blow a kiss or things like that. We had free time at the end of the class so the girls ganged up on me and demanded to know which boy I liked and when I said I didn't like any of them, they demanded to know if I was a lesbian.
I literally went home crying every night because of everything they did to me. They had me convinced that I was ugly, that I was stupid, that I would never be good enough, that nobody loved me or cared what happened to me. My emotions were so out of control, that things almost got physical with my mom because of my actions, the only person who wanted to comfort me. If everyone else wanted to hurt me and thought badly, surely she would too. It would only be a matter of time before she would have turned on me too and it would be easier to just be a bitch so it wouldn't hurt as much.
Sixth grade involved moving to a new state, where I live now. I met a friend, who to this day, I honestly believe saved my life because I was going downhill so fast. A lot of people in that school thought of me as an outcast but people weren't usually straight out mean, at least not to me. I watched one really sweet kid get bullied because he was gay. I ran into him when I was sixteen and he was a recovering drug addict because of what the kids put him though. I never stood up for him, even though I wasn't mean to him, and I regret it to this day. Maybe I could have helped him like my friend saved me.
Many of you know that I do not have a good relationship with my dad. He didn't know we moved because we were still getting settled in. He was overseas and my mom had full custody anyways, so he didn't get a say. He found out we moved, called on the cell phone, and started screaming at me to the point my mom heard things clearly through the phone. He called me a liar, accused me of not loving him, threatened to have me taken away from Mom, threatened to have her put in jail. Lots of foul words were involved. I cried for an hour. My dad finally decided to pay attention to me and even he was bullying me.
This is where I end the first part of this post. The second will be up tomorrow. A lot of you may think that what I went through wasn't bullying or wasn't that bad. Things could have been a lot worse and they did get worse. The thing is, even words can hurt you so deeply that you'll never get over it. Don't point out somebody's flaw. Give them a fucking compliment instead. Don't try to make them relive something horrible or make them go through something bad instead. Stand up for the kid who's being bullied so they don't end up doing something that could ruin their lives.
**Due to news stories talking about people going overboard, trying to stop bulling, I feel the need to put a disclaimer here. I do NOT encourage, endorse, or support anyone doing anything illegal, harmful, criminal, violent, or dangerous activity. This is about stopping people from being hurt. This is NOT about hurting anyone in any way, shape, or form. Any links involving anyone going over the top and handling things inappropriately will not be posted on my blog, Twitter, or anywhere else by myself. If I find a link that involves anything inappropriate, I will delete it, and if possible, I will report it. Also, I am not an expert on this matter. I have included the links to the sources I got my information from and give full credit to whoever did the actual research, that I am using here.**