Elementary school was my nightmare. My parents moved around constantly, which meant I had to adjust to a new school and a new life every couple of years or so. For that reason, I found it hard to make friends. It didn't also exactly help that my biological father was an insanely jealous man who didn't want me or my mother to have any friends. Kids were not allowed to come to my house, for example.
So here I am, stuck in my own little world. At all the schools I went to, they made a point of teasing the smart kids. Couple that with being the new kid, and it was really a challenge to get anyone to bother with me. And being fat on top of it wasn't exactly a picnic too.
I had a few girls I was friends with in third grade. We sat together, and we stuck together. I was put in a class for behaviourly challenged third graders, so everyone in the normal classes would tease us. So it was a double-edge sword. For part of my life, I was a "retard", and for the rest of my school years, I was a "geek". But then I lost those friends too after a while, then the word "lezzie" popped up. I didn't figure it out until I got older. So I left with Lance, my other friend and another "outcast", if you will.
Now, stick a fat kid with very little social skills in junior high. My mother took me and left my abusive father...only to end up with an abusive aunt. She was no different then the kids at school. From junior high on up until graduation day, I got teased at school and at home. If I wasn't fat, I was a geek. If I wasn't a geek, I was a dyke. It never would end. And to make matters worse, I was a mixed race kid who spoke proper English, so a good number of the Black kids didn't like me. So I ended up hanging out with two or three girls, whom were geeks like myself, and a group of four or five guys who were underground sort of geeks (the type of guys who knew how to make explosives) or theater crew boys, or band geeks. All of them white, which pissed the Black kids off even more. I could never win.
I remember one group of girls who used to live next door to me when I lived near the projects. Insolent group they were. The minute I passed their table, I'd hear a rowdy round of laughter where there was silence before. I heard it from every camp it seemed. "Nigger". "Oreo". "High yellow bitch". "Geek". "Lesbo". "Dyke". "Freak". "Whore". "Stupid Black Bitch". Of course, I had starved myself down to a size 8 or 10, so they couldn't call me "fat" anymore. I practically danced on graduation day, because that meant the torment was OVER.
Now I'm grown, and I still occasionally hear bout kids I went to school with. I laugh at their misfortunes now. One girl overdosed. Another has three kids and works at a filing station. One of the girls from that lunch table I passed each day, she is in prison. And one of my male bullies is rumoured to have AIDS. And why not? Anyone who endorses that sort of cruelty I went through deserves every bit of what they get. But it's a big ball of pain I carry, and along with the burdens I carry for past physical, emotional, and sexual abuse at home, I know I have a long journey ahead of me.
While I may not have bought machine guns and killed 25 of my classmates, I think I understand some of why they did it. It still bothers me that they killed Black kids too, because it reminds me that my own life breath may be shortened in that manner. But I understand it.
When are schools going to be safe, and when will adults stop carefully teaching kids how to hate? When will we stop passing on messages that it's not okay to be different, and that it's ok to bully and torment someone who's considered a freak? This kind of school bullying is what makes fat kids, gay kids, and geeks KILL THEMSELVES! I heard tell of a 14 year olf boy who shot himself in the head because other kids bullied him for being fat. He was a bright kid and in the school band. He had so much going for him. And what about Matthew Shephard? He may not have been in high school, but it was the high school bully mentality of "get the faggot" that contributed to his death...and it stems from the same sort of mentality that drives people to strike out at anyone different.
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