“Thanks,” my little sister would say and kiss me on the cheek as she skipped away with the lunch money she needed that day.
“Dyke,” I would hear behind me and by now I didn’t even bother with it anymore.
This wasn’t even one of the worst things I’d been called in 3 years. 3 years; of bullying, taunting, teasing, and even a few threats along my way. Yes I’d gotten better but it hadn’t ended and the ‘dyke’ comment was as stupid to me as all those principals were when they said it was middle school and everyone got bullied. It didn’t make a difference because it still hurt even though over the years I’ve grown a tougher skin but that wasn’t the beginning, just the end.
In my 6th grade year towards the end around May, I’d had a run in with some of the kids in my school. I was in the school lunch line when I had a water bottle thrown at me and I asked her not to throw it again. The girl then proceeded to tell me she had not thrown it at me, but in fact had dropped it and the bottle had it me. Now I was standing at least 3 or 4 feet away and the water bottle had hit me around my knee area. It obviously wasn’t plausible that the water bottle had just dropped and hit me. Now I can’t remember what exactly was said and done, neither could I tell you it was all her fault. Not only did she say some things she shouldn’t have and threatened me a couple of times but I had also yelled back, not making the situation any better. I do however remember going paying for my lunch and walking out to find not the 2 of them standing there but now 3 standing there waiting for me outside the lunch line. I wasn’t exactly scared but I knew that if they came after me I wouldn’t stand a chance. So instead I went over to my lunch table and sat down. Then, instead of dropping it like they should have even after I clearly stated I didn’t want them to be there and telling my friends at my table to leave them be, they proceeded to fight with me . This wasn’t just the 3 of them though, no, her whole table, 6 or 7 people had proceeded to come over and start yelling at us. Overwhelmed as the teacher came over I broke down into tears unable to think of anything else to do anymore. The teacher took my out of the lunch room and not only when I came back they were still glaring at me, but my best friend Sarah was in tears after they came after her! I was completely in awe that the four lunch attendants had failed to do anything after all this had gone on. Not only did those kids not get in any trouble even after they threatened to hurt me, but all they were forced to do was apologize like we were in 3rd grade and they’d said I had cooties. I was not only angry but hurt that they would do absolutely nothing. But this as I would later learn, was just the tip of the iceberg.
Not but two weeks later I would meet with one of my biggest problems through out all of middle school years; Annie. We were standing in the lunch room and I had on a shirt that I had made. I can’t remember what it said for the life of me but the comment she made was crystal clear. She insulted my shirt and then said you had to put parenthesis on the sentence. I, a little mad and not thinking straight, told her that you didn’t put parenthesis on a sentence but around sentences. Again, words exchanged and I probably didn’t help the situation, but afterwards I had no clue I’d made myself a bigger enemy than I’d be able to deal with. All I knew was school ended in 2 weeks, my friend said my comebacks were ‘cool and original’ and that she would never have come up with what I said, and that it was a thing of the past to me but as always your past comes back to haunt me and mine kicked my butt.
The start of 7th grade started out like any other. I didn’t mind going but didn’t exactly want to and walked in with new clothes, a new backpack, and of course school supplies, more specifically art supplies. You see I’m an artist and to pay attention a lot of the time I’ll doodle and listen to someone at the same time. I can concentrate better. It couldn’t have been that far into school but I’d been called a couple of names and had decided I didn’t want to go to school. I came up with every excuse in the book so the only period I would have to attend was my special during 7th and chorus which was 8th and then I could leave to go home. But after a while I ran out excuses and had to go and just like I’d predicted earlier, the day was hell. In gym class I got stuck with all the popular girls while changing. I still to this day don’t know what I did to make her angry but soon words were being thrown around back and forth with Annie even though, I would have rather just been left alone. She called me a slut, and fat, told me I was a freak and all sorts of crap while the other girls either stared or joined in. I’m not the slimmest girl and a little over weight but also am healthy and it doesn’t effect anything that badly. That was the last straw. I’d cried when I got out and went to guidance. My councilor said she’d talk to Annie. My normal councilor hadn’t been in, being on maternity leave, but I figured my new councilor couldn’t be that bad. So I left praying that everything would be fine, but instead of getting better it just got worse. Annie got talked to, but not punished and I’d gotten made fun of even worse than before. Now in addition to not wanting to go to school so I didn’t have to see Annie, I was throwing fits so that I wouldn’t be brought back. My mom had a hell of a time getting me there and an even harder time leaving without me. My usually A/B average slipped down to a B/C average and later a C/D average. I was a total wreck. I was flipping out every day and wouldn’t go to school. When I showed up to class I was unhappy and on edge. I was scared and broken. All I heard anytime I did anything was all the names people called me. Freak, Weird, Fat, Slut, Ugly, Stupid, Bitch, Emo, Dyke; all of that was all I heard in my head and it started to take over me. I started going to impact (a room for people with special problems in isolation and also used as the ISS room) everyday refusing to show up to class so my classmates never saw me. I refused to show up even at my favorite class, science, anymore for fear of Annie who was in all classes but my 1st period math, 7th period special and 8th period chorus. They tried to get me to attend classes but was so scared I refused. They were tearing me apart with nothing I could do about it. I told my counselor, my teachers, my student principals, my principals, and anyone else I could think of but nothing would help. My mom tried everything she could but nothing would work. Finally I couldn’t take it anymore. Starting one week I started taking 2 Advil a day. For my headache and so I could sleep the day away. Then when that wasn’t enough, I took 3 and finally when I couldn’t stand it anymore, I almost took the whole bottle. Scared and unsure of what to do, I did the only thing I could do. I went upstairs crying and told my mom. It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do. I got counceiling. Tom was a big help but still the pain and all of the chaos was there. Things had gotten progressively worse and my normally helpful, happy, and awake personality was gone. When I looked in the mirror I didn’t even know who I was anymore. There looking back at me was a tired, drained, sad, and angry little girl who was lost, confused, unsure of what to do. It was me after what they’d done to me.
On February 15th, my mom’s birthday I went to school just so she could start out her day good. But then around 3rd period communications everything went down hill. My teacher asked me for an assignment I obviously hadn’t done, because I’d rarely even been in the class because Annie was in it. When I told him that I didn’t have it he wanted to know why. I didn’t know how to tell him it was because I’d been taking 2 Advil a day to keep sleeping, so I kept my mouth shut. Instead of dropping the subject or taking me out into the hall to discuss it he, knowing what had been happening, started yelling at me. Calling me deaf and asking if I was deaf or mute. I saw all those kids smirks and I snapped. I got up, slammed my chair into the desk and walked out of the classroom and out the main entrance doors without my stuff, in tears. I walked down to the Sunoco where I’d planned to call my mom and gave her the surprise of the lifetime when she saw me while she was waiting at the stoplight. She picked me up and asked me what the hell I’d been doing, no coat, in tears walking to the Sunoco. I explained to her while I cried more and she drove back to the school and gave them a scare they’d never forget. She threatened to sue, screamed, yelled and got the whole staff running around. When I got home, I was so tired and so done, I didn’t know what to do anymore. I just wanted to die. Then I met a friend, who would guide me and help get me back to the place I needed to be. Jessica, a girl I’d met while on my favorite website, talked to me, gave me advice about my writing, and put me in a much better place. I got a place where I could finally fit in and not be afraid. I was saved. I got new friends after some old ones left and got my life back and when summer finally came I was a new person, stronger, better, maybe not as happy but I’d accepted that I’d never be able to go back to where I’d been before all of this.
Now in 8th grade Annie was only in one class, I lost new friends but gained even more friends than I’d ever had and I’d only had one bad run in. On Halloween, of all days I went to school dressed up as the devil. I was in dark black makeup that was big, dark, and yes, by the end of the day while I was in chorus was smeared pretty bad. I didn’t think anything of it until some girl asked me if I got my makeup done at pep boys, but I didn’t let that be to big of a deal, I was happy and besides I didn’t have time for her. It was going to all be okay from here on in. Or so I thought. Later that year my dad would stop seeing me. I knew it was bound to happen. Over the years my dad had been seeing us less and less, I just didn’t think it was going to hurt as much as it did. I got mad, angry, I was sad, and the grades I used to have vanished. Nothing was working out and I wasn’t sure anymore. On Easter of 2012 for the second time I told my mom I wanted to kill myself. Things got better after that. Now I’m pretty happy, and I’ve once again accepted I’ll never be in the bliss of not knowing what’s going on around me, and that I’d never be the same, and that yes, things were never going to be easy, but I learned some of my most important lessons from all the bad things that happened to me. We are like sharks, we have to keep swimming or we drown or in other words, if you stay in the past, you’ll waste you’re life. I’ve learned to love what you have, because one day you might not have it and that yes life is hard, but if it wasn’t you’d miss out on all the fun of it. If I’d chosen the easy path and gone into homeschooling, I would have missed out on all my field trips, my science, art, and so many other things I loved and still love. I would have missed out on my life and that would have been the true tragedy.