- Posted October 21, 2013 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Bullying awareness: Your story
People looked for the most humiliating things to hurt me. So they called me “Fem”, “fag”, and other such names. My name would be written on walls and books with demeaning comments. My clothes were never the cool ones, and I was a target for bigger kids that wanted to beat me up. After class one older kid in particular would hit me in the stomach after Spanish class. The bus was a torment because my friends in the neighborhood mostly shunned me, and others loudly harassed me. Sometimes they just tolerated me and I got to tag along. I was a pariah.
This lasted for years. I stayed home from school and feigned being sick. One time a rumor started that I had died in a car wreck. It was so widely spread that one of my grandfather’s clients called long distance to offer condolences. When I returned to school, people told me they wished I had died. Halloween was a war. One big dumb kid always wanted to beat me up was throwing water balloons at me. As I escaped into the house, a water-balloon went through the front door. My father came unglued and chased and pushed the kid that did this to me. Fights were arranged for me with others that were similarly tormented. I was scared to hit someone though and to be hit. Even though my older friend taught me to fight, I was still afraid.
There a few things that helped me survive. I loved hunting and hiking in the hills. I would wander for miles in California’s rolling hills climbing trees and loving the solitude and beauty. I worked to become the best I could at sports. I was not a natural athlete, but I worked very hard to develop skill an all sports. And I was smart. I didn’t know it then. In fact I felt stupid. But within me intelligence was a strength that pushed me forward, often subliminally.
I dealt with the pain by working hard to please people that abused me. It was a very painful time in my life. There were no adults that understood. The school counselor was uninterested and told me I would be fine and grow up to be like my father. AHHHHH! Didn’t help. I grew up on my own and became my own person. I had no other choice, because I was alone. It allowed me to choose my path in life rather than the one laid before me by my family and community.
In various ways I have dealt with post traumatic stress all my adult life. I suffered as a teenager and the wounds never fully healed. I am a retired school counselor and worked hard to help others who were bullied and to affect systems that were insensitive to the needs of the individual. It was my calling. I worked hard to make a difference. But I’ve never fully healed from the trauma of my young teenage life.I still wear the indelible ink from almost 50 years ago: 417.