I just wrote a rant about how this country is boycotting Arizona and it made me think about my school days. Those are days I don’t think about often, but it just occured to me that bullying in school most definitely affected my mental health way back then and even into my adult years. I don’t think I’ve written about it much here, maybe in a ‘my story’ post, but I don’t feel like hunting.
When I started sixth grade, it all went down hill. I grew up in a part of town and in a school district where white was the minority. It didn’t matter in elementary school. I had lots of friends. But something changed when I got to sixth grade. The people who were my friends suddenly hated me because of the color of my skin.
I faced the usual taunts. I didn’t wear the right labels, didn’t wear Nike shoes and Guess jeans. I didn’t have cold jewlery dripping from every part of me. My hair was straight. I think every kid goes through that, but the other taunts I faced had be suicidal in seventh grade. At the time I didn’t realize what it was, wanting to die rather than go to school.
I was constantly called f*cking white b*tch. There was always swearing about white people. I was a good kid, I got good grades and I was hated for that too.
My mom had to talk to the principal of the school because I was begging her to let me shave my legs because all the other girls did and they made fun of me for it.
For some reason, middle school was the worst. The kids were just awful. A girl tried to pick a fight with me one day and I asked her why she hated me so much. She said, “because of what your ancestors did to mine”. So obviously the kids were being taught to hate us by their parents.
By the time I got to high school, I was finally just ignored. I bonded with the other white kids and we called ourselves “the freaks”. We wore goth clothes and listened to metal and a lot of the kids got into drugs and drinking.
I feel lucky that I got out of all that fairly unscathed. But I made the decision way back then not to have kids. Maybe that’s something I took with me from that experience, I don’t know.
I ended up doing a lot of work on those days when I got sober and then even more in therapy. I think back on those days and how miserable I was. How scared I was to go to school. I’m so lucky that I didn’t end up blowing up the school…or killing myself as so many kids are doing today.
I have to say I understood the kids at Columbine. I understood them. That’s sad, and I’m not saying I condone that kind of thing, but I understand it.
I guess I just wanted to talk about how bullying affects a kid’s mental health. If your kid is a bully, do something. And don’t teach your kids racist bull.
I really struggled with my decision not to have children. I almost felt obligated because I knew I’d be a good parent. At my high school we had a class you could take to learn about child care, and the kids you took care of were kids of your classmate’s so they could attend school. Wow. I used to think I had better marry and have children when I grew up so there would be good parents out there. But then I couldn’t stand the thought of having a child and having them go through what I went through.
Even now as I’m writing all this, the old rage is building up. I had better stop, drink some coffee, and play with my dog.