Virgo (virgo186) wrote,

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Entry 417 - Growing Up

Before we begin, the link that inspired this:

That's basically background material: though not mine, it's definitely a reminder of my own childhood. The OP is right, kids can be cruel and it's really not fair to be treated like "meat" or anything else.

I remember suffering through square dancing in middle school. Three straight years, in fact, because the school did that for each year. Same thing with no real changes. Granted, I wasn't a fat kid, but I was shy and nerdy, and people thought I was strange.

I was different, and the other kids didn't like that very much. I was a bully target. The boys would purposely screw up the dancing just so they wouldn't have to touch me or hold hands with me or anything. When people came to study halls for extra dancers (some classes were short on people, so study halls allowed kids to volunteer as extra dancers), I wouldn't offer. I hated doing it in my own class, why should I leave myself open for it willingly?

In grade school, during stuff like dodgeball, the boys would either try to rush me and push me down, or they would purposely aim for my face. Even when I wasn't playing (age 6 I had an accident and required a permanent tooth put back in my jaw), the bullies would still attempt to make me cry by getting me hurt. I hated it.

The schoolbus rides? I tried to avoid them as I got older. I hated having to deal with the bullies there, so I tried to "miss" the bus as many times as possible.

My first year of middle school, I thought would be fine. Shiny new locker, new classes, new teachers. However, the bullies from grade school were also there, and much bigger. I had a locker a little ways down the hall from my homeroom (next to a resource room-type place, and I was chatty with the teachers there) and I loved it.

There was a problem, though. A bully who had a locker near mine would purposely close it while I was getting items (or putting them in) and I would miss my bus over and over. My teacher got involved and kept him in until I left, but it took a while to get that set up.

Said bully was a walker with no rush to leave, hence why she kept him in.

I failed my 8th grade year for multiple reasons (being the 99-00 year, people should know one big one). Given the choice between repeating it there or going across town for "alt ed," I chose the latter.

I knew two people there, and they were friends from my other school. We got a little white bus that came to get us and drop us off.

I liked the other school because nobody knew me. I could start a new chapter and hopefully make new friends. Sure, there were some problems at first (Carlin, you remember the cafeteria scene, right...?), but I settled in and loved it.

Then, I got to high school. My new friends followed (well, the ones who were in my grade), and though we didn't have many classes together, we still found time to meet up and hang out. I knew the others would be there next year.

By my sophomore year, the others had arrived. Another problem, though: they had gotten even closer with that one year apart, and I suddenly felt even more like an outsider. I tried to shrug it off, though, and things slowly crept along.

By junior year, I was alienated by the people I had originally called friends. The ones in my grade level had moved on to different groups and classes, and the ones that had "adopted" me into their circle began to pull away from me. I wondered what I had done, and then realized something...

...they were pulling away because I wasn't a shy little kitten anymore. I was growing up and becoming my own person.

They didn't like the idea of me not being their willing playtoy anymore.

I met up with an old friend from grade school during that year, and with his help, I managed to tell the rest of the circle something.

I was sick and tired of their crap, and I refused to take it anymore. I no longer liked being alienated for every little thing while they were instantly forgiven, time after time. I don't enjoy being told that they're "ashamed to be seen with me" because I didn't dress "trendy" enough for their tastes. Friends don't say that to people they consider friends.

Needless to say, I pretty much told them off and left. Started meeting in the cafeteria with people I enjoyed the company of.

I also started wearing jeans by then. I'll change my wardrobe when I want to, bitches. >(

By senior year, I had my own group, and we were plotting a game. I had no real problems with any of the old bullies (they had graduated by then, but some apologized and we actually became friends! I have some of their signatures in my yearbook...), and the old "circle" was collapsing in on itself. It split apart after I left, though.

I managed to pull myself together and make my 22 credits. I graduated. I earned my freedom, and I enjoy it.

Their "circle" is down to about two people now, out of about four or five.

Each time I see news articles about bullied kids shooting up their schools, I wince because I was once a bully target, and we might be getting looked at strangely now, as if we might do the same thing. If not us, then the next generation of targets.

I don't think I'd wish it on anyone. It's not a good way to grow up, having to look behind you or around every corner before you try to go anywhere, in case a bully might be watching for you.

See the blue banner in my userinfo? It's connected.

And to the people who suggest ignoring the bully until they get bored and give up, or support just walking away? Those don't work. Either the bully enjoys tormenting without reaction and never gives up because they think the target enjoys it, or they follow said target forever. Sometimes telling an adult only adds to the bullying.

In conclusion? Life sucks. Being a kid sucks, and growing up sucks. Sometimes the targets survive, and sometmes they don't. Some just give up because they don't think it will ever get better. Others tune it out and try to forget about it.

Embrace who you are, and good luck.

Expect another entry soon.

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