Drowning In The Wild
‘Tiptoing through the darkness, the scent of fear attatched to every footstep,The crunch of freshly cut grass is awakening, the soft bubble of water rivluts trickling, Gliding through spring and summer, echoes are lost in the shadows of time, Lilting whispers like an ancient lullaby, frozen in the moment-you fall, Fresh water lake guzzling at the flesh of the young, sustained by sacrificed youth,I’m drowning in the wild, the scythe of death has come’
Chapter Two Bullying
I was drowning in the wilderness left to suffocate under the weight of life. Jeers and laughter were my only greeting and my tears would induce more hellish torment from the people I called my friends. What was wrong with me, was I really that awful to deserve all this hatred. Like a magnet the bullies would come running talking behind my back, whispering in cliques that I was not part of. I remember my first day at secondary ‘H’ told me to sit down next to her and we became best of friends. Or so I thought, the group that we had formed made my years at secondary a living hell and when I finally questioned years later why the swift answer was ‘because you were a pushover’ blaming me for ‘creating’ my own suffering.
It was just over a month when the bullying began, I was teased for being too slim, too unattractive, too studious and too different. When I first wore a bra everybody laughed at me ‘ you don’t need them you look too anorexic’ or ‘you have nothing there’. It is granted that I was and am still not busty but it was part of my identity as a teenager as I wanted to feel more womanly. I wore my bra with shame well aware that my classmates were whispering behind my back. Walking into PE was a nightmare, noone wanted to pair up with me and the shame would leave me in bouts of tears. Before each lesson I used to beg my so-called friends to go with me and they would make excuses ‘Oh I promised ‘C’ that I would go with her’ or ‘ok’ and then change their mind at the last minute leaving me sad and confused.
We were a group of about nine and I was always the odd one out, when it came to lunch I would be left on the opposite side because their ‘was no more space’ left for me. When they went to the toliet they would all go together leaving me twiddling my thumbs and wishing that the ground would swallow me whole. I was paranoid that everyone was looking at me, thinking what a freak I was. I began a friendship with a girl called ‘S’ who had severe mental health issues although I did know that at the time.It was my foster mother when I brought ‘S’ over who realized that there was something up and sure enough a week later she was detained for trying to kill her mum. I was shocked that this person who I had called my friend was severely ill and hoped that she would get the help that she needed.
I had lost my one true friendship in the school so I had to come crawling back to the group that I was in, hoping that by being in a group it would look like I had friends. Now I said some things that were not true in order to win their friendship and I am ashamed of myself for the lies that I had spun but I just wanted friends to call my own. Was that really too much to ask for? I took on a persona to protect myself and created a bravado that I did not feel. The years passed each worst than the last, I was teased relentlessly and called names when I was walking through corridors it was awful. I felt like I had entered the gates of hell and my punishment was eternal fire, burning away my identity.
Walking to class all eyes would be on mine, I felt paranoid convinced that they were whispering behind my back. It turns out my paranoia was justified, hate groups against me had been set up on social media platforms – which I was not allowed until I was 18 due to protecting my identity- listing all the things that were wrong with me, laughing about me on Twitter and Facebook. People who were nice to my face were using social media to write mean statuses about me and a few even spread rumours and lies claiming that I was sending them explicit photos when I wasn’t. What did they have to gain about misrepresenting me? Was it to hide their own insecurities, that the names they called me, the things that they did to me were all thoughts they were told about themselves. I will never know but the bullying got progressively worse.
I was made fun of the way I dressed, the shoes that I wore and even because I was in care. I remember being told ‘no wonder noone loves you, look at you, you are ugly’. It broke my heart, it was a sentiment that has haunted me throughout my teenage years. I know I will be second best, second loved and is a fact that I accept with certaintity. What I don’t accept is that noone loves me because I know that it is not true. I have family and friends who still love me for who I am and would never try to change me. But the bullies didn’t care, they were relentless in their mission to take all that I held dear to me. My friends would giggle among themselves as they destroyed homework, sending me death threats pretending to be other people, deleting my work in the process, throwing my property in the bin and laughing at me when I ran to get it.
Being at secondary school was hell, I had no one to turn to and not even the school was supporting me through the bullying. I was manipulated. mistreated and abused beyond recognition but still I remained strong. Wiping away furious tears I would attempt to carry on education as normal but I couldn’t. Sometimes I would spend lunches eating in the bathrooms too scared of what they might do to hurt me. I started rebelling against the system, cutting school when I knew there was no lesson plan to keep me safe from the shame and the embarrasment of being a ‘loner’. I am not a loner by nature but for some reason I was regarded as a disease, a fly to be swatted in irritation.
But I got through it, no matter how many times they hurt you pick yourself up and start again…
Coming up next week Bullying Part II
Photography: Jumanna Khanom
Shirt: Miss Pap
Shoes & Bag: Primark