Dagger in the Back by the System

Back findingAs an artistic, intelligent child, far older than my years, I was never a popular girl.  At my first school, waves of popularity came and went like the tide.  Therein, old friendships existed based on time served more than mutual interest; mainly, we had all been together since we first entered school and thought we’d always grow up with one another.  Then, I moved away.

Before I moved, I had the position I like to call “Story Teller”.  Or, in geekier parlance, Game Master.  I created the universe and basic plot that we’d play out in our recess breaks.  My games were popular because they utilized the entire school grounds.  I relished that role and enjoyed the company, but honestly, I didn’t care if I had anyone playing along.  I’d play off on my own in my little world, writing out loud as I now write novels and short stories.  Granted, I was “That Strange Little Girl”, however,  I was, at least, their strange little girl.

When I moved away, I was still “That Strange Little Girl” but without the familiarity.  I was far more naive than my fellow classmates at my new school.  I left a school where we’d play kissing tag like being caught was a bad thing and started at a school that had make-out parties in Grade Four, complete with some pretty damn heavy petting.  The bullying I suffered at that school was intense and to my mind now, as an adult, unreal.  In fact, some of the bullying was plotted months in advance.  I sit back and describe some of the things I went through and I see the people blanch.  The question I’m often asked is “And where were the teachers during all this?”

Damn good question.

I could give, quite easily, an account–a play-by-play, if you will–of the years I spent in that school. By the theory of relativity, they seem much longer than they were.  Each school year was broken into three terms, and in my mind, each term seems like it was at least a year long in and of itself.

Where recesses had once been my joy, they became my terror.  My new school hosted classes from kindergarten to grade eight, unlike my previous school that only went to grade six.  For all that it served two extra grades, my new school was smaller than my old one, all things considered. This basically meant that the “senior grades” didn’t have the run of the school grounds like they had had at my other school, so I was basically trapped in a smaller area, with all the kids that seemed to hate me, and a seriously dire need for supervision, which was lacking to the extreme.

I want to say that I had awesome and caring teachers that came and rescued me, but I didn’t.  To be fair, I did have some awesome and caring teachers, but they didn’t come to my rescue.  One particularly (and spectacularly) bad teacher told me that I wasn’t allowed to talk to school staff about how much I was being bullied anymore.  The principal told me that I was lying because he’d known some of the students I was reporting since birth and none of them were “like that”.

Ironically, I can only remember one episode of physical bullying.  The rest was all emotional and verbal.  Mostly emotional.  Mind games that seem unreal to me now.  Not unreal that they happened, but unreal that these were kids that pulled them off.  The part of me that’s forgiven them (a feat the little girl inside me still doesn’t believe is actually possible) wonders what kind of sad home life these kids had to teach them how to play such twisted and hurtful games like what they put me through.  It wasn’t very long into grade five before I considered death a more desirable alternative to living bullied.  It wasn’t long after that when I started trying to make that happen.

It’s been brought to my attention, by the therapists I had as a child, by my parents, etc. that I brought most of my problems on myself as a child.  I’m still trying to figure that one out.  I’m trying to figure out what crime I committed as a little girl that merited the punishment those kids were playing on me.  Was I too smart and liked to express that intelligence with a joy of learning and conversation?  Silly me.  My clothes weren’t the name brands everyone else wore? Hell, what kind of lazy prepubescent was I that I didn’t go out and get a job?  I wore thick glasses?  Contacts, HELLO!

In case that sarcasm isn’t entirely clear, let me be:  I try to figure out how anyone could say I somehow deserved what I got as a bullied kid.  Especially how the “professionals” could ever have said that to me.  It is only by sheer luck and chance that I failed to kill myself before I was old enough to enter high school.  Is it honestly ever a child that young’s “fault” that they driven to that extreme?

I would have say I was one little girl they failed, miserably.  No child at the age of nine should be considering ending their life because they don’t want to go through another day at school.  No child should be told that it’s their fault.  No child should be scared to go to their teachers for fear of being called a liar and given detentions for “telling”.  All the system ever taught me is how broken it is.

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