Friday, October 8, 2010

I Was That Kid


I awoke this morning with an incredibly heavy heart.  “Sad” couldn’t even begin to describe what I was feeling.  My heart ached.  I got up, let the dog out then went to the kitchen to start coffee and as I’m standing there lost in my task the tears just start pouring.  Uncontrollable sobs with heaving chest and all would be a better way to explain it.  The entire time this is happening I kept thinking to myself, “Where is this coming from?” Why did I feel so sad?  It seemed to be a complete mystery to me.

I updated my status message on Facebook telling everyone that I woke up with a heavy heart and a few people commented that they did, as well.  So I began to wonder if it was the emotions of my friends that I was feeling or was this all coming from me.  As a bit of a side note, when I make connections with people I tend to feel their emotions even if we’re nowhere near each other physically.   It’s hard to explain but in the past few months I’ve found a title for that part of me.  An empath. 

Going back to the point, I spent the majority of the day trying to figure out where all of this grief and heartache was coming from.  I took myself to the gym to try and shake it and was unsuccessful.  Spent some time with my son then had dinner with a friend then came back to the house and opened my laptop.  While reading through blog posts and Facebook stories it finally hit me. 

I am grieving for those kids who have taken their lives.  Not just the ones who have done it recently but every single child who has been bullied to death.  I have so much empathy for these kids because I can relate.  I know what that hopeless feeling feels like.  That lonely feeling where no one around you seems to understand you.  I’ve been there.  I was that kid. 

In elementary school, I didn’t like what the other girls liked.  I didn’t want to play house with the girls.  I wanted to play football and baseball and be tough with the boys.  The boys teased me just for being a girl.  The girls teased me for being too boyish.  Where exactly did I fit? 

By the time junior high school hit I started to try to be more like the girls.  Dressing like them (although NOT in dresses), doing things they liked to do, hanging out with them and trying really hard to have crushes on boys.  Honestly, I really couldn’t understand the attraction to them.  I tried kissing a boy in 7th grade and was waiting for that exciting moment that all the girls talked about but just felt…..nothing.  That feeling alone made me feel even more isolated than I had already felt.  Maybe there was something wrong with me. 

I couldn’t let anyone know my true feelings.  I saw how people who didn’t fit in were treated.  I wished everyday that I was bigger and stronger so that I could make it stop.  Instead, I learned to be the wallflower that no one noticed.  I disappeared. 

I was a cutter, a wall puncher and an eye scratcher (I scratched under my eye so much that I made myself bleed).  Thoughts of ending it all crossed my mind every single day.  I truly believed that no one would notice my disappearance.  

I don’t remember when it was but I finally realized that doing all of those things gave them the power.  ‘Them’ being the people who were mean to me and didn’t understand me.  My way of standing up to them was to stop hurting myself and stop thinking about suicide and survive it.  Live a life they would be envious of. 

Be the better person. 

You know what?  I did it.  I survived it and am a better and stronger person for it.  My life is my own and I am happy with who I’ve turned out to be.  A motorcycle riding butch lesbian, Mom, Daughter, Sister, Aunt, Godmother, friend, photographer and writer who doesn’t give a damn what you think of me.

I want every kid out there to know that they can do it, too.  Don’t let the bullies win.  When you’re done with school, chances are you’ll never see them again and your life will be your own to do with however you wish.  Do what ever you can to survive and stick around to show us all what you’ve been put on this Earth to do.

An amazing friend of mine has put together a website where you can share your story about being ‘that kid’.  Please visit it to read more stories and if you feel so inclined, share your own story.  With a picture from that time, as well, if you wish.  The website is www.iwasthatkid.com and you can submit your story to iwasthatkid@gmail.com.  If you’d like, it can stay anonymous.  Just let her know.  You can also visit the Facebook page and post your own story there. 

2 comments:

  1. First - Thank you for sharing your story. If we keep talking, if we keep putting a familiar face on the issue of bullying, we can help those kids right now.

    Some kid out there is desperate and needs to hear *your* story. There's a kid who needs to hear it because *your* story is so much like *their* story.

    I was that kid. Were you?

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  2. Thanks for sharing.
    I was the odd kid...not bullied, but never quite fit into any one group, sort of accepted on the fringes of many groups.
    I became, as a result, the defender of the underdog. When someone was being bullied-I was that kid that thrust myself between the bully and the bullied. I was the kid that whisked the bullied child away. I was later, the crazy woman who drove her van onto a pavement when she saw 5 on one on a street corner.

    One thing that is so important, and that I teach my own kids...being a silent bystander is accepting that bullying is ok. It's NOT.

    I'm glad you stuck around.

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