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Sometimes, I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.

They keep sending me friend requests on Facebook. I got another one last night.

Every time they do, my stomach tightens. I have trouble breathing. My heart speeds up. I start to shake.

Block friend request. Block friend request. Block friend request.

Why the hell would I accept a friend request from them now? When twenty years ago, they blocked each and every attempt I made?

This post has been a long time coming. I knew it had to be written. But it’s a lot easier to be a clown than it it to be serious. It’s a lot easier to leave the mask on than it is to drop it and show what’s behind it. I was raised to not show your weakness; to hide your pain. This is like standing naked on a streetcorner for me.

I don’t even know how to begin. Or to end. Or, hell, what to put in the middle. I’m a wreck just thinking about it, to be honest. But I thought, if even one person who’s going through what I went through reads it, it’ll be worth it, right? If even one person reads it and can relate, or reads it and sees someone else struggling with it, and can help them, then it’s good that you relived it, for one night. It’s good that you dwelt back there, back where things were so dark. And I promised someone I’d write this, to explain myself. I like to keep my promises, when I can.

I told someone on Twitter recently that the people that are the funniest often have a really dark backstory, and they’ve learned humor as a coping mechanism. I think that’s true, for the most part. Are there people who are just funny, without having that well of private pain to mine from? Sure. I’m sure there are. But the ones that make me laugh the hardest seem to be the ones who understand that laughing keeps the demons at bay for a little while.

I’ve mentioned this before, here and there. But not in detail. Because it’s painful, and I try not to think about it. My parents are all for forgiving and forgetting. “Move on!” they encourage me. “They all have!”

Can’t. Not who I am. Would love to. Not capable.

I went to a very small school. Sixty people in my graduating class. We knew each other from kindergarten to senior year, with only a few new kids coming and going here and there. What got stuck to you stayed with you. Nothing disappeared. Everyone still picked on the girl who threw up in her desk in fourth grade. Everyone knew the teacher whose wife killed him when she found out he was a pedophile. Everyone talked. Everyone knew everything.

I was bullied, to the point of almost taking my own life twice, from third grade to senior year. That’s nine years, in case anyone’s counting. Nine years doesn’t seem like that long, now. I’ve lived here for nine years, and it’s flown by, for example.

But when every single day of attending school is complete and utter torture, nine years can seem like an eternity. I know this, because I lived it.

I’m not even sure, looking back, what my most heinous offense was. Being intelligent? Not having stellar social skills? Not being as attractive as the popular kids? There were other kids who fit all of these roles, but they weren’t singled out. Like I said, it’s a small school. Once the kids start, they don’t stop. They were sharks and there was blood in the water. You don’t ever have to tell me that children can be cruel. I know they can. I’ve seen it. I was there.

I was shoved into lockers on a daily, sometimes hourly, basis. My books were knocked onto the floor if I dared carry them in my arms; I had to wear a backpack everywhere I went. My locker was blocked by sneering classmates if I attempted to go to it before school, between classes, or after school, so I had to either carry a full day’s books with me at all times, or get a hall pass to go to it during classes. I got gum smashed into my hair. I was invited to parties to be the brunt of elaborate pranks. I was called up at home for the same reason. I was tricked into answering questions like “who do you have a crush on?” and then the answer would be spread around the school and the boy would come up to me and laugh in my face. I was shoved down so many times that my glasses got broken and I sprained ankles and wrists from falling down stairs. I was attacked in gym class by whatever sports equipment we were using that day. I was shoved down and stood on in the aisle on the bus. There’s more. Do you need more? Because I have more.

And, wherever I went, no matter what time of day, no matter where I was going, they’d constantly catcall. “GEEEEEEEEK.”

Which is ironic, as it’s one of the things in my life I’m most proud of now.

Now, you’re wondering, why wasn’t anything done about this? How did this happen for nine years without anything being done?

It was a small town. Everyone knew everyone. The kids in charge of the harrassment? Their moms worked at the school. Their dads taught there. Their parents were well-known.

Plus – I never said a word.

My parents told me to turn the other cheek, at first. But then they got tired of me complaining about it, so they told me to be friendlier. That it was my fault; that, if I had a better attitude, it would stop, and the other kids would all want to be my friend. Because of this, I didn’t think it was ok to speak up. I thought it was shameful. I thought I was an embarrassment to them.

Years later, my father asked me why I didn’t fight back. I could only look at him in shock. I wanted to scream, “YOU NEVER GAVE ME PERMISSION!”

I love them. They were doing their best. I’ve forgiven them. They had no idea what this was doing to me, or even the extent of it all. It must be a very hard thing, to be a parent. You must often feel very helpless.

I did fight back, once. Not on purpose. I kind of lost my mind, is what happened. One of the worst kids – the one that, if I think back, I’d like to go back in time and murder, cheerfully, with my bare hands, while little Amy looks on and laughs – called my name in gym class. I reflexively looked up, and he was about three steps away from me. He threw a basketball square into my face. This smashed my glasses into my face, making them fly off onto the floor and shattering them, and also causing major cuts and bruising (because listen, glasses used to be made of GLASS.)

They were new glasses. They were, for the time period, somewhat cool. I was FURIOUS. He walked away, high-fiving his friends. I LAUNCHED myself at him, screaming. I was the kid from A Christmas Story. Nothing I said made any sense. It was just a stream of profanity laced with hysterical crying. I clawed at his face. He just stood there, half in shock, half laughing.

I ended up getting transferred out of gym class not long after that, to another gym class for the rest of high school. As far as I know, nothing happened to him. He just said it was an accident. His mom worked at the school, and he was very good at acting innocent. He’d had years of practice at that point.

Did I have friends? Yes, a couple. One of them is actually still a good friend now. Did they know it was going on? Yes. But they didn’t dare do anything about it. Because if they did, the collective eye of the popular group would turn on them, and they’d be in the crosshairs. It wasn’t worth it. I didn’t blame them then. I try not to now, either. I know how hard it was, going through what I was going through. How could I ask another person to potentially bear that cross for me? How could I ask the boy I was in love with all through high school to risk dating me, knowing he was courting social suicide? I couldn’t. We were children. We were just children, and our reputations were very important to us.

Did I function? Yes. I did. I was in clubs, I acted in shows, I went on dates, I went to church. I lived my life. I just knew, the whole time, that someone could be waiting around the corner for me, so I was very, very cautious where I stepped. I jumped at my own shadow. I was walking around shell-shocked before I even knew what the term meant.

I spiraled into a depression so deep I couldn’t see my way out of it. I don’t see how anyone couldn’t, going into a war zone, day after day after day. I had a plan to kill myself early on in high school; I chickened out at the last minute. I had a more well-thought-out plan at the beginning of senior year, and, were it not for an occurrence that I still can’t explain, one that smacks of some sort of – divine intervention? cosmic coincidence? grand plan? – I would not be here writing this today. It was minutes away. I can’t talk about that. Sorry. That one’s mine.

A way out might have been to downplay my intelligence. That seemed to be what offended them most. However, strangely enough, that never crossed my mind. Everything else under the sun did – getting a boyfriend, changing the way I looked, talked, dressed, acted, everything – but suddenly acting less intelligent never even popped up on my radar. Thankfully. Because I probably would have done it, in order to make it all stop. In order to conform. And then I wouldn’t have had my escape hatch.

College was the light at the end of the tunnel. A big college. Where I could reinvent myself. Where I could escape everyone who’d ever known me, and where no one would know me as “Geek.” Where I could be whoever I wanted, because I was starting fresh.

No one told me that even when you start fresh, your demons come with you. I was a child, still. I didn’t know.

I graduated valedictorian. And in my speech, I actually addressed them, as far as I was able, by telling them their glory days were behind them and it was all downhill from there, for the majority of them. They laughed at me. As they’d been doing for most of my life.

So I squished that lonely, lost, afraid girl down as far as she’d go and I went far, far away. I didn’t talk about high school. I was a new person.

And, much to my surprise? I made friends. ACTUAL friends. Who wanted to spend time with me. Who did kind things for me without expecting anything in return. I didn’t know what to make of this. I wasn’t mentally capable of wrapping my mind around anything like this. I stopped going to classes because my lessons were in making friends. The lessons everyone else learned in elementary and junior high and high school? I had to learn them in college. I was playing catch up. I almost flunked out because I wasn’t doing what I was there to do. But this seemed important, too. This seemed like an important job, one that I was behind on.

It took me a while to realize that most of the time, when people laugh, they are laughing WITH you, not AT you. I started craving that like an addict. I honed humor like a knife. I wielded it like the same. It became my thing. I was the funny one. I liked that; it gave me a purpose, it gave me an identity. I didn’t realize until years later I was funny because it was helping me deal with the fact that there was still a very injured little girl inside of me and I’d never dealt with her. I’d just hidden her away, like a dirty secret. I didn’t tell anyone about her. I closed her in a very dark room and told her to be very quiet, in case anyone were to notice her.

I also thought I made these new friends because I was someone else. Because that girl wasn’t good enough. Because I was very young, and because I didn’t know better, and because I didn’t hear her screaming, even though I told her to be still.

It took almost twenty years for me to look in the mirror and not number the flaws and hate what I saw there; almost twenty years for me to look in a mirror and not see myself through the children’s eyes who tormented me. I can finally see myself through my own eyes, and while I don’t always like what I see, at least I see it clearly.

I’ve not forgiven them for what they did to me. Will I? I don’t know. I find it ironic they keep sending me friend requests on Facebook. Maybe they’re sending them ironically and want to see what I’m up to so they can gossip. Maybe they’re honestly wanting to be friends. Maybe – and, somehow, this is the most painful option of all? – maybe they’ve forgotten what they did altogether. Maybe those nine years of torture to me were nothing to them. Maybe they meant nothing. Maybe I meant nothing. Maybe they saw it as childish pranksterism, nothing more than a good laugh.

I don’t go to class reunions. When I go home to visit, I don’t like to leave the house, since most of them still live in town and I don’t want to risk running into them. I keep in touch with a handful of people from my graduating class, a very select few who have grown into adults that I want in my life. I try to remember that the children that tormented that sad, lonely little girl then are adults now; that they’ve lived a long lifetime, and they’ve probably changed. I try to tell myself I could benefit from forgiving. That this would be a burden best left at the roadside. That I’d be lighter, were I to leave it behind.

I can’t do that. I don’t know if I will ever be able to.

I identify so deeply with children who commit suicide due to bullying that I find myself weeping over the news reports. I hear about a school shooting and I immediately think, “What did the other children do to the shooter?” rather than, as a normal person might, “what was wrong with the shooter?”

What’s the solution? Well, bullying is taken much more seriously now than it was back when I was experiencing it. It’s not ignored anymore. Officials can’t afford to ignore it; school shootings and suicide rates are up and it’s also just plain bad PR. I don’t know if the programs to stop bullying are helping. They probably aren’t hurting, put it that way.

I know others out there had it as bad as I did. I know others had it worse. I know what I went through probably seems small and petty, maybe even to some of you reading this. And, that’s fine. Because the last thing I want – the absolute last thing – is your pity. That’s not why I’m writing this.

I’m writing this because it needs to be written. I’m writing this because someone I respect a great deal mentioned that I was being a bully toward someone a while ago, possibly halfway in jest, and I immediately froze up, thinking, has it come to this? Have I become those children? Have I done to someone else what they did to me? And when I reacted strongly, and he was surprised, I couldn’t imagine why he was surprised. Then I thought, oh. Because you haven’t told anyone this. Because, for all of your oversharing, this isn’t something you’ve told. Because you’re still ashamed of it. Of course he’s surprised. I promised him I’d write this, and like I said, I like to be the kind of person who keeps promises, when she can. I’m writing this to get it off my chest. I’m writing this because maybe a parent has a child who’s going through this and is at a loss as to what to do. I’m writing this because it’s my way, like Jenny in Forrest Gump, of throwing rocks at the house where my tormentors lived – futile, but a move toward healing, nonetheless. I’m writing this because, as I mentioned, maybe someone going through a similar thing will read it and recognize themselves.

If that’s the case: it does get better. I know, what a cliche, right? But it does. It doesn’t seem like it will, but it does. You can cast off who you are like an ill-fitting suit of clothes, if you like, and step into a new skin. Or, even better, you can find your people. They’re out there. They’re waiting for you to find them. You just have to get through the storm in order to do so. And the storm is bad. I’m not going to lie to you about that. But don’t end things completely. Don’t do that. Please. Whatever you do. There’s help, and there’s hope, and your people are waiting, and there’s going to be a you-sized absence, if you’re gone. One that they don’t even know about, but one that they feel. Please know that little tiny thing you see way off in the distance is the light at the end of the tunnel, and it’s being held by the future-you and your people, and keep working as hard as you can, and do anything you need to, to get there.

Most of all, I’m writing this to give a voice to that little girl I had to keep locked in a dark room for so long. I let her out, finally, about a year ago. I could finally let her out. And you’ve can’t imagine anything so freeing. I’m not all the way there. I don’t know if I ever will be. I hear locker doors slam and I have a PTSD reaction. I hear people laughing when I enter a room and my first, immediate thought is that they’re laughing at me behind my back. I still suffer from depression. It’s crippling, at times. I don’t want to get out of bed, I don’t want to talk to anyone, I don’t want to move. Yes. I’ll always be damaged.

But I’m not broken. I take pride in that. I came through the fire and I got burned and I carry the scars, but what really matters is, I came through the damn fire. And I did it all on my own. I’ve found my people along the way, but the person who made it through those flames is the person writing this.

So yes: I have poor social skills and hate large social situations where I am expected to socialize as I am always, in the back of my mind, expecting there to be another shoe to drop, the joke to be on me, no escape route. I cry easily. I wake up on a regular basis from high-school nightmares. I am sometimes so filled with misplaced anger it spills over onto those I love the most. I try to get as much joy as I can out of every single minute of my life, because I know how fleeting and ephemeral joy can be, and I have lost years of it to make up for. I am so shocked when someone wants to be friends with me that I immediately mistrust them. I hide behind a variety of masks, almost all of the time; I only really drop them when I trust you completely, and since I almost never trust anyone completely, I’m almost always wearing some sort of mask. When someone does something nice for me I’m moved beyond what’s rational because it doesn’t happen often and I don’t know how to react when it does. I have made some colossally bad judgment calls over the years, some of which have screwed me over so royally I’m still reeling from them. I’m damaged. I’m banged up and bruised up and my corners are all bent and spindled and I’m missing some pages and there are some things I just won’t talk about and there are some things I just won’t do. Yes. I’m damaged. But we all are, in our own ways, aren’t we? It’s what makes us unique. It’s what makes us.

I didn’t write this for your pity, because I don’t need it. As damaged as I am, I’m not broken.

And even if I am?

Sometimes things that have been broken come back stronger than you’ll ever imagine.

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About lucysfootball

I'm not the girl with the most cake. Someday. SOMEDAY. View all posts by lucysfootball

86 responses to “Sometimes, I guess there just aren’t enough rocks.

  • lahikmajoe

    Really well-written Amy. Many thoughts come to mind, but I’d rather digest them, and comment later.

    I know you’ve been wanting to write this one for a while, and I’m proud of you. You’ve done well.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you. I can’t even tell you how badly my stomach was in knots at work, waiting for 11:45 to hit and to know it had posted. I wasn’t sure it was alright. This comment was waiting for me as soon as my first break hit. I knew if you’d read it and it was ok, it would be, because you don’t say things are ok when they’re not. So, thanks for that. So much.

      Like

  • borkadventures

    Thanks for sharing your story, Amy. It is frightening how cruel children can be. While anti-bullying programs are now part of the school-wide curriculum, of course there is still much of it going on…usually via Facebook.

    I think that relating the bullying after effects in your adult life to PTSD is probably pretty dead-on. Sometimes, when I tell people that I teach 12 and 13-year-olds, they shudder and look as if they had a flashback to some horrific experience. Then they almost always respond with “tough age”. I always nod my head in agreement, and at that moment we’re both remembering some shitty moment from our childhood. Of course, we will not ever share what they’re thinking about…no one ever does share those shitty moments. You’re supposed to bury those memories. Meanwhile, our adult selves are forever stunted by these experiences. But, we’ve all had them, and try to forget them.

    In fact, the only people that I ever actually talk to about this kind of stuff is to the ones who are living it. The 12 and 13-year-olds. It’s kind of like we all have the Derry syndrome…we bury these experiences at a certain age and the kids are left on their own to deal with it like it’s a brand new thing.

    So, thanks for being braver than any of us and sharing your story. You’ve given me (and, I’m sure, all of your other readers) a lot to think about and consider.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you so much. You’re right – we don’t talk about them. I always thought it was because they didn’t HAPPEN to other people, but after the feedback I’m getting today – maybe it’s just that they’re too painful for EVERYONE to talk about, and it wasn’t just me. I feel so much less alone with this today. So much lighter.

      Thank you for reading. And yes – Facebook. I should have mentioned how very, very VERY thankful I am, daily, that I grew up in a pre-digital age. I can’t even imagine the added layer of insult had the internet been available. (However, I suppose I would have had a virtual support system sooner – so there are pros and cons to everything.)

      Like

  • Kris Rudin

    Oh, Amy, you are so brave to write this! I am honored that you would share this with me -with all of us. And I am so happy that you have overcome this. Maybe you are still broken, but you are not LOST. You often joke about how you’ve ‘won’ at something. Well, guess what? You have WON at life!! Yes! You are a winner. And those poor, helpless, hapless bullies? They have lost. LOST LOST LOST. They will never, EVER have the strength, the courage that you have.

    Thank you. I am so glad you are who you are. I am so glad you are YOU.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you so much for reading. And thank you. So many people have said I’m brave today. I have never thought of myself as brave. But I love the idea of being brave. And this scared the shit out of me – and I think that’s the definition of brave, right? I think @blogginglily told me that recently. So today I get to be brave. I’m extraordinarily happy about that. Thank you.

      Like

  • Lisa

    I love this.
    I know this.
    I thank you for this.

    Like

  • apocketfulofnotes

    I totally relate to some things you have posted. Thanks for sharing.

    Like

  • sj

    Goddamn I love this post. I have so many things I want to say right now, but I’m having a hard time typing through tears.

    We have very similar stories, but I’m still trying to find the self in the mirror that I don’t mind seeing staring back at me. I can not accept compliments, and when they’re given, I dissect them. I have a hard time keeping friends. I can be friendly easily, but I make bad choices about the people I choose to give my heart to (friend-wise) and have been hurt more times than I care to admit. Several within the last few years, still – I haven’t grown out of it.

    I, too, had opt-out plans. They all failed (obviously).

    On top of being bullied in school, I had to deal with abusive step-parents. My parents seemed incapable of choosing decent partners for themselves. My dad’s wife at the time beat me so badly when I was 9 that I had to stay in the house most of the summer, but my books were all taken away so it was even more of a torture. When I was sent to live with my mother and her then-husband, I thought things would be better, but they were worse. When I was 14, I dared to tell him that I was uncomfortable saying the grace at Thanksgiving dinner because I was no longer sure if I believed in god. He used his fists and boots to teach me a lesson. My back is still messed up from that. I…am ashamed to say that with the way things were so bad at school and at home, there are times I wished that he’d just kill me and get it over with.

    My dad didn’t know about what his wife was doing, she was really careful to only hit me in places that bruises wouldn’t show, and any time I said anything, I was told that I was a liar. No one believed me. When he divorced her when I was 16, I went to live with him. We had an hours long conversation where I detailed everything that she’d done to me from the time we moved in with her and her kids until I left to live with my mother. He was crying before I was even half done, but he just let me talk. Then he apologized. He said he wished he’d listened to me when I was younger.

    My mother, on the other hand…she stood by. She let all of this happen to me, and did nothing to stop it. She did not make an attempt to leave. She did not try to protect me. She has never apologized for everything I went through during the worst time in my life. She attempts to justify it. She says there was no way she could have left because she would have left without anything. STILL! TWENTY YEARS LATER! BULLSHIT! My great-grandparents urged her to leave him for years, would have taken us both in, but she refused. This is why it’s been over two years since I have talked to her. She does not even know she has a grand-daughter. I can happily go the rest of my life without speaking to her ever again.

    Jesus, this comment has become much longer than I anticipated and now I’m terrified because a lot of this is stuff I don’t talk about to anyone anymore. I don’t know that I’ve ever laid it all out before, but since you’re being brave, I will too.

    Thank you for sharing, Amy. I wish I could reach through my screen and give you a hug.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you so much for reading and for commenting and for being here. You know what my blog was missing, for the longest time? You. I’m so glad you found me.

      I want you and me to go back in time, and first, collect younger-me, and then pop her in the car (with plenty of books, of course.) Then drive to where younger-you is. And pop HER in the car. And then just take the two of them away to a happy, safe, book-filled place where they can be the best of friends, and the two of us will have adult beverages and ALSO read many books and laugh and laugh and make fun of all the foolishness in the world, and all would be well.

      You can always write a book in my comments. Permission granted.

      Also, you’re as brave as a lion. I’m so proud of you and all you’ve gone through. And look at the amazing woman you are today! I’m glad I know you. I’m glad you’re in my life. I’m lucky to have you here.

      Thank you for reading and thank you for commenting and thank you for being the amazing person you are. I like you more than pudding. It’s totally true. (And you KNOW how much I love pudding.)

      Like

  • Bronwyn

    i don’t want to be flip, because bullying isn’t a funny topic. it’s brutal.

    so instead, perhaps i’ll go for succinct. :) my take homes from this post:
    1) you are kind of amazing
    2) mean people suck

    i am fortunate in that i wasn’t exposed to that level of bullying. it wouldn’t be accurate to say i was never bullied, but it never got that bad and really… i was so inwardly-focused most of it didn’t even make me look up!

    :P :D
    we’re all a product of the stuff that happens along the way and how we deal with/recover/learn/move forward from it. so while i wish i could gleefully throat-punch all of the people who were cruel to you, i’m sure glad your journey brought you here.

    /end sappiness

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you so much. I’m also a strong believer in that – we’re all products of our collective “stuff” that’s happened along the way. The most interesting people I know are the ones with the most “stuff,” honestly.

      You’re also kind of amazing, by the way.

      Thank you for being here. I love knowing that you’re reading my posts with your office every day. :)

      Like

  • Andreas Heinakroon

    First of all: I’m so glad I know you, both through your blog and Twitter. I’m glad I’m here to read your words, both the regular funny ones and (perhaps even more) your sombre ones. Because they are brave words and these were possibly the bravest so far. This fills me with a happiness I can’t really explain and a silly pride that I’m allowed to know you.

    Secondly: that you-shaped absence? That was sort of the point, wasn’t it? To leave a hole. A place in the puzzle with a missing piece. As a sort of punishment? Something to teach them a lesson. Leave them with the realisation of what they’ve done, the shame of it and the knowledge that it could never be undone.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      OK, this isn’t a surprise to anyone, I’m kind of a sobby mess, like, ALL THE TIME, but WHOO, Andreas, this made me cry right in the lunchroom at work today.

      Right back at you. All of that. I am so glad I know you, too. I can’t say enough how glad I am, how honored I am, how lucky I feel, to know you.

      But that made me just weep. Because the sheer fact that someone even said such a thing to me? The sheer fact that someone THINKS such a thing about me? It’s gigantic. And so, so nice. And thank you, so much. I don’t have the words.

      Thank you for being in my life, Andreas. You’ve made it such a richer, more wonderful place. I can’t imagine it without you. You were always meant to be here, and now you’re here, and I couldn’t be happier about that.

      Back to business. Yes, that is the point – but the people they think they’re punishing won’t care. They’d probably just laugh. The people they’re really punishing – their family, and the people who don’t know them yet, but would have known them, and would have loved them – are the ones who will suffer. And that’s what makes me the saddest. They’re missing out on so much they don’t even know exists yet. I don’t even like to think of all I’d have missed out on. So much joy. So much laughter. So many beautiful things. So much love. It breaks my heart to even contemplate it.

      (I combed over your comment for the longest time and I am not seeing a typo. What am I MISSING?)

      Like

      • Andreas Heinakroon

        Aw I didn’t mean to make you cry! Now I feel bad! (I did mean what I said, though.)

        And obviously suicide is never a solution, we’d only punish ourselves and our family. But it’s the thought of getting back at them that’s so alluring, that and ending the pain. The logic is flawed though, as you wouldn’t be there to see it.

        (Second paragraph, end of second sentence should have been “wasn’t it”, not “want it”. No biggie, though, and thanks for looking.)

        Like

  • Heather

    *STANDING OVATION*

    Thank you… with all of my heart, I thank you.

    Like

  • greengeekgirl

    I feel sick and murderous. If I ever meet anybody who was in your class at high school, god help them. (Reacting to bullying with violence is probably not the best answer, but when I think about little Amy getting pushed around by those fucks, my head feels like it’s full of bees.)

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you. I love you to death.

      “My head feels like it’s full of bees” was my favorite thing today. I read this on a break and came back in with a huge grin. Not because of your poor bee-filled head. I just thought it was a wonderful turn of phrase.

      Oh, believe me, I often wonder what would happen if I ever came face-to-face with one of them. Would I just walk away? Would I confront them? Would I have a rational conversation? It’s still undecided.

      I’m thinking whatever the outcome, “head filled with bees” would be an excellent description, though.

      Like

      • elaine4queen

        head full of bees. THIS!

        as i read this i had SO MUCH i wanted to say, but by the end i had nothing.

        i am glad you let us all be your friends now. all the love to you, amers ~~~~~~

        Like

        • lucysfootball

          Other way around. I’m honored YOU all let ME play in your sandbox.

          All the love right back.

          (Isn’t head full of bees the best? I’m going to start using it regularly, I love it so.)

          Like

          • elaine4queen

            it’s very evocative.

            i remember when i pitched up on twitter, how welcome you made me feel at a time which was otherwise quite difficult for me. it was lovely getting to know you and ken and everyone. one of my favourite moments lately was when you and thebustocrookes met. i love it when worlds collide like that.

            Like

            • lucysfootball

              Oh, that just made my whole morning. I did? Without even knowing I did! I want to give past-me and past-you hugs.

              I also love it when Twitter friends get to know each other! I feel like I’m making magical history occur, you know?

              Like

              • elaine4queen

                it’s so lovely.

                when i was an exhibiting artists people used to say that they liked coming to my private views because they would see people that they never see at other times. i loved the love in of it all.

                Like

  • doesmybumlookbiginthis

    This takes balls to write, so well done. I wasn’t bullied really, isolated a couple of times by my friends but not to this extent and i can’t imagine what it would be like to suffer emotional and physical abuse like this, i’m really sorry you had to go through this.

    On the plus, they probably friend request you through curiosity and guilt, and for those types of people high school really is the best bit – you’ve triumphed and they’re still stuck in the small town friend requesting someone they bullied years ago. That’s sad. You, on the other hand, have a kick ass blog and are able to write such an insightful post that SO many people will relate to.

    I think you win :) xx

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you so much for reading, and thank you – I appreciate it so much.

      I’d like to think they’re stuck in a sad little life. I know, I know, it’s so awful of me. But sometimes I can be a petty little thing. Can’t help it. :)

      And thank you – I wanted people to be able to relate. And I think people have. That makes this completely worth it, and humbles me, and gives me such relief.

      You’re amazing. I want to meet you someday and chat and hang out and be crazy and have all kind of adventures. :)

      Like

    • doesmybumlookbiginthis

      I think our adventures would be awesome, we clearly are the best ever :) xx

      Like

  • Beth Johnson (@ladypembroke)

    I have to think about this for a bit… some parts of it were really hard to read, some I had to scan through, and some are leaving me shaking. I need to process, and I’m not sure I can. You want me to look at it in the light, but… I’m not ready to find all the dark and twisty parts, yet. I touched on some in my blog about a month ago (my own brushes with/thoughts of suicide and why), but there is more. And you touched on it. I’ll think about it and write more later…

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I hope you’re ok. I told you on Twitter, but I hope this helped, more than it hurt. As I was writing, I was thinking – is this going to be a trigger for anyone? I was worried. I still am.

      Be ok, please. I worry about you.

      Like

  • Cara V. (@fictionalchick)

    Amazing post, Amy… and I share the emotions that others seem to be after reading it… to give a perspective of another kind- first couple years of high school I was a part of a bullying group- and at first it was to desperately fit in… not sure I know how to explain it better in a kill or be killed kind of society that High School tended to be… since I’m more intelligent and I knew these people were assholes, I stopped hanging around them and their attitudes turned on me, of course. I never let them get to me- and I dislike them to this day- but I did lose a couple of people to suicide before those High School years were over… and that’s the biggest regret… not knowing that words can hurt.

    I’d love to dissect the anatomy of a bully, because having been there and known my mistake early- it’s given me things to be ashamed of and proud of at the same time… but let me tell you: those people remember what they did (unless they were in a memory erasing accident). Because I sure as shit remember every person I was mean to, even what I said- their names… etc. I think that since I had been somewhat of a feeder fish in this sense- I felt bad and still do. I actually apologized to anyone I hurt before HS graduation and befriended a few (you know, just like a movie).

    I think the actual bullies (the people who never stop) have serious issues that even they can’t deal with- and hurting others keeps them going. The people I knew had problems ranging from alcoholic parents, parental suicide, hidden sickness and hidden disfigurements that kept them insecure… no reason to treat others like shit and that’s what I finally realized after all that. High School is so insignificant in the long run- but it leaves the worst scars.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you. I love you. And I’m so glad I know you. You’re one of my favorite people, you know?

      I know a couple of the worst offenders did have issues. One was deeply closeted and fighting hard to hide it; he’s since come out, and seems very happy, and I want to be happy for him, I truly do, and I want to forgive him, because he was going through something really difficult. But how can someone going through someone so difficult in their own life take that pain and lash out onto someone else? I mean, I KNOW how they can, I know how psychology works, and believe me, I lashed out PLENTY when I was in pain (and still do, at times.) He’s the one I’d like to confront the most, actually. If given the chance. He lives in New York City now. I’d like to run into him someday, and just have a discussion about the whole thing. But it would probably end up with me throat-punching the abusive son of a bitch. I’m not as evolved as I’d like to pretend. :)

      Like

  • lahikmajoe

    You know what’s weird Amy?

    I went to an art school and as a result wasn’t tormented in these ways, but then when I really think about it, there were cliques and there was bullying even there.

    There’s no comparison. None at all. And I think it’s really important how you’ve actually turned some of that horror into something so beautiful. So transcendent.

    I also appreciate that your blog voice – full of vim and vigour – isn’t an indication of how you are in your daily life. Well, aside from one exception. When you talk about your family and friends, there’s such an astounding loyalty in your voice. That you would and that you have gone to the mat for the people you love.

    When you talk about your poor social skills, I have a hard time believing you. My suspicion is that it says more about the specific social situation than it does about you. But what do I know? Maybe you’re just as klutzy and accident-prone as you say.

    Do you remember that Blind Melon song? The one with the little girl in the bumble bee suit who miserably shuffles through her life?

    There are certainly people who don’t associate themselves with that little girl. People who apparently got all the breaks. Or never worried about popularity or bullying.

    But my suspicion is that many people see themselves in that little bumble bee costume. And that even some of those who bullied and tortured other kids grew up and realised that they never really felt quite right in their skin. That they went along with the bullying or even instigated it because they were afraid…

    Maybe that’s too easy on them, though. There are jerks, and some of them don’t appear to ever really get their due. I think that’s something that deserves an entire other blogpost, which it appears this comment is becoming.

    I’ll sign off by saying that when I found you and Andreas and Lisa and the other Lisa and Debbie and John and all of your blogging friends that I’m getting to know…when I found my tribe here, I was that little girl dancing like a demented bumble bee in the field.

    I suppose it has got better, hasn’t it?

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Andreas made me cry. Then you did. You two, seriously. I’m nervous what’s going to happen once Jim gets over here. I should probably start hydrating now.

      If I never write another word, I can go down having someone saying something I did was beautiful and transcendent. I’m good with that. Thank you.

      I think I’m loyal to my people – possibly to the point of completely scaring some of them away, sorry, some of my people – because I know what it’s like not to have them, you know? There’s more, but it really delves way too deep into my psyche, and that’s a twisty place. We may never escape alive. Let’s stay up here. It’s safer, and the odds of running into sea serpents and scary shadowy dark corners are greatly reduced.

      Yes. Yes, I’m loyal to my people. You know how people say they’d step in front of a train for their people? I say it. I just did, in a response I wrote a couple comments ago.

      I would. Without even a hesitation. All hyperbole aside.

      (I’m pretty accident-prone, Ken. That can’t be fixed. I have bruises I can’t explain all the time. However, the social situation thing? It depends on the mask I choose to wear that day. If I choose to wear my Amy’s-having-a-good-time-mask? I’m the life of the damn party. However, that mask exhausts me. I don’t take it out of the box more than once or twice a year.)

      I commented a little about the psychology of the bully on Cara’s comment. I don’t know what drives them. You raise some good points. Whether it’s a crowd mentality, I can’t say. And yes, some of them don’t seem to get their comeuppance; that’s the worst. I try not to think about them. I keep thinking that someday they will. Someday. It helps, a little. I’m vindictive. I can’t help myself, sometimes.

      See what I wrote on Andreas’s comment? I’d copy and paste it in here for you, because I mean it for you, too, but that seems lazy, especially today. So here, I’ll roll up my cuffs & spit on my hands and make you one of your own:

      Ken, thank you for being in my life. I feel like I’ve known you for a million years and you’ve always been here. Sometimes I have to remind myself you haven’t. You’re that comfortable to me. You’re the old friend I didn’t know I was missing until you showed up in my life. That’s something special, right? That doesn’t happen very often. I’m kind of bowled over by that.

      This comment made me cry, and it made my day. Thank you. We really have made this kind of awesome community, haven’t we? I’m so glad I’m not alone in feeling that.

      (I have officially finished commenting on my comments now. As a reward: I GET TO READ YOUR BLOG POST.)

      Like

  • Mer

    I have tried typing a few times and just come up blank, erasing each thought. I love you, your bravery, intelligence, humor, and feel so truly fortunate that I was so blessed as to (dare I presume?) be the recipient of your crazy eyes. I often feel undeserving of your fierce loyalty, but incredibly honored to have it.
    Self-esteem to-do list (I am trying to learn this shite…):
    1. Try to take compliments at face value. “Thank you” will suffice – don’t mind-fuck yourself over ulterior motives.
    Well, one is a start before this devolves into new-agey wackiness that will make you itch – I don’t want to be responsible for your discomfort. ooo

    Damage makes us stronger? The truly weak are those who prey on others.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      You are SO a recipient of my crazy eyes. I’d face down an oncoming train for you. Or donate you both my kidneys. In a heartbeat. You’re my people. I love you to distraction.

      Thank you for being in my life, and always being there, and thank you for being you, and thank you for being amazing. And thank you for reading.

      (Quick story for anyone who crazily reads my comments who isn’t me. I moved into a teeny-tiny one-bedroom apartment and was almost evicted due to money issues the very first month. I didn’t even dare move my things out of my car, because I was sure I was going to have to move them all back in – and live in the damn car, probably, soon enough. One day, I was carrying some books to my car and the most beautiful woman with the greatest smile in the world said, “You’re not supposed to be moving those TO the car! You’re supposed to be moving them FROM the car!” and it was Mer. And even though I was in the worst mood ever and so sad and worried, I could not resist a smile like that and the most positive energy of anyone I think I’ve ever met. And she was my next-door-neighbor. And we became the best of friends. And I was kind of broken at the time, so it is a true testament to the patience of this amazing woman that she stood by me, even though I was kind of a lunatic. And I am lucky enough that I still count her among one of my closest friends to this day, and I love her to pieces. Therefore, the train. And the kidney-donation. So, in summation: in the midst of the worst times of your life, sometimes, magic happens. You just have to be open to it, and realize that the universe is trying to balance itself out, so take what it’s offering and just be happy, already.)

      The taking compliments thing – I’ve been working so hard at that! It actually gets easier, as you go. And I feel so much better about myself with every “thank you” I say! It’s like not sabotaging yourself!

      Love you, lady.

      Like

  • Brenna

    I read your blog post and every comment closely. Kids can be horrible, but also wonderfully resilient as you and many of your “commenters” have shown. Thanks to all of you for sharing your experiences and turning into wonderful, caring people. Much love!

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you so much for reading. You’re right – they’re more resilient than we know. And yes – agreed. Thank you to everyone. I have the best group of readers on the entire internet. I’m quite sure.

      Like

  • anirrationalratio

    Well, this was upsetting. I’m sorry that you had to go through that.

    Complaining wouldn’t have helped.
    I didn’t complain, my mother did, because I begged, tears streaming down my face to not have to go into school, just for one day, just one.
    Of course, she made me go, I always had to go. But she called that day and I was summoned to give names to the vice-principle.
    They don’t like it when that happens, they just have something else to add to the list of reasons to hate you, to hurt you.

    I’m glad you found your place, I’m still looking.

    I need to go lie down now.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I am so sorry. I was so worried this would upset some people who’ve gone through this and be a trigger for bad memories. Please don’t let it bring you to a bad place.

      You’ve found your place. Well, I mean, I can’t speak for you – but you’ve found some of your people, I mean. I’m some of your people.

      Please be ok. You made it through. You’re strong and you’re bent but you’re not broken.

      Like

      • anirrationalratio

        Don’t worry, it’s all good. You have nothing to be sorry for. (or nothing for which to be sorry, if that is more helpful) :)

        I’m not sure if I’d say I’m strong, but the destructive testing hasn’t found my limits yet.

        As for finding my place, I’m waiting for the other shoe. But I’m going to try to have fun while I’m waiting. MEEP!

        Like

  • kvonhard

    As the kid publicly dumped in a trash can in the cafeteria, who stood up to the demons in the high school newspaper office on Friday afternoon, who fought to not always be wrong, and who still feels the burn of insecurity wrought by those 12 years at the age of 34, I say, “right on and solidarity.”

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you so much for reading, and I’m so sorry you had to go through that. It’s the best of us that did, isn’t it? I’m convinced of that.

      You stood up to them? YOU ROCK. *cheers*

      Like

  • Jennifer the Editor (@little_oracle)

    oh sweet girl. i am so very proud and so very honored to call you my dear friend.

    i’m so proud of you for still having the hope and faith to reach out and keep trying, to be open to letting new people like me into your life. you are wonderful and amazing and so, so strong.

    you deserve a wonderful, cool, incredible life. you didn’t succumb and my world would have been a lesser place without you in it.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Aw, Jenn. Tears. Thank you. I love having you in my life. It’s a richer place with you in it, and I can’t imagine it without you here. Thank you for being my friend. I’m such a lucky woman. Luckier than I even know, some days. Thank you, thank you, thank you.

      Like

  • Sandyinz4

    I wish all the teenagers in the world could read this. It is a wonderful piece of writing . I am glad you came through the fire and are stonger for it. Sending hugs!… Sincerely, An old person who admires you..whoever you are.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you so much for reading. I wish they could, too. Both the ones that are struggling and the ones causing the struggle. Even though the bullies probably wouldn’t get much from it, other than “TOO MANY WORDS UGH.”

      Thank you.

      Like

  • Unconfirmed Bachelorette

    This resonates with me. Jesus, I’m crying. You pulled me back there, 30 years ago. Well, 30 years was the end of it. And luckily not the end of me. You’re right, it does get better. Most of the time.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you so much for reading. I’m glad it resonated – sorry to have made you cry. Unless it’s a good cry. I love a good cry.

      It really does, doesn’t it? Get better? It’s so much better now, it’s like a whole new life. I can’t even describe.

      Like

  • 35jupiterdrive

    This turned me inside out and upside down and I actually had to walk away from it for awhile and I’m not yet ready to re-read it although I know I will.

    Thank you for writing this, thank you for your bravery. More from me later.

    Like

  • jbrown3079

    I promised I would comment. I had to wait until the right words came. I imagine just writing this gave you some peace of mind, but reading the comments above probably helped quite a lot.
    I had several memories of not just childhood but parenthood as well that reminded me of tougher times and hard decisions.
    I am glad there is a place to go for reflecting on our past with an eye on the future.
    Thanks for writing this.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you, John. You’re right – both the writing, and the reaction, have given me so much peace and comfort. I had no idea when I was writing what would happen. It was absolutely mind-blowing.

      Thank you for reading, and thank you for commenting, and thank you for being my friend. It’s so appreciated. I’m glad you’re in my life.

      Like

  • Rich Crete

    So one day per week I don’t get on the computer. This week I took Sat as my off day. Sun comes around and I find this from my favorite blogger.

    I’m not surprised, but am very glad so many of the imaginary friends were there for you when they should have been. I actually feel guilty I wasn’t.
    I feel like I’m peripherally one of your much older imaginary friends who should have had some sage, wisdomic shit to lay on you yesterday, but I took the day off. A day late and a dollar short. Sigh.

    Just know that it hurts me to learn you were hurt. Please accept an imaginary hug from an imaginary much older friend. (If that doesn’t invade your personal space….and if it does, tough titties I’m sending it anyway)
    You won he interwebs, again.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Favorite blogger? Aw, Rich! Thank you! Wow!

      Don’t feel guilty. The internet lasts forever. I’ll take the love whenever it comes. Yesterday was awesome; today’s been amazing, as well.

      Imaginary hugs are ok, because my imaginary personal space isn’t as easily invaded. We’re good. Thank you so much. I’m glad you’re here. My blog’s a better place with you a part of it.

      Like

  • shack

    Amy, this is the first I’ve ever stumbled upon your blog. Only know your name is actually Amy from the comments.

    There is so much of me in this post.

    I grew up in a tiny town in NW Kansas and went to the same school system k-12. My graduating class was about 30 people. I am a guy that has never cared anything for sports, was always insanely skinny growing up, loved to read, and found my interests and abilities were in music. It’s not difficult to figure out the label I wore throughout my high school days.

    Probably the most representative instance occurred when I left school one weekend to go to State Choir. I was the only student in my whole high school accepted. I had a hotel room to myself and had an incredible weekend that I remember as the best choir I’d ever been a part of to this day. I was flying high only to return home to the news that somebody had slashed my tires and keyed “faggot” into the paint job on the hood of my car.

    I just wanted to say, I feel much the same as you in every way. To this day, I don’t know why some hated me so much. It is irrelevant to point out that I am not nor have I ever suspected that I might be gay. I think I was and am a nice guy. I know others in my school who had it worse than me.

    I’m now 40 years old, been happily married for 18 years and have two beautiful daughters. I also made it through that time unbroken. It is odd to realize wounds I still carry. Just last week, I was trying to put together a playlist of 80’s bands to workout to and consciously avoided one certain band because of an association I have of being in the weight room while this other student was lifting weights to this band. This guy HATED me and had no restraint in letting me know. I don’t know why. But, I won’t listen to that band. ever.

    Anyway, thanks for sharing your journey. We both made it.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you for coming, and reading, and sharing. Much appreciated.

      I’m sorry you went through that. But I’m so glad you made it through the other side. It’s a testament to your strength.

      If it helps at all – from what I can tell over the past 36 hours or so, it seems to mostly have happened to the most amazing people I know. So you’re among good company.

      I hope you keep coming back. I’m goofier, usually. We have a good time. You’re always welcome.

      Like

  • Anonymous

    Why can’t I date women like you instead of women who turn out to have been mean girls?

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      According to the feedback I’ve gotten, we bullied girls are LEGION. Keep trying! I’m sure you will find one of us!

      And, thank you! That is so nice! Why can’t I FIND someone who wants to date someone like me, instead of being a weirdo magnet?

      Like

  • blogginglily

    Jesus. . . where to start. I suspect this is gonna get “long”.

    1) Awesome post. It’s weird, but it makes me sad that it was so hard for you to write. I wish it was easier for everyone to share “the truth”. You obviously have nothing to be ashamed of, and yet I’m sure it WAS hard for you to write. It’s sad. The way it should work is like this: “let me tell you the story of what an awesome kid I was, and the fucking douchenozzles that made my life hell”. But I know it doesn’t always work that way.

    2) I’ve been on both sides of this. I was in a small school too. I graduated with 32 in my class. I don’t go back to reunions. . . 1) because they’re in Montana, 2) because I’m ashamed of what a dick I was to some of the “kids” and 3) because I don’t like the people with whom I WAS friends.

    In 7th grade I was “cast out”. I went through a year. . . maybe a year and a half of the kind of bullying and torture you described. And then was welcomed back. But only a year and a half. I hated going to school. I hated being scared of the threats. I hated that I didn’t have friends anymore. I hated having my gym clothes spit on after class. I hated the names and always looking over my shoulder and making sure never to get caught out in town alone. But it was just a year and a half. When I came back from that, I was different. I was more reserved. . . PTSD perhaps. Shell shock. Don’t make waves. I quit the sports that involved running into hostile faces in the locker room. I stopped inviting friends over (cause I didn’t have any). And I didn’t tell anyone. I knew my parents couldn’t do anything about it, and I knew they’d get all sappy and sad and I was embarrassed and ashamed. And I didn’t need my parent’s permission to fight back. I was just too scared to do it.

    I thought about suicide, but only in a very academic way. . . thought about, then dismissed. But I didn’t have 9 years to think about it. Things might have turned out differently if the shunning had continued into high school.

    When I was invited to my last high school reunion, I knew I didn’t want to go. They asked everyone to write a little bit about themselves and I wrote back a brief blurb and an apology to the kids I’d been a jackass to, and that I wished I could have been a better friend and not such an asshole. The feedback I got from my “friends” (those that cast me out, then drew me back) was that “you were just a kid”, nobody holds it against you. “We were all just stupid back then.

    But that’s not good enough. Because. . .

    3) I have fucking kids now. And I know what it is to bully and to BE bullied. And I regret my bullying and I don’t want my kids to have to live with it. And any parent who has ever bullied someone had better fucking believe it can happen to THEIR kid. And do they really want that? Can they really think “you were just a kid” when the consequences of that bullying might cause their son or daughter to take his/her own life?

    4) When it was going on, I used to think to myself. When these assholes grow up they’ll stop threatening to beat me up because adults don’t do that. But. . . adults don’t stop being bullies, maybe most don’t actively shout “NERD” and “pants” another parent in the hall and P/T conferences, but there are still cliques and circles and belonging to those cliques and circles means potentially keeping your KID on the good side of THEIR kids.

    5) It does get better. But it never truly ends. Hopefully you develop the kind of coping mechanisms and defenses necessary to keep people from bullying you when you get older.

    6) Facebook. I was friending all sorts of people. Even people I didn’t really like. And then after a year or so, when i hadn’t made any overtures to them, nor they to me. . . I just stopped caring. Why the hell did I care if they were on my list or not. So i went back and deleted them all. I’m not saying people don’t deserve second chances. . . but I am saying, there are so many people worth befriending in this life. Why waste your time on someone you already KNOW you don’t like? “BLOCK”. BTW, I’m rejoining facebook this week, I’ll explain why another time, but it’s blog related.

    7) I worry about my kids. The defenses I’m trying to implement for them:

    I try to teach Emma that “friends” who treat other friends badly are NOT friends. I teach her that she should distance herself from them and stick with friends who are supportive and who appreciate her. But that won’t keep her safe from bullies. . . it’ll maybe just give her a better support network at school. That’s if she takes my advice.

    I try to teach Emma to trust me, by not being judgmental of her decisions and by encouraging her to confide in me so that I can be of some use if things get bad.

    I try to make sure that when “good kids” want to get together with Emma to play she is available, and when “bad kids” want to get together with Emma to play she is. . . not as available.

    I try to encourage her to stand up for herself and make her aware of when I’m proud of her, and make her think about whether she is also proud of herself.

    I try to keep Emma involved in activities where she develops friendships: girlscouts (although we quit that), girlpower (anti-bullying club), dance, and softball. . . she’s made friends in each of those groups, and those friendships make her less alone when she’s at school. . . and give her more in common with other kids.

    But if she runs afoul of some little dickhead. . . all of the above still won’t be enough.

    So far we’ve been really blessed with Emma, socially. She gets along with everyone. She doesn’t really have a clique, but she’s friends with all the little cliques. She doesn’t have a “best friend”. She has lots of good friends.

    But. . . she’s still young. THIS is when it starts. She’s in fourth grade. She’s in a new school where she and her friends are the youngest kids in the school. She’s “learning” from fifth and six graders. Everyone liked everyone in K – 3. . . now they’re starting to learn that some kids AREN’T to be liked. *shakes head*.

    Sorry you had to deal with it. Happy you decided to fight through it. I think you’re pretty fuckin’ cool, geek.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I told Ken that when you got here I’d hit the trifecta of weepiness. Yep. I called that one.

      Thank you, Jim. So much. This was wonderful. I am so sorry you had to go through that. I’m more upset that people I know and I care about had to go through it than I am that I had to. That probably means I’m all screwed up, but that’s how it is. I guess because I can empathize, and I hate thinking someone I care about felt that way too, be it for a year and a half or even five minutes. I’d like to go back in time and throat-punch all of those little bastards and take little Jim out for ice cream and tell him how awesome it all turns out.

      You’re absolutely right. It never does end. Maybe on one level – a tiny one? – it’s a good thing, when it happens to us as children. Better prepares us to deal with it and face it as adults. I see it so clearly as an adult. I know what people to avoid, because they’re bullies. Or what people to face down and call out for BEING bullies – and believe me, I’ve done that. Bullies bring out Shouty Amy.

      I was thinking of you and your daughters when I wrote this, actually. You’re probably my friend with the oldest children, and I know Emma’s getting of that age. You’re preparing her beautifully. That made my heart just ache. Good-ache, not bad. You’re giving her all the tools I didn’t have. That’s another thing you might not be able to do, if you didn’t have that experience. So again, maybe another slightly good thing to come of all of this? I don’t want to say “being bullied was AWESOME! Look at the LESSONS it taught!” but I do believe that we’re formed by all of our experiences, as I mentioned elsewhere in the comments, and what we do with that knowledge is who we are, you know? And you’ve done something powerful with it. Which is nothing less than I’d expect from you.

      I’m going to sap out all over you. Ken and Andreas got it, you can’t get left out. READY SOLDIER? Sure you are.

      Jim, my life is a better, happier, more fun, richer, and altogether fuller place with you in it. I am so happy I met you; I’m so happy every time you blog, every time we talk on Twitter, every time you comment. You just bring such joy into my life. You’re the brother I wish I had. And you’re an amazing dad, and you’re an amazing writer, and you’re an amazing husband, and thank you for being part of my life. I’m so glad I know you.

      END SAPPINESS.

      Also, if you don’t friend me on Facebook once you join, I’m so not going to invite you to meet me at the Erie Zoo when I eventually go there to see those interspecies friends. (Is it for that damn Draw Something? That’s on Facebook, isn’t it? Wait, you said it was blog-related. WHAT IS IT JIM. I’m dying of curious now.)

      Also, you’d better tell me how Emma’s audition went, I’m on pins and needles.

      (Thank you for this. You’re the best.)

      Like

  • blogginglily

    The weird thing about what I went through is that I don’t feel bad for little Jimmy. . . like, I don’t want to go back in time and hold his hand or anything. To me that all happened an eye-blink ago. It not like it was “past me” or something. It’s just me. And at the time it totally sucked, but then it was over, and that’s just life. I don’t know. it’s hard to explain.

    Anyway I always thought the best lessons I could pass along to my girls would be “how to spot a playa and stay the fuck away” BUT. . . what I’m starting to realize, much to my chagrin, is that my kids, like generations of kids before them. . . will most likely not listen to me. “He doesn’t know what it’s like. He’s old”. Meh. . . I can but try.

    Anyway, now I’m SO backed up on Amy blogs that I may have to let some slip through the cracks, because you post EVERY DAY, and I have the busy ness upon me.

    The audition. . . ahhhhh, the audition. . .

    The facebook thing is. . . Over last weekend one of the bloggers I follow linked to my blog from facebook. Over the weekend, because it’s such a pain in the ass to comment from my phone, I essentially read one or two blogs and check my “stats”. I’m all over my stats. It’s ridiculous.

    So to a little blog like mine. . . a GOOD day is probably somewhere between 150 – 200 views. A couple days after a post, if I’ve done nothing, I see somewhere around 50 – 80. The most views I’d ever had in a single day was like 205 or something.

    So this past weekend this blogger linked to my Ryan Gosling meme post (As one of the few male participants I think she felt it was noteworthy). So two things happened. The first is that I was participating in a meme that about 30 or so other bloggers were also participating in so there was interest outside my own bloggy friends. The second thing was that facebookers linked to my blog.

    So I checked my stats and thought that blogger had a glitch because I had 320+ views on Saturday morning. I felt like probably I had 170 or so from the post, and then maybe another 140 had gotten on, but blogger hadn’t reset the count from the previous day. . . but no. This link generated 600+ views for the day. . . which represented triple my typical views.

    She said, you know, you really should have a facebook page for your blog. So I thought. . . sheesh. . . if that many more people see it because I’m posting to a wider audience then I want to do that.

    THAT is why I’ll be rejoining facebook. my issue is, I don’t want it to be a private page. . . for me, Jim W. I want it to be a “Just a Lil Blog” page, and I don’t really know how to do that.

    When I figure it out. . . I’ll let you know.

    *hugs* Jim

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      JIM! That is AMAZING! I’ve never gotten that many hits in one day. Ever. You are WINNING!

      I’m so happy it’s off the ground. Only bigger and better things from here! I can just feel it! For both of us! WE WILL DOMINATE THE INTERWEBS, JIM!!!!

      You can miss a couple posts. I’ll forgive you.

      You need to tell me about that audition soon before I start to rock in a corner and have to breathe in a paper bag.

      Like

  • SimiCyclist

    What I find really odd is when you do bump into these cretins (after umpteen years have passed) they truly don’t seem to understand the depth of their actions. When presented with the real picture, the look on their faces are as if they’re looking at someone from another planet…totally befuddled. They were clueless then, and they’re clueless now.

    Like

  • davidjfuller

    Never had it as bad as this, but I get it. I had the good fortune to move on to different (and bigger) schools each time I went from elementary to junior high to high school. Had a way of letting you change/reinvent your peer group as you grew. But yeah. I know that feeling of being picked on. Thank you for sharing this Amy. It deserves millions of Google hits from all the kids being bullied, right now, AS WELL AS all the kids bullying and the parents who think things just aren’t that bad.

    Like

  • heartensoul

    I started reading this post when it initially showed up in my inbox and had to stop and come back to it. I was finally able to earlier today and still felt I should wait a bit before posting a comment. Thank you so much for posting this. I could relate to much of it, and as a person who still feels a lot of shame about my own experiences in grade school, this was a nice way to see there are others who feel exactly the same way I do. As someone who speaks to high school kids as part of my job and still feels the initial dread of judgement and mockery as though I were sixteen, it was a relief to see I’m not the only one who is an adult and still harbors these insecurities within even though they no longer define me or prevent me from living my life.

    “I identify so deeply with children who commit suicide due to bullying that I find myself weeping over the news reports. I hear about a school shooting and I immediately think, “What did the other children do to the shooter?” rather than, as a normal person might, ‘what was wrong with the shooter?'”

    Those statements especially resonated with me, and you just can’t TALK like that in society without people judging your sanity. But that is exactly what I do every time both of those events happen. So thank you, THANK YOU, for putting this out there.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you so much for reading, and for commenting. That means so much to me.

      This post made me feel so much less alone, and I’m so glad others were able to take that away with them as well.

      Like

  • ProfMomEsq

    I’m trying hard to put what I want to say into words, but the words are just not coming. I don’t know how to begin to describe this feeling. “Relief” doesn’t seem right, because I’m not the least bit “relieved” that you lived these experiences. It seems, though, the only adequate word I have to describe this feeling of knowing how deeply you understand me because you lived through this.

    The words that really struck me (and you are so goddamned articulate), were these: “A way out might have been to downplay my intelligence. That seemed to be what offended them most. However, strangely enough, that never crossed my mind. Everything else under the sun did – getting a boyfriend, changing the way I looked, talked, dressed, acted, everything – but suddenly acting less intelligent never even popped up on my radar. Thankfully. Because I probably would have done it, in order to make it all stop. In order to conform. And then I wouldn’t have had my escape hatch.” I alluded to this in my post, but I didn’t really explore it. I get it. I so, so get it. On every level.

    Here’s what it is. Although we experienced the Mean and the bullying in different ways, I felt like your words are a mirror; the image you’ve created is my reflection. Your words reflect my life. They reflect my heart and the fault lines running through it. It’s beautiful, ugly, freeing, painful, healing and heartbreaking all at once. Your words make me want to reach out to where that little girl hides quietly in your heart, brush her hair out of her face and just sit quietly with her so she knows she’s not alone.

    Thank you so very, very much. And I meant what I said to you before. Twinkle on.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      I’m glad you read the post. I knew after reading yours you’d been through some similar experiences & thought it might resonate.

      Thank you for your kind words. This was the hardest thing I’ve ever written. But also, the most freeing and the most cathartic. I’m so happy I did it. It was such a weight off, not to have to carry it all alone anymore. I hope your post made you feel that way, too.

      Like

  • She didn’t know… « Dancing with Fireflies

    […] Sometimes, I guess there just aren’t enough rocks. (lucysfootball.com) […]

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  • Morning Tempest

    You rocked this. You could have been telling my story as well as the story of so many other amazing people who also had to go through the hell we went through.

    Thank you! Now I need to go hug my daughter. Today we are making a stand against the kids who are taunting my daughter and making changes for the better. She’s being moved to a bigger school with more efforts being made to keep this from happening. We will not lose our daughter to the same violence that smashed us down as kids.

    Great job!

    Crysta

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you so much. I’m so glad you’re standing up for your daughter and moving her to a safer school. I wish someone had done this for me when I was younger. Thank YOU for making a stand and for helping her, and for showing her that being treated like that is not ok.

      Like

  • Anonymous

    You don’t know me because we’ve never met. But you know me. at 14 months sober after a youth spent trying to forget, I have just started to reveal my story. We are the same my sister. My tears while reading this are of gratitude and love. We are still here. We are NOT silent. we will continue. thank you.

    Like

    • lucysfootball

      Thank you for reading and commenting. Everything I can say seems small, somehow. But I can say: I know. And I’m proud of you. You’re a survivor. It helps to talk about it, if that’s an option for you. I didn’t think it would, but I’ve felt so much lighter since I put it out there.

      Stay strong. They didn’t beat you. They never will.

      Like

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