Best. Friends. Forever.
Such a simple phrase. It's filled with love, with loyalty and with trust. This is my story of falling apart. This is my story of bullying and the life it nearly took.
Contrary to the belief, my bully was not my enemy. No, my bully was my best friend. Katie. That was her name. We were best friends. We ate lunch together if we're in the same class. We sat together on the bus, we were always together at recess, we talked on the phone for hours. Katie was a bit popularity obsessed. She always tried to fit in and sucked up to the populars. I didn't really like it, but friends were suppose to accept flaws. We were there for each other. When her grandmother died I was the one holding her as she cried. When her parents fought and eventually got divorced I was there to cheer her up and listen. When someone said something mean to her or about her I'd defend her. She'd listen to me rant and cry. She'd help me with homework and if I forgot to do it she'd let me copy. When I was sick she'd come and visit me and make me happy. We said we'd be each others maid of honor and name our kids after each other. I thought we'd be best friends forever.
How very wrong I was.
It was a warm spring day. Katie hadn't been on the bus so I was a little worried, but I assumed she was just being driven to school. At school, Katie hadn't come and found me yet. That should have been my first clue that something was wrong. She'd always come and see me in the mornings. In my worry, I hadn't noticed the stares or the looks. Not at first. I noticed when I tried to talk to one of my friends about Katie (It's been so many years that I've forgotten that friend's name and her face is just a blur in my memory). But I will never forget the look on her face when she looked at me. Annoyance, hatred, pity, and most of all disgust. I remember freezing where I stood as she shook her head and walked away. I didn't understand what was going on. I went to other friends, but the reaction was the same. Some would say hi, but they would leave quickly. In class, I was given the cold shoulder. i didn't tell any of the teachers, because I didn't want to be a tattle tale and it might have just been a passing thing.
Later at recess, I found Katie and asked her what was going on. Disbelief and disgust filled her face. I asked her again getting more and more worried and confused by each passing second.
"You want to know what's going on? Fine!" She snapped shocking me because Katie never got mad at me.
"You think you're so freaking perfect don't you? Well guess what? You're not. You're so stupid. You act so smart and sweet and perfect but you're just as obsessed with popularity as I am. And you know what? I'm going to be popular. All the looks and ignoring you're getting is part of my way in. Angela said that if I want to be in the popular group all I have to do is spill some secrets and start some rumors. Honestly, if you paid attention to what I say to you you'd know this was going to happen. It's the only way for someone like me. And they way you treat me, you should have known I'd spill about you. You treat me like a pet. You're so freaking clueless!"
Shock. That was the only emotion that flowed through my body.I still remember every hurtful word and the shock that came with it. For years her words stuck in my head. I became a pushover because of those words. I became afraid to defend myself or do something my friends might not like. Strangely enough I did not cry. Not at that moment. But tears definitely came. I spent the next few days being tripped, shoved, ignored and hated. People would knock into me, aim for me in gym and push my books from my desk and hands. Within 3 days all my friends hated me and abandoned me. Within a week the whole school. I tried telling the teachers and my parents, but bullying wasn't a big deal back then. The teachers would take recess time away or gave warnings which resulted in harsher treatment towards me. My parents said, I was old enough it on my own and I was just being a crybaby. Eventually I stopped saying anything because I had gotten so tired of no one helping.
I started cutting.
I can't remember how I got the idea into my head but I do know it helped me ignore the pain. The emotional pain I mean. I never cut too deep and I always covered it with my mom's makeup. It took two more weeks of the school's bullying and hatred before I tried to kill myself.
My parents left me at home one day and I walked to the kitchen. I didn't know you could overdose on pills, so I went for he knives. I had the knife ready to plunge into my heart and end my torture. But just as I was about to a vision of my mom popped into my head. My mother and I were really close. I loved her more than anyone, even my dad. But in that kitchen as I prepared to end it all she stopped me. I couldn't put my mom through that pain. So put the knife away and cried. I cried harder than I ever did and I hoped.
I met Sarah the next day. She is the reason I got out of that hole I was in. She didn't believe the rumors and so she befriended me. Hanging out with her showed that the rumors weren't true. People forgot the rumors and spoke to me again. My friends apologized and returned. And yes I forgave them. Pain had changed me. I saw people beyond physically appearances. I tried to see good, no matter how small, in everyone I've met through my life.
Katie never apologized not once in the years gone by. Sometimes there were moments when she and I would see each other and she'd look like she'd want to say something but those moments were always broken, either by one of us or outside forces. I've forgiven her though. Due to her betrayal I became insecure, a cutter, suicidal and developed trust issues, but if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't have saved the people I saved from themselves.
Deliah, a great friend of mine, was a cutter and suicidal. She faced remarks and bullying about her looks, weight and sexuality. I talked her out of suicide, multiple times and helped her stop cutting. Alice, my sister in every way but blood, struggled with her body issues, insecurity, comments about her being bisexual and the consequences she faced when she came out. I saved her from her suicidal thoughts. She'd been close to doing something but I dropped into her life at the right moment. Vanessa, my fabulous best friend, had anorexia and struggled with her body and especially what people thought of her. I stopped her from taking a bottle of pills that would have ended her life.
I was 9 years old and in the 3rd grade when I became suicidal and a cutter. Alice, Deliah and Vanessa were in the 6th grade when I stopped them. Bullying exists in all ages. We were just lucky to have found each other.
My friends and I were the lucky ones. We managed to over our pain and insecurities. But not all of us do. Life's hard enough without people bullying you. Some people don't get back up. So think before you do something. It might be the spark that destroys someone's life. Words can injury, but the bruises can't be seen. After all, sticks and stone may break our bones but names will break our spirit.
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