My name is Art Hero. I'm twelve years old and I have already dealt with the tortures bullying holds. I have a brother named Jake, a cat that recently died, a dog named Lucy, and two divorced parents. And this is my story. It started when I was six-- I think it happened because when I was little, I didn't understand what was bullying and what was kindness; it was my innocence that made me a target. My parents always told me I was good at making friends, even when it was just random strangers, but it wasn't like that when I went into elementary school. I kicked and screamed and told them I wanted preschool again, because I was obsessed with never letting my childhood go, never growing up. I only made one friend throughout all of kindergarten, and another in first, but that was it. Not even a group of friends through all of Pre-K, first, second, or third grade. In second grade, my parents put me in a Catholic school. This was probably the worst idea they ever made (because I'm not Catholic, so I was bullied for being different). I don't know why they put me in there, they probably thought I would make more friends and be like a normal kid, but it was the opposite.
I was bullied for the stupidest of things:
- Liking hello kitty
- Not being able to be in most of the activities because of religious purposes
- Being so weak
- BEING DIFFERENT
Liking Hello Kitty
I'd say it was the first month of the new school year when it started, the taunting. Three kids were the "leaders" (as I call them) of the main bullies throughout the school. Two were boys (I forgot their names, though) but strangely, I remembered the girl’s. The other was a girl named Noel. Now Noel, I could see, didn't like bullying. But I knew why she did it-- if she didn't do it, then she would be the one picked on. I forgave her, and secretly, behind the other’s backs, we were friends. One day, the taunts they threw at me hurt so bad, I turned to Noel-- who was the one hurting me the most-- and screamed (something along the lines of) "How could you do this? Noel, stop! We're friends!" And she told me something that shattered me. She told me that we were never friends, that I was just garbage. That's when I knew I wouldn't have any friends. Then, one day during recess, I was sitting alone against a wall by the cafeteria that was an opposite building a little bit away from the school. I was sitting with my Hello kitty lunchbox reading my Hello Kitty book. The three came up with a few others and questioned me on how I could possibly like something so childish. I couldn't even defend myself and for three months straight, they wouldn't stop teasing me about that one moment. I hated them for even that.
Maybe being Methodist wasn't the problem, maybe they hated me for religion because I thought that they were wrong about what they thought. There was a giant church attached to the school that every morning we would go to and pray, right? But the older kids would always being doing these cool things they said we could do towards winter. December came fast, I was happy and cheery because I could finally go up to the alter (not realizing I had hella stage fright at the time ><). I got to school and was giddy, entered the cathedral and sitting down. They called everyone but me. And later I found out why. "You can't go up there, you weren't baptized up Catholic ways" my teacher told me. You know who you are. I hate her. I hate her for even that.
Yes, being weak. Isn't that why most bullying happens? Because people feel good when others feel weak? That isn't okay:
I would tell the teacher my sorrows, my hurt, my pain. She wouldn't care; she saw me as a freak. The one I am. All the things I knew and loved were considered to be a part of my small demeanor. Maybe if I was born to someone else, it would be different. I remember the first time I stood up for myself and I wish I hadn't. It was one day in the classroom when the teacher had exited for a moment for idle chat with the vice principle when the taunters came and did there taunting. I think at that moment I hit the very edge of the breaking point because I screamed at them. LOUD. But they regained composure and continued. I finally told my mom and she talked to the principle who said they'd deal with it. They didn't. The final straw was one day in the cafeteria when a kid threw milk on me and I got in trouble for it. I was immediately taken out.
Everyone thinks they're different. EVERYONE. After that Catholic School, I went back to my old one, Coram Elementary. At least the bullying wasn't as bad; I was still an outcast. Towards the end of third grade (March), I moved to Florida. I was dragged away from New York, screaming, crying. Nothing hurt more than that did. I left my home, the only place I had ever known, ever loved. I still sit here, crying as I type. How would you feel if your entire existence was tattered and rotten, but all you ever had; all you ever loved, all of it fell away as you held it right in your hands? Even in Florida I was such an outcast, I had to change my entire personality; I had to change me to finally belong. Though when I moved, I had to leave my Saviour. This girl named Lacy, she was about thirteen. For some reason, no matter what I do, I'm always the youngest, stuck with the big kids. Though with Lacy, I didn't mind; she was the nicest girl I had ever met, my first real friend. Lacy L., my hero. The day I moved, I asked if I could say goodbye to the only friend that I felt I could count on, and the big sister I never had. I couldn't. And it broke me in ways nothing can be broken.
Lacy was a young girl with black hair and dark eyes. She has a brother named Sammy and an over controlling, bipolar mother (I forgot that idiot's name). She had a dog named Max and lived in a nice house a tiny forest away from me (less than two minutes while walking). Yes, her house was pretty messy ("pretty messy", more like "pretty filthy"). We met one day, one of the first days she moved into Bretton woods, in the forest. She and her brother were exploring and so were Jake and I. We talked from about twenty feet apart before her mother called her inside. I didn't see her until a month later when I heard voices. My curiosities lead me to follow through the woods to another small piece of the large neighborhood to be greeted by two women and a strange girl. This side of Bretton woods looked magical, like a Wonderland. I saw that girl, but I wasn't sure if it was the same girl. Her mother looked at me with distant eyes. "Who are you?" She asked. Lacy told her mother she had seen me a few weeks ago in the woods. Her mother's face didn't change. The rest of that day was a blur. All I truly remembered in the time of our friendship was I finally had someone. The sister I never had, and could never keep....
About a year into our friendship, her mother's bipolar signs were off the charts. Lacy couldn't go over my house anymore because her mom didn't trust my mom. I was allowed over there, though. It still broke me in unbreakable ways that shattered me. The last time I saw her was at a restaurant after her mother didn't allow us to talk anymore. We played in the Play House until her mother had a fit and they left. I still remember that moment. She was wearing her mother's baseball cap that she had gotten grounded for taking, her hair flaring out in the most entrancing ways. The way her freckles made her look younger and how the daylight made her face bright. I wanted to say goodbye on the last day of me living in New York, my parents said no. Let's just say, they had to drag me away, screaming and crying.
New York to Florida
When I first got to Florida, I had to live in a temporary apartment until the house was ready to move into. It was small, but I loved it all the same. Maybe it was because I was small, but I loved everything I grew attached to, even if it was only for a couple months. I met my first friend in a week or less. I thought I was getting good at the friendship thing. But then it got hard, people got crueler, some people wouldn't talk to me for different reasons and some even thought I would be mean because I'm from New York. It was ridiculous, and all I could think about was home.
Home wasn't just the house, even if it was a big part of why I didn't want to leave. There were other things besides the inside of the house that I would miss (even though I still grieve about it all). Home was the golf course beside my house. Home was the beat of my heart as I walked through my woods, even if it was a public forest, I felt like it was mine because no one else went in there, it was all mine. Every tree and every leaf. Home was the veins of My Forest, the way I could almost feel the heart of it. Like it was alive and I was the Mother. Home was childhood, but on that day I was dragged from my Forest and my house and my family and the little friends that were mine, when I was dragged from my childhood, I couldn't bear it. I still cry at the thought of my old house, because I've looked it up online, and it looks trashy now. They destroyed my own room, turning it pinks and pinks, and pinks and destroying the once beautiful lavender walls that my dad painted by hand, stroke by stroke. They replaced the nice deep red paint in the living room with a disastrous baby blue. The only thing even remotely the same was the kitchen. I had lived there, spent my life there, I remember when I was five years old and skipping around that house, four, three, heck, I remember some of my two-year-old moments. How dare they. How dare they do this to something so precious?
So you wouldn't believe how destroyed I was when we got into this gigantic, one story house with a big pool and extra rooms we had no idea what to do with. The house in New York was a condo, small and cozy but big enough that it was okay, big enough that we had all the room we needed. In New York, we had a community pool where all of our neighbors would go and have fun, where I would befriend strangers and have the best of times. Our house was two-stories and not too fancy, but comfortable and nice. This one looked like the rich had just given their house a triple overtime makeover. I hated it. Then it got to the point where I could finally force myself to sleep in that room and not have nightmares. I finally started to like it, even love it. Soon enough, I was calling it home instead of "House". I went in the pool every other day or so and was totally comfortable with it. I was happy again. Friends, life, even crushes to giddy over. Then my parents started acting weird. They were always sleeping in different rooms and yelling. The one time I remember the most is me getting out of the shower and they were standing there screaming in the kitchen. I stared for a moment before storming into my room.
After third grade, things got better. I had made a few friends and things were already better for me. But I missed New York even if I like Florida, still do. Then fourth grade came. The first friend I made in Florida was there-- Valessa. I was so happy to see her.... sitting by someone else? She introduced the girl as Emily. Deadly pale with black hair and brown hair, freckles all over. She was innocent but didn't seem to have much emotion. I got jealous thinking she'd take Valessa away from me, but even today we're friends, still. Then I met Ethan. Blonde hair, brown eyes, a bit taller than me, but he had imagination. He was the first boy I ever truly loved, not some little crush but something more. But he liked other girls. He probably liked every girl except me. But we were best friends. He even introduced me to some of my current day friends. Like Savannah.
No longer together
A few months later, it was the day of the Super Bowl. My parents were giving each other this worried look that I didn't understand. We were going to my friend Valessa's for a party and whatnot, but about three hours before we left, my parents called a "family meeting". Now these things only happened when something serious was going. Then they told us. They were getting divorced. Then it all made sense: the fighting, screaming, arguing, more than couple should, when they looked at each other with disgust and I thought it had something to do with me. Then something shattered in me. Like when you break glass and you try to put some pieces back together, tears in your eyes (especially when this object means something to you) and you just give up. Then we went to the party anyways after hours of crying alone. Then I told Valessa, and she knew before me. Do you know how it must feel for other people in the world to know more about your parents than you do? To think that maybe you'd always be the first one they'd want to see and talk to about something, to think maybe they had some common sense and actually cared about you? No. And that's when I gave up trying to put the pieces back together.
The story of a girl
I followed Ethan around as if he was a God. My God. He introduced me to a lot of my recent friends and enemies. Then, one day, he introduced me to this little girl named Savannah. Aw, she was so sweet, we were instantly friends. Talking, playing, doing little kid stuff. I knew I was always the youngest of people, everywhere I went I felt obligated to be strong and tough because I've always been seen as weaker. She was always so independent; I didn't know what to do. But this girl; she made me feel like something more. We lived in two worlds. Long story. Anyways. Savannah was gorgeous, I envied her. Red-brown hair, blue eyes you could lose yourself in, pale skin, not a freckle or zit or detail out of place. I wished I could be her so much, to live as her for a day, no matter how bad her life was at home. She may not have had too many friends, but she had more than me.
People have always looked down on me, she always does, but she became the sister I could never have. The older one that picked on me and tossed me around, but I didn't care. When I moved from New York, I was an outcast. I had left my family, my life, my possible future. And Savannah, she was like the family that wasn't almost a thousand miles away. And I loved her for that. Savannah made me laugh, caused me to cry myself to sleep, yet made me feel like I could be someone. I met her family, her friends; I had the best of memories with her. And I thought "wow, this is my new life.... if this is it, I'm never going back to New York...." I stopped complaining about moving to Florida, even forced myself to like it (and eventually, I actually did). All for her. Then she began to change. Her parents were getting harsh. They smoked (still do), drank every night, have lung cancer, all of that. So, I was like a sister to her too. I hugged her when she cried, made her laugh because she said I was best at that, I felt like I could actually do something to help. Then she started pushing me away....
In sixth grade, we had started middle school and the drama was off the charts. Don't even get me started on this girl named Brianna. Gosh, we got into this giant argument and that sort of ended that friendship, and Savannah supported me through it, standing up for me and being my big sister. I thought I finally had her again; that the girl I looked up to was still here. Still with me. Then she started cutting herself, saying how she didn't deserve to live, calling me names, saying I need to grow up, making me feel like nothing. I hated it. But I couldn't tell her how I felt, how I was beginning to hate her, because she was all I had.
Then we met Maia.
Maia: short brown hair, pretty eyes, round face, tall. Instantly, Savannah was all over that girl. Suddenly, Maia had turned to Savannah, Savannah turned to me, and I turned into a worthless nobody floating out in space. They were best friends, always going places and doing things without telling me for weeks, making me feel like a third wheel. Then I realized: I am a third wheel... That's when something changed in me. I tried to act goofy because Savannah always said I was childish, so why not be so? I tried to act tough and cool, because that's how I saw Savannah, so why not be so? I tried everything, throwing myself at her in every direction, but Maia was always on a platform, rising high into the air, anime sparkles around her, grabbing Savannah's attention no matter what. Maia kept pushing Savannah away, calling her names, making her cry herself to sleep, making her feel like nothing. And I thought, "Finally, Savannah gets to know how I feel! She deserves it. She used to be my sister, now she bleeds and cries and expects me to comfort her, but when I do, I'm shoved and bitten and told I'm nothing". And I realized: that's what Maia does to Savannah, or what Savannah thinks Maia does. And Savannah was lashing it out on me.
She hurts me in ways I can't even begin to describe. She was worse than a bully, because I can't stop her. Because it's not that I'm not afraid to stand up for myself, I'm afraid of losing her.
Ah, this is an interesting one. Brianna. I met her in the fourth grade (Ethan's doing). She was sweet and innocent in that little shell of her own, but while everyone adored her, I sensed something bad and awful about her. Not in the way people can sense a possible mad murderer man, but I felt like she was capable of ruining all of my friend's lives. I pretended to like her, laughed and played, and did little kid stuff. It was like it was with me and Savannah. No, Savannah isn't that.... corrupted. Savannah-- though I can't admit the love-hate I feel for her-- is a different corrupt. By fifth grade, Ethan had left our school. It broke me but for some reason, everyone was happy that he left. How could they say that? How...?
Brianna and I became friends, though. Soon Brianna, Stephen, Parish, and I were all a little group of our own. The geeky, fun, playful group that you could put in a million categories, that’s what we were. We were inseparable, us all. Things changed in fifth grade. I texted her something like the meaning of our names and she got offended for some unknown reason, going off about how I was a horrible person and she has better friends than I’ll ever be. It hurt, and we became enemies. She made rumors about me, saying I called her ugly. People came up to me questioning me on how I could do such a thing as I tried to explain how much of a hot-headed drama queen Bri was being and how I would never. We didn't talk, barely glanced at each other. I felt bad for something I shouldn’t. For some reason I found myself apologizing for something that she should be doing for /me/. So I stopped doing so. I even burned the hate note she gave to me one time, and I thought I was going slightly insane seeing as I actually enjoyed it.
The Demons No One Knows About
All I can hear in my head is:
“I hate you.”
“I wasn't talking to you!”
Echoes of the insults, dancing through my consciousness 24/7, they drive me crazy. Most of them came from other people, but a select few are from those vile hellhounds that hiss in my ear. And they won’t stop. I’m obsessed with the notion that something is out to get me, living in the dark. When someone stares at me for a second too long or in the wrong way, I immediately think they’re some kind of mind-reader. I believe in the theory that magic is real. Perhaps my fears of the demons in my head are from some minor form of schizophrenia or a schizophrenic disorder?
I’m going to end this here. I wrote this, not just to complain about it all, but to show you that you are not alone. No matter what form of bullying, it is always not okay. Some kids may not realize they are doing so, but it is not okay. This is just a few examples of what I've been through, this isn't even the entire book. This is not my life or my being; this is just a tale, a story. This is the story of a Victim. This is me.
By writing some words below, you are showing your support and letting everyone know they're not alone.