So Tell Me ... What's The Weather Like on YOUR Planet?

31 March, 2010

The flesh endures the storms of the present alone; the mind, those of the past and future....

I was unaware that a particular bullying and cyberbullying case had led to a bunch of local action before it was drawn to my attention recently.

I am incapable of commenting on the particulars of the case; I haven't looked into it. I honestly find the whole subject more than a bit triggery, so I cringe and hide when it comes up, a lot, rather than put too much thought into it, to trying to figure it out, trying to empathise.

You see.

I spent about ten years almost entirely unable to cry.

It's still hard for me, and I'm more likely to get a piercing headache that feels like my eyes are being crushed out of my head instead of tears, along with the driving need to shed tears and no capacity.

Tears would prove that they had won.

And that was even more unbearable than what they put me through.

So I held my tears until I was safely off the bus and away, out of sight, out of earshot, held them until I got home, held them, held them back, probably fooling nobody but that didn't mean I didn't need to try, until I could do nothing but hold them, frozen into veins of ice in my heart that have never fully melted.

Somewhere in there my parents tried to talk to the school administrators, who said "Boys will be boys" and shrugged; sexual harassment and at least borderline assault were nonevents. (And I look at the person who commented on the article I linked who wants to know what caused the "recent uprising in bullying" and wonder what fucking planet they're from. Nobody has ever cared to fucking stop it. I mean, the closest I've seen to any general awareness or giving a damn about it was post-Columbine? And maybe they're doing something about it in Massachusetts because of this poor girl.) Things like getting invited to a slumber party at an address that didn't exist ... well, the gash left by that hope that someone was interacting with me in a manner other than mockery didn't even register as something that needed a bandage, in amongst everything else.

I've said before that nobody escapes childhood unscathed, but some of us had a rougher time than others.

And I sit here thinking, "I have a child. I have a child. My gods, I have a child."

She is eight months old and I am terrified of school for her. I flail helplessly at all kinds of ways of doing schooling for all kinds of reasons, but a lot of them come down to this:

I'm still bleeding.

Somewhere deep in me is that kid who cannot cry, who views every human interaction with distrust because they all turn to ash and mockery sooner or later. That touchy agitation jumps too far, too hard, at any slight, any dismissal, waiting for the signs that it will turn into the knife twisting in the gut.

I'm still bleeding.

Even those people I trust most completely, most utterly, can make me jump. A bad day, a moment of distance, and I'm braced for the snap. Sometimes that bracing is worn smooth and old, a bare lump of awareness, something where I can ask my lion "Are you okay?" rather than half-hiding, half-cowering in the far corner of the room because I assume something's going to shatter and leave me bereft and laughed at, catching the sudden horrific backlash of a joke half my life in the making. I don't believe it will happen - but there's that sliver of horribly twisted, broken person in me that knows it has to be prepared.

I'm still bleeding.

My baby is so innocent.

I'm so scared.


Eve said...

I don't know if I had it as bad as that (my memories of childhood are fuzzy in a lot of places, so I don't remember), but I can relate to what you're saying.

Lissy said...

I was that kid too, the one everyone picked on. Primary school was the worst for me "Red hair no friends your mum's on the welfare" can still hear it ring in my ears (very middle class suburb)... books and knowing I was smarter than the idiots helped... going to high school helped too... I actually became friends with the guy who started all the teasing and he stopped... and then he died in a car accident and I had to leave school early the day they told us because some people somehow decided it was my fault! huh?

What really saved me was moving interstate at 15... I got to put all that behind me...

I have a huge thing about bullying, I interrogated every school principal I saw about how they handled bullying. I wasn't interested if they had a policy or followed education Department guidelines. I wanted to know what they would do if my kid was being bullied or worse than that was a bully. And the school my son is now at was the only one that where every person I asked could outline the approach they take and give me examples of how that worked in practice. That's why he goes there!

Tirani Starpath said...

I read your description of your reaction to others, of knowing that knife is there, of expecting that moment when things break away, and I recognized it. We are shaped and molded by our experiences. Things that leave scars and marks years, decades after the fact (and may not even be recognized until much later for what they are.)

Raising a child is a terrifying responsibility, that I have made a conscious decision to abstain from. However, that does not mean I can not or will not support others in their quest to raise their own, and to work to end or avoid the things that we both experienced.

Erin C. said...

I ache for you, reading this, because there's a part of me, too, that's always waiting for the people I love to turn on me, for everything to be a hideous joke where I'm the butt.

mamacrow said...

oh golly. horribly familiar, this post.... (I was bullied but.. not as badly, and not phsyically. still HURT HURT HURT tho)


My eldest was bullied at school. it was awful in all sorts of ways.