Thanks but no thanks

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Status: In Progress  |  Genre: Non-Fiction  |  House: Booksie Classic
Imagine being alone, people laughing at you and insulting you. Imagine you don't have friends but when you do people try and convince them to not speak to you. But Imagine your teachers bullies you. What would you do ? What would the consequences be on the short and long term ?
This is my story, the story of my life.

Submitted: July 25, 2017

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Submitted: July 25, 2017

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PART I

 

Chapter 1: Intimidation and Humiliation

 

I remember once, when I was fourteen I liked this guy. He was in my class at school and kept smiling at me and being nice to me. I thought that was love, I thought he liked me. I was wrong though. You know when you’re that age love and feelings is a new thing, it’s different from primary school kisses and boyfriends where everybody finds it cute. When you’re fourteen you feel like you’re so grown up, and you think that you need a boyfriend to be part of the popular ones, you think that love is the most important thing to have. But it isn’t and I realised that sooner than I thought.

You see this boy was good looking, he was smart, nice to the girls (or perhaps not) and really popular. He was the kind of boy that got on with everyone, got invited to all the parties and had all the girls wanting to date him. So when this boy came smiling at me, started talking to me I kind of got lost in his eyes and that was that. Boys can be wicked, especially if they know they are good looking and etcetera because they use that to get what they want and do what they want.

So one day I made the decision to tell him what I felt, scribbling it down on a piece of paper after spending days building up the courage. I had then given it to a friend, not signing it because I wanted it to be anonymous too shy to reveal my real name. Well it was supposed to be anonymous. My friend had the mission to go and give it to him, he did. But he said to the boy I liked that it was from me in front of a bunch of people you would classify as popular. Things gravitated quickly after that, most of the pupils in my year heard the news and it spread like bees at the sight of food. Really, really quickly. People were coming up to me to verify the news, one boy was running around the play grounds showing people the piece of paper I had written on. I can’t actually remember exactly what I had written but it seemed to be something like “Dear X, I noticed you smiling at me and couldn’t help notice and cute you are, I really like you”. Sounds lame now that I’m nineteen, but I assure you, and you probably know, but when you are fourteen that seems like the best plan to go along with.

A few days went by, where I tried to avoid him, difficult task since he was in my classroom and attended the same lessons as me. The people in my classroom really took it out on me. They kept laughing, saying I didn’t deserve him, that I was too ugly for him and that he was ashamed to have such a girl liking him. Another girl in my year liked him too so she tried to make my life a misery. She basically laughed at anything I did or wore, she turned older girls into humiliating me by insulting me saying that I was ugly and that no guys deserved me. They told all their friends and so the only people not laughing at me were basically the two younger years.

Things got worse one morning, our class had a break at a different time than other classes so it was just us. Just the 28 people of my class. I was sitting on a bench outside in the playground with a friend of mine when the boy came up to me. My heart was beating fast. I was probably sweating too in stress because for a week he had not said a word to me so I didn’t know what to expect. He asked my friend to leave, leaving just me and him with 26 people staring at us. I’m glad that when I was fourteen smartphones weren’t so popular or I swear someone would have filmed what was going to happen. I stood up facing him, he grabbed my hand and said “You know, I’ve been thinking about the word, you know, I really like you too. I think I have feelings for you. But I don’t want to date you know, I want to get to know you more before”. You going to say that that was good, that I must have been so happy. I was, I was so happy, I was nearly crying in joy, I still remember those words today. I still do and not because we then started to date and we were a happy couple. No. because that turned out to be the worst humiliation in my life.

After telling me those nice words, he walked back inside the school leaving me smiling like never. The other people were snickering, I didn’t notice strait away, but the joy made me brush it away. I walked back to my friend to tell her everything he had told me. The day went by, the whole school looking at me smiling, but I later realised they weren’t smiling like you normally do when something joyful happens, they were smiling out of pity. At 4 o’clock that same day as the school day ended. The boy came up to me, he looked at me and said “It was a bet with the people from our class, I don’t like you and I never will, you’re too ugly for me. Just leave me alone” and then he walked off as everybody around laughed. Leaving me alone, empty in the middle of the corridors. I didn’t sleep well the next few nights, not understanding why I had been humiliated like that and not understanding why I had deserved that. As the days and weeks went by, I got over it, things slowly fading away, people slowly forgetting as nothing at ever happened. But such a humiliation stays and even 5 years later I still remember each minute of it.

Humiliation. It can be described as acts towards a person or even an animal. The acts can be physical like hitting, pushing, shoving, throwing something at someone or psychological such as laughing at someone, insulting someone, or body shaming… The consequences on a person who is humiliated can be severe and can go from getting depressed to having suicidal thoughts or use mutilation to try and forget the humiliating moments and it often leads to self-esteem problems in the future.

Unfortunately, humiliation is part of the various forms of bullying we can find in schools over the years and in all countries. Many children are left alone to deal with bullying, often not telling anyone scared it might get worst. But what happens when the teachers also bully a child? What happens when the child commits suicide and the parents weren’t even aware of what was going on, not aware that their child was bullied because he had ginger hair or because he had a few extra pounds on? How can nothing be done to help thousands of kids whom fear to go to school the next day and struggle day after day whilst bullies get away with it? 

 

Chapter 2: My terrific primary school memories

 

My story didn’t start back when I was fourteen, it started a lot earlier, when I was 6 or maybe 7 and that piece of humiliation? Well let’s say it’s not what struck me the most. That’s not the worst piece about my story in my opinion.

I grew up in this small village in France, in the Alps. The was two primary schools, a big one located in a bigger part of the village and a small village one where I was and where we were only a hundred pupils. I was born in France but I have double French and English nationality, my mum being English. That’s probably what caused all the bullying but I’m not sure nobody ever told me why they bullied me.

You see jealousy can cause a lot of trouble, people always want what they can’t have it’s in humans nature. When someone has something that looks better than what we have, we want to have it, if it’s a pair of jeans then the task can be simple. But when it’s a second language, that’s when things get difficult. Learning a second language when you’re older is hard, but when you live in a small village it’s even harder. Where I live the village is small, it’s mostly people who have lived there all their lives, children going to the same schools their parent’s went to. So when a new family arrives, generally they integrate even though it can be difficult, but when the new family has English or other foreign members in it, it’s even more difficult.

We moved in a couple of months before I started pre-school, I made friends then, I went to birthday parties, and I was a happy girl. As the years went by, things started to get rocky. When I was 6 the girls in my classroom who I’d used to be friends with started being funny with me, one day I’d be the best friend, then I would be the one people shouldn’t talk too.

In September 2005, we changed teacher, and that’s when it all crumbled down.

The bullying started, the teacher we had was friends with most of the girls parent’s as they went to the same school when they were young. So the bullying wasn’t going to stop and I knew that. The teacher didn’t like me, even though I had good enough marks and that my behaviour was not a trouble either she would find anything to put me down.

At that point, the girls in my class blew hot and cold. They would talk to me one day and leave me crying the next. I remember once, a girl I had been speaking to for ages had started avoiding me. And she started whispering. And another girl started looking at me. And that’s how I discovered she was handing out to most of the school invitations for a birthday party. She had invited all the girls and a couple of boys of my classroom, you’re going to think that it was her choice. That she invited who she wanted since it was her birthday and that it wasn’t mine. But when you’re seven and the girl was supposed to be your friend and all the other girls are going, then you feel left out, you feel sad and you don’t understand why they are doing that to you. My mother tried to reassure me, but how can you feel better when all your friends are having birthday cake whilst you’re all by yourself.

When I was invited to birthday parties, I used to feel left out most of the time like if I was there because the parents had pity in me. The poor girl with difficulties making friends. The other children would try and get me into trouble because they dared me to do different things and then I got caught by the parents. I only did what they told me to do because I wanted to be part of the gang, their gang was the popular girls and they mentioned me being in their gang so I tried to do my best. Or they made me sit at the other side of the table in the corner (I suppose someone had to sit there), but when you’re already feeling left out it’s not the best place to sit at. I felt like a burden. I did have happy parties, I had birthday parties and they went well, we ran around the garden and we ate cake.

 When I was nine, this boy who was eleven stole my first kiss. I didn’t like him, he wasn’t attractive to me, and I never used to speak to him as he was older. I was sitting behind my bush, alone, as I did a lot back when the kiss happened. He came up to me, and started talking to me. I thought he was being nice, that he actually understood what I was going through. I was wrong. My first kiss was stolen and I still remember. I stood up as the bell rang signifying that the break was over and that we had to go back to school. He took my arm and I didn’t know what to do. He was like this tall guy and I was this petite girl. He was also overweight and that made him domineering and me scared. He started to pull me over him, my head falling on his chest and then lifted my head and kissed me. He kissed me. I pulled back in tears, not knowing what to do and ran off. I ran off to the toilet and I clearly remember spitting in the sick, washing my mouth out and whipping it with toilet paper. I had this bad taste in my mouth and I just wanted to get rid of it. We had to go back in class, I remember walking there, people laughing at me because I kissed a boy, not because he kissed me but because people thought I had kissed him and liked it. That was an extra few days of bullying ahead. The older kids started to make fun of me too. They would pretend to be my friend for a couple of days and then suddenly throw me away. They would say things like “how could you possibly think we wanted to be friends with you? “  I remember one girl who was eleven had talked to me for a couple of days and then said “I prefer playing with the 4 years old than you, just go away”. When the older girls brought their glitter pens in and made a tattoo stand in the playground, they just wouldn’t do me one or they scribbled a drawing of a poo on my hand. I remember once I had brought some sweets in for my birthday. Amazingly the whole playground turned out to be my friend. They all wanted sweets of course, but you see I was happy for people to like me and naïve too so I went along with it. I gave the sweets out and one boy came to me telling me that the was something liquid in his sweets I took them back, gave him my packet and ate them. I thought it was water because it just looked wet and the sweets had been sealed. He had obviously opened the packet spat in it, mix it up to make it look like it was water and gave it back to me. I ate his spit and he admitted it.

You see the bullying wasn’t constant, it’s the type of bullying that goes on and suddenly stops. The kind were you wake up in the morning, walk through the school gates and sit down at your desk with a knot in your stomach not knowing whether they are going to be friends today or not. The kind of stress that makes you try and skive of school pretending to have a fever.

If things were done to prevent bullying that leads to skiving school, then less students would do it probably. I liked school on the days I had friends and if someone like a teacher would have stopped it then I would probably have tried skiving less.

 

Chapter 3: The first big B.

 

When you’re at school, the more you are popular the more you have friends and the more power you have. I don’t understand popularity anymore, it’s the thing to have when you are in primary school or in your teenage years. But people who are popular are they really happy?

One of my main bullies was considered the popular one. We were seven and everybody listened to her. She ruled everyone around, decided who was whose friend and who was allowed to do what. She was like a tyrant. A bossy little chef in the playground. When I was not allowed to speak to her she would snicker when seeing me, she had an amazing ability of making other people laugh at me, refuse to play with me or just casually ignore me during the breaks. We had this game called “ball au prisonnier” that’s like a ball game where two teams play together and have to touch the other team with the ball to send them to prison. Teams. Many many children fear that time of the day during physical education or breaks where two leaders or more have to choose people in their teams. You always get someone who gets picked last, there’s no choice anyway. But when you get laughed at, ignored, pushed aside all day long being chosen last is just another glimpse of humiliation, just another moment where you know you’re not wanted. So then you walk into a group where everybody is huffing and puffing and whispering things like “Oh no not her”, “Hopes she hurts herself” or “why don’t we just ignore her, she might go”. The were also the times where the seven year old popular girl would decide that the teams were full leaving me alone with no friends, laughing away not seeming to understand that that’s unfair.

In those moments, the moments where I got refused in every team I used to go alone in a corner of the playground hidden away behind bushes. When I tried to talk about it to the teachers, I was turned away as they said I was just a cry baby. A teacher. How can a teacher say that to a girl when they are supposed to teach kids to respect others and get on with other kids. They witnessed every single bit of bullying but just said it was my fault and that I was a cry baby.

So after a few attempts I just went in the corner behind of the bushes. I clearly remember crying. When you get bullied crying is just an attempt to try and feel better. I would cling onto the fence surrounding the school, and cry out for my mum, tears pouring down my face nearly choking and feeling really lonely and begging for my mum and then feeling really sad as the school bell rang. I had the walk of shame back into school. Everybody knew I was bullied and everybody knew I would have cried behind the bushes even the teachers who probably laughed behind my back.

The chef seven year old and I used to be in the same gym club in our small village. And she used to make the most of that to put me down. Sometimes she used to sit and stay with me, the next time she would be best friends with other girls from the other school and totally ignore me, she used to leave me alone to scare to talk to anybody scared to be bullied by others. Our parents used to take turns taking us. One day, she was really happy to be my friend because the next day we were going to go to a special gym night event and I was driving with her, my mum was to drop me off at her house. I was really happy, she was my friend and I thought I was special to her because when you’re seven, you kind of always hope that it was just a bad joke all the bullying. So the next day my mum dropped me off. And my hopes were lost again. She had asked her mum, who knew she was to bring me, to invite other friends and cousins to the special gym event. Leaving no place in the car for me. So she then got nasty with me playing with her other friends. I was alone so mum had to bring me.

When you’re the boss you think you’re invincible, you think everyone will listen to you, primary playgrounds follow that rule. I mean everybody wants to be friends with the bully because if you dare to stand up for the victim, you’ll be the next one. And even so, being a bully often means you’re popular and everybody wants to be part of the popular gang.

But are popular people really that happy? I don’t think so. It’s all very well having loads of friends but are they real ones? They’re probably friends with the popular bully because they fear her or are too weak and need protection so they are basically not real friends. And then when they grow up being popular isn’t just about who you can bully until they cry or mutilate themselves. No. When you’re a teenager, being popular takes another turn. It’s all about the likes, the best gang of friends, the most money or the best parties. If you don’t have a few of those then unless you have something like a really good sense of humour  then don’t count on it, you won’t be the boss anymore but you might be able to get in the popular gang if your considered “good looking”.

I know what happened to the main bully of primary. She’s mostly unhappy. She always was. Payback time I guess. She used to be in her mother’s shadow who was very domineering towards her, she would make her do so many after school clubs, if the girl had grades under 18/20 then she would be really mad at her and make her do extra work. The mum controlled her whole life so the daughter was probably a bully to overpower her mum and get control over something. She carried on during all of primary but then I change schools and a friend of mine said she called down but was domineering over her gang during primary. Her mum lost control and she started the partying, the drinking, the boob showing on Instagram and that was that. She doesn’t look any happier than me now.

That shows us that you may have been bullied but bullies are probably sadder than us deep down. They bully to feel better. But when you’re able to put a smile back on your face and live a normal life leaving all that behind, they may still be as sad and that’s sad.

Chapter 4: How to be a bully teacher

I’ve already mentioned teachers not standing for pupils who are the victim of bullying. That is actually a true fact, that’s what happened to me.  When you get bullied, you don’t know how to get out of the infernal spiral, you don’t know who to talk too. Talking is very important, it’s harder when you’re completely alone to face all the trouble. You can either tell your parents which can be hard for some people as they don’t want them to worry or be ashamed of you been “weak”. You aren’t weak when you get bullied, being bullied is hard to understand when you haven’t been bullied yourself. But I promise that you aren’t weak. The second option is to talk to a person of trust, a friend or a best friend. But you need to have one. Not everybody being bullied have a friend they can trust. A trustworthy person can be a teacher, but there’s the trick. Teachers aren’t prepared during their studies to face bullying. So when they get a student who’s bullied they don’t always know how to react, and usually end up telling of the victim. In my case, as I mentioned previously, the teachers were friends with the other children’s parents.

They weren’t going to defend me, what would they win apart from conflicts with the other parents claiming I’m the problem and that I should go and see a psychiatrist. That actually happened. One teacher dared to mention to the parents that their kids were bullying me and the parents declared their kids had no problems that I was looking for it.

But what happens when the teachers actually bully the student. Moral bullying.

I remember once, I was ten. We had to draw a picture illustrating what job we wanted to do later on. The pictures had been hung on the classroom walls. Amongst bakers or lawyers and even businessman my picture was there. I had always loved medical sows on T.V and so since I was about seven, I wanted to be a paediatric surgeon. I would cut open my teddy bears and stich them back together, I knew some medical terms, and I even owned a real stethoscope. One day we had a school meeting were my mum had to go and meet my teacher who was also the headmistress. We sat down and she took my drawing off the wall. She looked at my mum and said we had a serious problem, she said I was never going to achieve that dream, that I wasn’t good enough in maths and that I wouldn’t even have my Baccalaureate. We were like eight years away from my final exams, and she declared I was basically a failure and that my dream was unrealistic. Who says that to a ten years old? 

I’ve always thought that a teacher’s job was to help students out and not hurt their feelings in such a way. I had good marks, but she said to be a surgeon I needed better ones. She said I was too much of in a hurry. Well when you’re ten you still have plenty of years to learn how to take your time.

Another memory was when we were playing outside in the playground. Or at least the others were playing, I was just getting bullied by the teacher and the other pupils. It was mid-winter I had a woolly hat on and the other children were trying to take it off me and making me catch it by throwing it in the air. Typical kind of bullying. But my hat flew over the school fence on the path the other side. We weren’t allowed out of the school premises so I had to go up to the teacher who was also the headmistress and ask her if I could go and get my hat.  She looked at me as if I was a fool or an alien and ignored me. I insisted mentioning my mum not going to be very happy and she said it could wait until the evening. Then the other girls arrived and told the headmistress I had been annoying them. She instantly believed them and said “Just leave her, she’s a fool anyway”. I mean which headmistress insults a student. They’re supposed to represent strict attitude not letting kids get away with bullying and then insulting the student.

So that day I walked out of school in front of the teacher, grabbed my hat and walked back in. Small victory but standing up for yourself is important. Talking is important too, that’s why my mum always knew what was going on, she was like my only friend and I told her everything. She would comfort me and just talking about it made me feel better in the evening. The other thing that used to make me better was eating peanut butter that was my comforter. I used to hide with the jar of peanut butter and spoon it out. The more I got bullied the more I ate peanut butter. But the more I ate peanut butter the more I got rashes all over my body. It got so bad and itchy I couldn’t sleep properly and had to put cold flannels on my body to calm the itches. I was diagnosed with an intolerance to peanuts. So off course that led to another teacher bullying me. My mum had to go in and explain that I struggled to calm the itch and she asked that I could go to the toilet to put cold water on my body. The teacher asked to see so my mum lifted my t-shirt on and the teacher said “That’s disgusting” she eventually agreed to letting me going to the toilet, but she did make me feel like a monster, a disgusting one.
Neutrality, aren’t teachers supposed to be kind and reassure students especially when they are going through illness or bullying.

The next thing I remember about my teachers not helping me going through bullying was when we were singing. It was in the early summer, and it was hot outside. We had been singing for two or three hours when a boy in my class fainted due to the heat. They looked after him, giving him water and reassuring him. Maybe twenty minutes after that I fainted too. I woke up on the floor, the teachers barely paying attention to me, people had just moved around me. I stood up and a teacher grabbed my arm and pulled me towards the window where she lifted up my shirt in front of the classroom. Another humiliation since I had the rash due to the peanuts. She then told me to get out and go away since I had copied the boy who had fainted. She defended a boy she thought I was copying for fun. But when people make fun of me who defends me? I lived that as an injustice, it was hot, people faint when it’s hot.

 



© Copyright 2017 EloiseGregory. All rights reserved.

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