Monday, January 02, 2006

The Early Years

The bullying had happened before I kept a journal. I wish I would have kept a record but my mind recalls enough...

I entered grade one as a quiet child. There were no cliques then, I was accepted. The teacher thought I was slow though. The next year she placed me in the "B" class.

The grade two teacher liked me and could see that I didn't belong there.

In grade three, I was back with the original group. Along with gaining weight, I was really good at spelling. So what is the matter with that? Well, this impressed the teacher and besides that, she liked me too and would praise me from the front of the class, saying what a good worker I was. I don't think they appreciated that. I was the teacher's pet.

I had made a good friend though that year. She moved in from a country school. Her name was Laurie. (the same Laurie from the Excerpts of a Life) We became friends after the teacher asked her to help me clean my messy desk. I have always been blessed with good friends.

I remember the problems starting especially in grade four. I started developing early and some of the boys used to grab me. I was so fearful, as I never knew when this would happen. I've only recently realized that I was being sexually abused.

Grade six was in particularly bad as well. During this year, the popular girls joined in with the taunting. They loved to put tacks on my desk seat and watch to see if I would feel it. They would laugh if I didn't because I was overweight.

The teacher once put me in a row with all the native and misfit boys. We used to have math contests where we would go to the board and complete math equations. I was really good at math so my score brought ours up. I remember our group's elation as one of the native boys completed accurately and quickly his equation. How our team cheered! I loved the comraderie we shared in that moment. That was the highlight of the class year for me.

That grade six teacher was my favorite. He also put me in a special group of the "smart and caught up kids" to make a paper mache map for the class. I appreciated these little acts as they kept me going.

Grades seven-nine were the same. They cruelly put me down whenever there was opportunity. I remember once in Guidance class, the issue of bullying came up. The teacher asked us what we could do if we were bullied. I shyly answered, "Ignore it." One of my tormenters from across the aisle, whispered to me,"Now we will bug you all the more."

I was in an Industrial Arts class, when one of the girls came up to me, she wasn't one of the regulars, and said something, I don't remember what, and I replied to her, "What have I done to you?" I remember crying, but I don't know if it was in front of her. I hope not. I had been so strong up 'til then.

It is hard for me to fathom now the cruelty of children. This was not just a few, there were many involved. It was in fashion to pick on Carol. Like I said, I had a group of friends but they weren't with me in the same classroom. I met Mango as well in the summer before grade six so I had a strong support group.

I had to get this out and I cried as I wrote it. The damage that was done to my self esteem is still present but I have a feeling that 2006 will see more healing from the damage of these years. It is my hope and prayer.

Thanks for listening,
Carol


This was brought on by Barbara's post on bullies.

15 comments:

sister celtic said...

HEY CAROL YOU WERE ADORABLE.. I WAS POPULAR AND I'D OF LOVED YA AS A FRIEND..I TENDED TO GO FOR THE UNDERDOG AND BE THEIR FRIENDS AND THEY WERE LEFT ALONE.. I WAS A PROTECTOR CARE GIVER TYPE.. PLEASE READ WHAT I SAID IN COMMENTS ON BARBRA'S BLOG TRYING TO CATCH UP.. TYRA JUST HAD THIS BULLIE THING ON HER SHOW.. A MUST SEE WHERE A GIRLDL CAUGHT SET THIS OTHER POOR GIRLS HAIR ON FIRE AND HOW SHE WQAS TORMENTED.. I ONLY DID IT WHEN IN 1ST GRADE BULLIED AND I DID BULLIE MY MIDDLE SISTER BUT IF YOU GO TO BARBRAS BLOG COMMENT YOU'LL SEE WHY..MY BEST FRIEND WHICH I HAD LOTS OF FRIENDS ALWAYS WAS NEW TO THE 5TH GRADE.. SHE HAD EYE TWITCHES AND WAS UNMERCIFULLY TORMENTED CALLED WINKY BLINKY.. I BEFRIENDED HER AND EVERYONE LAID OFF SO I ALWAYS MADE IT MY GOAL TO INTERVINE WHEN SEEING ANYONE PUT DOWN OR MAKE FUN OF ANYONE NEW OR DIFFRENT.. I HAD TO LEARN TO FIGHT AGAINST ADULTS FROM A SMALL AGE 3YRS OLD.. SO I ALWAYS ADOPTED AND EMBRACED A GPHRASE FROM THE 60'S WHICH I STILL USE TODAY " DON'T MAKE ME COME KICK YOUR ASS!"

Barbara said...

Carol - It saddens me that this happened to you. Now I have tears in my eyes too. I think schools are becoming more aware of the problems bullies cause and are doing something about it. I'm glad the bullies didn't rob your kind soul from you.


“Fighting isn't the right response to bullying-for adults. Adults have to find out what makes the bully the way he is and look for reasons and answers and understanding. That's an adult's responsibility.” Philip Pullman

Jennifer said...

Carol, I was bullied, too, and a victim of sexual harrassment as well. It dind't help that I was fourteen years old, deaf, six feet tall, with pimples, bad hair, and weighed ninety pounds on a good day. I look back now and think that at least I was a good friend. I would have liked to be my friend. Childhood hurts come back to haunt us years and years later.
I hope that 2006 is a year of healing for us both. We are headed the right direction!

Carol said...

Thanks Sister Celtic,
Stick by okay...

Barbara,
Thanks for the quote and for writing your post. It is good that you fought back right away.

Dear Jennifer,
There is healing for us, never doubt that.

manas said...

hi carol.........sorry for u dear...but infact i wd be happy to know if u really kicked thier asses ! have a nice day....
MANAS..
p.s....u can see my blog at www.greenlantern1010.blogspot.com hope u like it !thx.....mktlprfd

Carol said...

Nice to meet you Manas.
I was tough at times but I never kicked anybody.
Life isn't over yet and things have a way of working themselves out and I believe they will.

Pearl said...

Childhood is rough. Kids certainly are viciously engaged in learning what they are capable of achieving and little of it seems to be to rhyme off the planets in order or times tables.

Few stand up and defend others like Sister Celtic did. And teachers and parents are largely blind to the private jabs kids make at one another.

It's good to admit you were bullied and put the blame squarely on the bullies' shoulders. Pride yourself too on how it isn't the case now and how much skill you have learned at deflecting sniping and protecting others.

Your painful experiences were common. A lot of kids just try to keep their heads down and keep moving. Exclusion and inclusion games seemed the norm of upheaval. At my school marginalization was so wide there was hardly room to exist between the margins for the times someone got to be there.

If I look at my elementary class, I could see more than half of them being mercilessly bullied. Perhaps all were and some of it was invisible to me.

Carol said...

Thanks Pearl for your comment.

That experience really did define who I would become and it wasn't only for the bad.
For the good, it took away any arrogance which might've developed and gave me instead empathy.
I am grateful for all that happened in my life because it enabled me to be where I am today.

Rhiannon said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Carol said...

Dear Rhiannon,
Thanks so much for sharing with me.
You have written a lot that will be of great benefit to me and others. We are not alone.

We have a lot in common and hope we will continue to get to know each other.

I am glad that in your art and in the blog world you are safe to be feminine and soft. You really are beautiful.

Rhiannon said...

Dear Carol,

Thank you so much for your kind thoughtful words. They meant more to me than you will know.

I do hope maybe with just my words and others knowing they are not "alone" either that I have helped in some small way. I don't play games with people a bit to honest for my own darn good, but "tactful" out in the world.Got to be careful out there!..:-)If I offended or pissed anyone off by what I wrote(excuse the language)that was not my intention.

Bless you Carol and I hope to continue to get to know each other also.

By the way the blog world isn't always that safe either. Not if your single!..I just recently learned this myself..sad but true..

Rhiannon

Kim Winters said...

Carol, so sorry to hear about your school years. I was the victim of bullying in grade school, too. Came to a head in 7th grade the year we moved from one Chicago suburb to another. Ended up in a school where most of the kids had grown up together, and the cliques were already established. The summer of 7th grade, when I thought my life would be miserable forever, I met another girl who was knew in town. She and I clicked immediately. When 8th grade started that fall, I was ready to confront my bulliers. I did by forming my own group, and inviting in anyone who'd ever been stomped on by the rah-rahs. I also found a church youth group that I'm convinced saved me from going down the wrong path. Took many years to get over the hurts, those girls caused. Forming our little group, and learning we didn't need anyone's approval but our own, was a good first step to healing. Thanks for sharing your experiences with us. Took a lot of courage.

Carol said...

Hi Rhiannon,
Thanks for pointing out that the internet is not always a safe place either.

Hi Kim,
Thanks so much for your comment. What a good idea you had in grade 8. It could be a movie!

manas said...

hiya carol....thx for ur interest in my blog n me too...i wish i could talk to ya..but rite now i've my examz.can i pl have ur mail id? anyway,,,mine is "greenlantern1010@yahoo.co.in"..
love....MANAS
p.s....i'll only be able to talk to ya after 16th !!

Emily said...

Hi, Carol...my brother was bullied and didn't tell anyone until years later. I was shocked and am still sad it happened. I wish people would voice their feelings at the time...but it is so hard.

I don't know if you've ever read anything by Lynda Barry but she explores lots of childhood trama in her comic series. Might be worth reading...I know I've learned a lot from her and felt a lot better too.
She has a website you can see at http://www.marlysmagazine.com/ and get a list of various books to check out from your library.

I'm glad you can get past all the negative and focus on the positive. Also, you've already started seeing how good has come from experiencing something bad but not letting it overwhelm you. Good for you!