Apr. 1st, 2010

gwyn_bywyd: Pink flower growing wild in a patch of grass (Carport flower)
Thanks, Holy Week, just what I needed. You know, many people make gifts of chocolate at this time, not vexed remembrances of being bullied and then guilt over if proper forgiveness really has been achieved.

Picture this: I've successfully negotiated the super-market, in order to buy crisp, tart, green apples (yuuummm), hot-cross buns to give those who help at the church cleaning bee on Saturday and chocolate eggs for the staff and clients of a program for young adults with disabilities that operates in the church hall. I'm heading back to the car and encounter the representative of another denomination, who I vaguely know to say hi to.

He says: Oh, a cousin of mine went to college with you.

Me: Oh, what is their name?

Him: [last name]

(I battle to figure out who is meant, I've been to a number of places that might be called 'college' and now have a cognitive impairment, and he doesn't indicate where such contact is meant to have taken place. But of course I'm supposed to remember)

He says: [first name and last name]

And yeah - despite having forgotten the name of an item I use every day just this morning and having just stood there blankly, in growing embarrassment - it seems that this name will be the one thing I always remember. Because you see, this boy I went to school with was ring-leader of a group of boys who made life hellish for me. The time that I seriously tried to figure out how I could kill myself, could I get enough tablets down before I was found? This guy. The panic attacks when I was so filled with self-loathing and anxiety I couldn't leave my wardrobe to go out with my family for the day? This guy. The way I had a hand bandaged for speech night one year, because rocks were thrown at me in class? This guy.

All this stuff comes back. And also some questions. What does he think/remember about that? His (much older) cousin mentions me (and, just quietly, what? why?) and he's, what? thinking "oh yeah, we were friends in school"?? It would seem that he has no shame, perhaps no awareness of what his behaviour did to my life.

So there I am, hugely crowded shopping centre, well-meaning-ish representative of another church right there. What can I say? "Oh, yes, we were in school together. Isn't it a small world?" Hopefully I didn't go white, hopefully he can't see in my eyes the inside of my wardrobe the way I can, see the chairs being hurled at me when he was told who had made the complaint against him (thanks, school, do you think your procedures might need a little examining?) Despite my best efforts I probably seemed suddenly quite distant and vague.

Every so often one reads an article in a paper about bullying, and they report as if it were startling new information that childhood bullying has on-going effects on the bullied child. No, really? Who would have thought?

Mind you, I work with kids, and so, God-willing, it might help them in some tiny, tiny way to be aware that here is an adult who has been through that, and is (when they see me) happy, confident, enjoying life as her own person.

It is just so infuriating that two words can threaten all that hard-won happiness and confidence.


gwyn_bywyd: Photo of a yellow orchid. (Default)

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