As a child, I was bullied not only by children, but by adults. I was different because I had a very traumatic home life. This is part of my story. Every year children take their own lives, I hear their names and I cringe because I know their pain. I almost took my life several times as a young child and I share my story now so parents and educators can see that not every child who is depressed or suicidal looks sad, sometimes they are very good at hiding it.
I don’t think she meant to do it, she didn’t know it would last forever. She had this fantastic laugh that when she started at the wrong time, milk would come out your nose. I don’t blame her, never really did. She didn't know I was bullied almost to death.
But when the bullying was the worst, I didn’t understand why she did nothing to stop it.
That’s what best friends were supposed to do, wasn’t it? How could she have watched the way her cruel friends treated me? Did she know that at night all I prayed for was that maybe that night, God would just let me die in my sleep and I wouldn’t have to wake up to go to school again?
She couldn’t have known that when she laughed when the other girls put gum in my hair and threw dog poop at me, that she hurt me more profound than their cruelty. She was only 11.
He couldn’t have known that every time he told the gym class we were going to be playing baseball, I felt my soul want to throw up.
It was the only sport at that time that both girls and boys played together and I am sure he didn’t understand how horrible it felt to be the last one standing, waiting for someone to please call your name for a team. Looking at each of the other kids standing there with their team of chosen friends laughing and watching the “Captain” trying to look around to see if there was anyone else on the planet he could pick besides me.
I usually tried to make him feel better by saying it was ok; I had a headache or some other appropriate illness that would require the coach to let me sit on the bench and watch as the other kids raced around the bases.
It was much better there than the days when forced kickball was inflicted on me, and there was no hiding on the bench, but just standing there waiting for the balls to come hurling at your head.
It was going to happen, and you just had to brace yourself for that huge red rubber ball to knock the wind out of you. He couldn’t have known that from then on, I hated sports, hated gym class, and would avoid it at all costs. it would lead my body to gather weight and spurn on even more teasing from the kids and a deeper loathing of living. God was cruel for not letting me die. He was just doing his job, being a teacher.
Why didn't someone stop it?
Sometimes trying to hide the pain behind laughter, pushing it all away down deep inside a book that will take you away to some other place where nobody calls you “The Fat Girl” or holds their nose when you walk by.
I was 7 the first time I started thinking of suicide. 9 on my first good attempt. I put a rope around my neck and jumped off a ledge in my barn. Thankfully I didn't judge the rope length well and ended up with a twisted knee instead of a broken neck.
The ones who hurt the deepest don’t want to hurt anyone else, they don’t want to bother parents or grandparents by letting them know how dark their world really is. They don’t want to cause anyone else to look at them and smother them with reasons of why “Kids can be cruel” or advice on letting it “roll off your back” because if it were that easy, we would have thought of it already, nobody thinks as much as we do.
I look back now and see that there were so many other things that people chose not to see. The abuse, the fact that I didn't make eye contact or talk about my mother, or when someone yelled or made a loud noise that I would shutter and close my eyes, none of it raised any flags. Teachers, pastors, even Aunts and Uncles, nobody came to help.
Some kids don’t come back from that dark place, they let it become who they are and consume them.
They find ways of making the hurt go away, making the laughter of others sound funny, they push that sick feeling up front and use it as fuel for their anger against the world. There are others however that just realize, God will never let this end.. and take matters into their own hands.
I attempted suicide several times as a child. Thankfully, I was really bad at it.
The little girl I was, didn't know it then, but soon everything would change again. This was just temporary. She didn’t think it would get better; that someday she would feel so wanted that she’d wish for time for herself just to think.
She had no idea that when your best friend suddenly wasn’t anymore and you felt so alone that nothing could ever make it better, that one day she’d understand what her daughter was going through and sit with her head in her lap and stroke her hair and just listen.
That little girl had no idea that if she hadn’t woke up, she’d never love so deeply that her eyes would fill with tears of happiness more often than sadness. She just felt so alone and wanted only to be picked for something. She just waited, endured pain after pain, grew stronger with each stupid joke and found her inner strength in the strangest places. She grew up, learned to love herself and was then loved by others.
It does get better, I promise. I know the hurt is so intense right now that you just want to pull away and leave it all behind. There’s no other thought but to want to retreat to the safety of your backyard where you know nobody will taunt you and knock you down. But those days will pass, you will find your voice and learn to sing your own song. And if you need someone to pick you, I will… you can always be on my team because you are beautiful.