I wanted a bass guitar when I was 13, 14. I had dreams that just owning an instrument would be my way out. I would immediately make punk friends, they would identify with my shitty poetry, we would smash shit on stage, get paid. We would live together &(more) shave each other's heads; we'd get rich. We'd be free.
I deliberately scored the flesh above my breasts with broken glass, bottle caps, a Swiss Army knife. So that I would automatically disgust any potential boyfriend. The wounds healed without leaving scars before I ever had a boyfriend.
I went shopping at the music store. The seller was sexist and said sexist things about women with guitars, that girls were groupies not performers. I remained starry-eyed. Nevertheless $500 was beyond my wildest imaginings. I was still dumb enough to think my no-money mom could procure expensive Christmas presents, like Santa. The magic of Christmas lingered but since her divorce life was all deliveries from the food bank and fighting, fighting, fighting. She didn't even want to recognize the season, it was just another day. That is how the punished think, those forced to work on happy holidays for $7 per hour.
She bought me a $200 wool coat from Australia. The guy she wanted to fuck was from Australia, but she was so stupid and fresh she could not have even admitted the connection. Even 20 years later she says they were just friends. But I know my mom wanted that newcomer to the town, to the church. He sang so loud in the choir and she played the organ. He was trash from Down Under and she was a trash divorced woman. She wanted him; I know now he never would have thought of her in a sexual way.(less)
A little girl shoots herself in her backyard because she had been teased terribly at school for her crooked, thick-lipped, smile, the legacy of brain surgery performed when very young and which saved her life. Like many insecure girls, I'm sure she thought she was hideous, and I'm sure the(more) girls at school thought they were enforcing a certain standard of acceptability through shaming and humiliation when they called her "ugly" or "fishlips" again and again. By the impossible standards of a schoolgirl, maybe she was ugly, but too young to realize that adulthood offers hope and freedom and happiness apart from such narrow childhood definitions of what ugly or pretty looks like. In this tiny crushing chamber of youth, this girl gets broken, and no one is attentive enough to her pain, or is close enough to help gather the pieces, or show her the kind of love that would help her reassemble her fractured self. So she retrieves the proper instrument from the cupboard, walks out back, and makes everything go away. Her mother is inconsolable, the principal perplexed. We knew she had been bullied, and we put up anti-bullying posters. Who could still be doing this?
Bullying is the common term for a method by which we instill fear. We lower our horned heads and charge at the target. We intend to cow them, to make them timid. We work them over, then walk away. If we've done our job right, the victim becomes her own bully, and all we have to do is remind her from time to time as to who's worthless, who's ugly, who's stupid? This training works very well, and is employed under a variety of names through institutions worldwide. But not in our school, we don't do that here. (less)