So I just finished watching this movie A Girl Like Her. To say it was good is not even scratching the surface of the complexity, moving, so utterly relational that this movie is. A brief synopsis: A film crew comes to a top ten rated high school to document why the school is doing so well. During the filming, a sophomore girl tries to commit suicide and, the rest of the movie documents the bullying that she had to endure.
I’m sure everyone has been bullied and has bullied someone else. It’s our culture. Get to the top no matter what you do. Winning is all that counts. Now, I’m not saying we shouldn’t try our best in life, but shouldn’t we be cognizant of how we’re doing this? Shouldn’t we be self-aware of our actions and how the effect the ones around us? I think we haven’t been taught how to do that, and more importantly, why we should.
I’m visiting my brother and his family this weekend. My niece, who’s four, got mad that she couldn’t play Frisbee with her brother and Papa (my dad). She stormed inside and started having a fit because she should have been able to play too (in her logic). Instead of letting her feel her emotion and sit there and be angry, her mom started immediately telling her she had to be happy. In today’s culture we have to be nice all the time. If we’re taught starting in preschool that all emotions except happy are not acceptable, we setting our children up for a world of hurt and confusion later on. Why can’t we grow up learning that if we are having a problem come ask someone for help? Talk to an adult or nicely confront the person you are having a problem with? No, push emotions and people aside and climb to the top. We don’t know how to express feelings anyways.
Back to the movie. I was teased relentlessly starting in elementary school. I remember in math class kids laughing about the shirt I was wearing. It wasn’t “cool” enough. A lot of times I would stand with the teachers on duty because I felt I had no friends. I did make friends with a girl who also swam with me. When we got to middle school, she joined the popular crowd. Every year, we grew farther and farther away until she stopped speaking to me. I remember her birthday was in August, right before school started. She had a pool party, and I wasn’t invited. The only reason I knew about it was because I was with a group of girls from swimming and the country club too. I remember how much I was hurt by not being invited. I had shared so much of my life with her, and she just threw me to the side. I managed to make it to middle school where things got worse, a lot worse. I was tall, skinny, quiet, shy, nerdy, and smart. I played in the band and orchestra. Swimming took up my world outside of school. I was accepted there. I was wanted. Things only got worse every year in middle school. By the end of my eighth grade year I literally had no one. I ate by myself, went outside and stood by the wall until it was time to come in. No one gave me a Christmas present or a valentine. I just existed. Of course not being zoned to that school and having to rely on your mom to pick you up and drop you off every day didn’t help. My family was not going through the easiest time. My younger brother was born while I was in fifth grade. My older brother, by two years, was having some really, really tough shit he was wading in. There were many times I was forgotten to be picked up after school. One day I sat out front until 5’clock. I called my mom and she told my to go to her friend’s house, just a few streets away from the school. I walked over and they had no clue I was coming. How embarrassed I was.
The big move. We moved from the north to the south right before I started my freshman year in high school. I had the pleasure to fly down by myself and stay with a random girl in the marching back, so I could attend band camp. It sucked. I had to follow the girl around. She was a junior and outgoing. I was even more reserved than ever before. I can remember it like yesterday, on the first day of school I sat alone during lunch. The table was empty but me. When it was time to line up to go to class, I was quietly waiting by the doors. All of a sudden I feel a big thud on my back the observe an apple fall next to me. Next, I hear a bunch of guys laughing at me. Welcome to high school. Luckily, I started making friends. High school wasn’t that bad until junior year, when my mental illnesses really starting rearing its ugly head. Lost a lot of friends but I can’t blame them. Mental illness is really hard to deal with, especially when you don’t know what it is.
I guess what I’m trying to say is that it’s so easy to get beat down, feel like you have no one to talk to, no one to care about you, no one who is willing to just sit with you when you’re down. If I continually look backwards I would want to try to kill myself for the eighth time. The only way to overcome the bullies is to move past it and be the bigger, better person that’s inside of you. Remember, you are never put in a position you can’t handle.If you think it is too much, too big, please ask for help. More people care than anyone ever realizes. Leave the past in the past and stay in today. Go that extra mile and help someone in need, even if it’s an inconvienence. It’s amazing that you’ll feel better helping someone else. That natural high, those endorphines are pretty darn amazing.