April 8, 2010

Mean Girls - Mean People

I know that this is supposed to be an upbeat blog, but two instances have occurred in the US this week that make me ashamed to be a human being.

I assume that everyone has been following the story about Constance, the gay teenager whose prom was canceled after she asked to bring her girlfriend as her date. I've been following the story relatively casually, mostly because I was embarrassed for her school board and it was difficult for me to understand how we can live in a country that still finds itself to be so close minded. There is absolutely no reason why this young woman should not be allowed to bring her girlfriend to her own prom.

Today I read this. And I nearly cried.

Are people really this cruel? What gives anyone the right to do something like this? How could the PRINCIPAL, the person whose name ends in "pal" for God's sake, stand there and be OK with this? I feel like we're seeing true EVIL, personified.

After reading that article, I was linked to this article. Now, I cried.

I had heard something about it on the news, but I was at the gym and not really paying attention. Recently there has been such an uprising of girls being bullied so badly that they hurt themselves or, in this case, killed themselves. A few months ago I watched an entire Lifetime movie about it. Girls being harassed because they're different.

It made me think about when I was in middle and high school, and how I was teased. Yes, I know that everyone was teased in high school. Things could have been a whole lot worse for me, I was lucky. But I was still teased. I was just lucky enough to have a few good friends and amazing parents that taught me to be proud of myself.

When I was in middle and high school, I was addicted to AOL and AIM, like most kids my age. That was how I kept in touch with my family, my long distance friends, and that's how Jesse and I managed to fall in love - because we could talk for hours at a time from across the country. Even so, AOL and AIM weren't that good to me. It was the forum for my asshole cousins to torture me, and make me cry. Every night.

My cousins and a friend of mine would gang up on me, say horrible, cruel things to me and basically strive to make me cry every night. I tried avoiding them, but they were relentless. They tried to take my relationship with Jesse and make it something that I should be ashamed of. They called me whore, slut, bitch. They told me that I wasn't worth knowing. They told me that when I wasn't around, Jesse said horrible things about me. They insulted my looks, my clothes, my interests, pretty much anything they could think of. They told me that no one liked me, especially my family.

And I was miserable.

They did the same thing that summer, only at a time when Jesse couldn't be there to support me. He was in Europe for a month, and I was alone waiting for him to come back and save me from my hell.

Later in high school, I was relentlessly teased by a group of guys in my year. I have no idea why they chose me over anyone else, but they did. They would sit several tables behind me in Physics class and throw stuff at me, whisper insults and what not. I made it worse that winter (this was senior year) by doing something really stupid with a guy, and everyone found out about it. So the teasing excellerated. It got to the point that I wouldn't even be in a room and people would be talking shit about me (and let's take a moment to thank NJ Dutcher, who actually stood up in the middle of class - one that I was not in - and yelled at the entire room for talking shit about me. And we weren't even friends.)

Aside from slamming Phil Zwingelberg up against a locker by his throat and threatening to rip his balls off, I cried mostly to myself.

The worst part: my sister, who was still in middle school, heard about it from some random girls at her school. Then my mom found out about it. It was bad.

So when I read this article about a girl killing herself because of the cruelty of her classmates, it made me remember how it felt to be teased. And how damn lucky I was, and am, that I didn't kill myself. That I didn't hurt myself. I thank God every day for blessing me with good parents and good friends to help me get through these things.

I wish that I could walk down to Mississippi and smack that school across the face. I wish I could just go out to South Hadley and punch every person responsible for this girl's death. I am crossing my fingers that they all get what's coming to them. I am disappointed in myself for not my first thought not being for Constance and the family of Phoebe Prince being able to find peace.

So dear readers, just remember that we're all different. And beautiful. We all deserve to be treated equally. And to be loved.

1 comment:

Like A Muse said...

Those articles disgusted me. And what happened to you is unfair and horrible. We all had teasing but I'm so lucky I went to a small international school and that teasing, though apparent, was dealt with and resolved.

I admit, I had my part in it too. I may have made fun of someone because my friends did. I'm not proud of it, but I was a follower and I felt bad about it. Even years later I still feel guilty for saying something about someone and so I went on facebook to find and apologize to them. Luckily they laughed it off as kids being kids. If I ever have kids they are not going to school in the US. As much as I disliked my school and teachers, that environment was much healthier than anything I've heard about in the States. Besides, it was the usual teenage bitching about unfair teachers and boring classes. It's not just a problem in America but I think it takes on a whole other level of stupidity and danger here because adults just don't seem to care.