Ever since I was a kid, autumn always brought with it depression. One September in my early twenties, when I still lived in Brooklyn I was walking home from the subway, crunching brown leaves beneath my frozen toes, wondering why I was feeling so blue. Never mind that I was living with a man I didn't love and had next to nothing in common with except a dog we shared who bit people with no provocation and was a complete cunt. It was also probably shortly after the attacks on the World Trade Center in 2001. Sure, anyone would have been feeling blue in my situation, but the point was I always felt that way in the fall. No matter what was going on in my life. It's likely I have a mild case of Seasonal Affective Disorder, but on that bitter fall day, after I got home and stood in a hot shower waiting for the searing pain to ebb in my feet (my extremities freeze at the mere mention of cold weather), wondering why my mood always plummeted as September rolled around, it suddenly dawned on me that I was suffering from OhMyGodSchoolIsStartingAgainitis. I had hated school so much that it took me well into my twenties to stop being gripped with panic and desperation when the leaves started turning.
I want to be crystal clear here. When I say I hated school I don't mean that homework was a drag and I wished I was outside playing. I probably would have preferred digging ditches 8 hours a day to going to that horrible place. I was short. I was loud. I was poor. (Not much has changed) I was also weird. While other girls brought in their pom poms or dolls for Show and Tell, I brought a bag of deer turds I had collected on a hiking trip with my dad. Any time I raised my hand to answer a question I was the instant subject of ridicule. I learned very quickly not to answer questions. Somewhere in grade school I wrote a poem that got chosen by the teachers as a great example of poetry. It went like this:
In the moonlight it seems to me
That I can see three little angels
And in the moonlight I can not figure out
Why it is not true
Bear in mind my competition was other 8-year-olds...
Having the poem highlighted by my teachers only meant more taunting. Some author came to speak to our school and I was asked to stand and share my poem in front of everyone. They might as well have asked me to get naked and slap out the rhythm of Camp Town Lady on my stomach. I learned very quickly to not do good work.
Besides the verbal abuse, I suffered various forms of physical torment as well. I was kicked, full force in the vagina with no warning and for no reason by a fellow classmate. I was pushed in to garbage cans, pinched, chased and generally terrorized. When I tried to talk to my teachers about the bullying I was told, on several occasions that I was "too sensitive". It wasn't until I was choked against a file cabinet until I started to pass out that I was taken seriously. I guess I'm fortunate that kid didn't have access to the gun department at Walmart.
My parents didn't really understand the severity of the bullying, either. My father told me that boys just teased me because they liked me. But I saw the way the boys treated the pretty girls. Danielle and Michelle had perfect, long, straight, beautiful black hair and wore perfume and jean skirts. While I looked like this:
|As you can see, I will be giving birth to an alien jellyfish!|
Besides this news, the best present I got this year is a dishtowel that came from my friend Angie.
And it is with that that I bid you all the happiest and healthiest of new years!