When I was a kid, I had freckles scattered on my face and platinum-blonde hair;
It was so fair that it looked like my eyebrows weren't there.
I would wiggle them, girls would run away, and I would promptly give chase,
Running as fast as I could across the yard to try and kiss them,
Or fall down into rocks and twigs;
I'd take that in my stride like the names kids used to call me:
Those were the days, filled with innocence; but lately,
I've come to know that those were the days that made me.
Maybe that's why I'm terrified of losing my hair?
I know what it's like to have skin bare, uncovering parts of me I was forced to share.
I look back and laugh from time to time,
Because I was lucky.
Thousands of children walk to school every day,
And with every step forward they wished it was another way;
A place where names didn't exist,
Where who they are isn't determined by somebody else's lips.
But they must go;
They must hope they can fight off the tears until they get home,
And pray that nobody ever knows that they're in bits,
Cut up by the chattering teeth of popular kids,
An believing that they'll never know what love is.
Jessica was a girl I'd known since we were three.
She grew up on the next street
And we would walk to school together.
Despite the birdsong flowing on a summer's breeze
Or when leaves replaced the exposed branches of suburb trees
We hated it. She did more than me.
The brick of her house had fallen down
And news spread for miles around that her father vanished.
Kids used to say he left because she was an **** *****,
And they'd make barking sounds as they stumbled around
Because they knew her mother was a drunk.
Little did they know about the depths to which the words sunk.
She hid it well,
Never choosing to tell in case the rumours
About her dog food breath were true.
They were never true.
One night, she handed me an envelope which said
'Do not open until tomorrow'.
I walked to school alone that day;
I faced it on my own, and when I got back home,
I headed straight for the note, which read:
'I wish I had s canvas and could re-arrange the alphabet,
But I can't; I don't have the the strength in me.
I'm trying to hold up a cascading sky that the kids in school are jumping on.
I wish I was one of the cool kids. I wish I was beautiful, but I'm not.
I'm a smudged ink spot on a blank page;
I'm just a jester on a stage forced to entertain.
I'm tired. The drugs don't work; they make me worse. And I'm struggling
To find a way out. I'm struggling to say enough is enough and to find a place to draw a line.
Nobody knows where to draw the line.
But I'll have to take a guess.'
The line was vertical, set deep into both her wrists.
She killed her self the night before to try and escape the kids.
She was sixteen,
And now just another statistic.
My experience with bullying was fleeting, but it has a longevity. People just need to be nice to each other