I really started showing my tomboy personality when I was eleven but at the same time I was struggling to find myself through the changing hormones. This photo that I will share with all of you was taken during the year that the bullying really started to take a toll on me and my self-esteem.
During my fifth grade year, I decided to cut my hair really short. The model in a photo in the salon was a woman. I loved my new haircut and was so excited to show it off at school. I looked cute. When I got to school a couple of students and teachers complemented me but the rest stared. One of the boys (I can’t remember his name) came up to me during recess and asked me if I was trying to be a boy. No matter how much I told my classmates that it was a girl’s hairstyle, the teasing got worse and my self-esteem plummeted.
I closed myself off from everyone and distanced myself. I tried so hard to fit in and whatever I did seemed to backfire. I wasn’t popular like I wanted to be and I didn’t know where I fit. Nothing seemed to matter anymore. That’s when I stopped trying to be someone else. I just wanted to be me, whatever that meant. After a while my mom told me to go to the principal and tell him what had been going on.
I started threatening suicide that year.
Finally one day I had enough of being called a “boy wannabe” so when the bell rang ending recess, everyone headed to class while I headed to the office. I was already crying by the time I got to the office. Before anyone could ask me what was wrong or why I was crying, the principal came out of his office. He saw me and stopped whatever he was doing. He asked me what was wrong and motioned for the counsellor to join us. I unloaded everything that had been happening in what felt like one incredibly long word.
Mr. Lozito and Mrs. Stout didn’t interrupt me until I was done. Mr. Lozito asked me if I knew who the three boys that had done the most teasing were and what class they were in and I nodded. He then asked me to do one thing that made me hate him for the longest time but I am now very thankful to him for this. Mr. Lozito asked me to go to each of the classrooms and tell the boys that he wanted to see them. I will never forget the look on each of their faces and the noises made from all of the other students when I told them that they needed to see the principal. The kids lightened up on the amount of teasing they did to my face out of the fear of facing the principal.
My teacher, Mr. Young, watched me closely after that and I wondered for a long time if Mr. Lozito had explained to him why I was late to class that day. I was asked to sit with Mrs. Stout for a little bit each week. I was grateful to have someone who was more than willing to listen. My parents put me in a different school after that year to get me away from those students for a few years.
Whenever I see this photo, my mind goes to the memory that I just shared with all of you. This is one event of my life that I have had a hard time sharing with people, but I know that if I can give one person the courage to stand up for themselves then I have done my job.
It took me five years to stop threatening suicide. I’m fairly certain that had my parents not moved me to Round Valley School for my sixth, seventh and eighth grade years, I probably would have done something horrible.
This picture was taken on Easter around 1993. I loved that hot pink skirt and you can see a little bit of my lace-trimmed shorts underneath.
If you would like to know more about Flashback Fridays or read more, please visit Christopher and Tia by clicking on the picture below.