I remember being in middle school, year 6. This means I would have been about 10 years old. I was essentially one of the newer girls in the school having being moved from over the boarder the previous school year. There was only one other that moved from my first school with me. I had made friends, but they were ever changing and I never settled with one particular group. I had long, dark blond coloured hair that I used to blow dry upside down while singing along to the tune of the moment. It was kinda frizzy, but naturally straight and well before the time of the hair straighteners.
There were two boys in my class that decided that my hair was going to be the centre of their taunts. Thus beginning the start of ‘Scarecrow’ and the never ending name calling from two boys. They made most classes hell-ish with no escape because most teachers sat their classes in alphabetical order and with no kids surnames starting with E or F I had to sit next to the “ever so charming” boy with a G name and his equally as lovely friend. They’d pull my hair and use scarecrow as if I’d answer to it – I tried my best to ignore it. Some days I cried because of it. Some days I fought back. Some days they indian burned my arm and came after me in the playground.
These taunts lasted till we left middle school when we filtered out in to high school. Which thankfully, put more space between me and them and rendered that nickname obsolete. After all there were different kids to belittle.
Yes, this was a particular favourite. I was about 11. I used to ride my bike and kick around with a few of the girls that lived on my street. Now looking back on this, I know I was never a fat kid. I was however, bigger than the stick thin girls I used to hang about with. Now I know I was just a different shape. Then I wasn’t so wise.
I remember going to knock on their doors to ask if they were coming out to ride bikes. My bike was pinky purple and I loved it. I remember I was wearing a lavender spaghetti strap dress when I went to call on the girls. Both of them said they were busy, so I rode the block a few times on my own.
A little time passed and they both came out. Together. So this was the first thing that stung. They’d chosen not to hang out. I’ve always preferred my own company, even as a child and mostly only reached out when encouraged. Even still, being rejected by peers had an impact. They walked passes and I said hello. One of them shouted “go away you fat bitch”.
I was heart broken.
I rode home, I was inconsolable. I remember feeling so hurt by what these girls said. It didn’t matter what nice things anyone said to try bring me out of the funk. I started to hate myself that day. I never understood what I had done to deserve being rejected and then insulted that way.
I never rode my bike again. It’s something I grew to despise, and my beautiful pinky purple bike lay to rust in the garage. For a long time after this I wore more loose fitting clothes to hide my perfectly normal figure. I hated changing in the locker rooms for school sports. I hated changing in front of myself. I could not look at myself (full body) in the mirror for years.
Stupid kids right?
I got my first ever guitar at 8 years old. And once or twice a week I would walk to school with my guitar in a gig bag along with all my other school stuff. The walk was a 2 and a half miler, and lots of the other kids didn’t walk as far as me and my brother. I played my guitar like it was the only thing that ever really mattered and I was very good in high school. But, like I said, I had to carry a guitar around with me all the freaking time. I didn’t mind most days.
In high school I managed to go under the radar for pretty much the entire three years until sixth form. This meant when people did need to refer to me, I got “Guitar Girl” because they didn’t know me. They didn’t know my name or anything about me other than the fact I carried a guitar and practiced alot because I was always by the music rooms.
I never minded this nickname. It always worked for me. I didn’t want them to know me, I didn’t want them to know my name either. This nickname was okay.
I’ve been lucky enough to go by my chosen name since. Life lessons learnt; kids are cruel. The view point of an adult over things that happened as a child and teen is beautiful. It doesn’t help as child, or in difficult teenage years though.
As an adult I thank the little brats who bullied me and gave me cruel nicknames. You guys helped me learn I don’t need to give a crap what anyone things. The only valid opinion is my own. What others think and say doesn’t have to have any impact on how I live. I just wish the 10 year old me knew the same thing.