By Trace A. DeMeyer
Anything had to be better than my childhood. Being at school was my escape.
I had no clue how to change what was happening at home. Writing in my diary was useful if I had a problem. If I’d had access to therapy, it would have helped.
Life was simpler then: I thought I knew so much when actually I knew so little.
I didn’t have this great grasp of reality and I wasn’t feeling great about myself. I wanted to be an older jazzier version of me.
Magazines did build my fantasies. Models and musicians were my bigger-than-life role models; all the media hype I believed. No one warned me that gossip rags (magazines) simply made up stuff. I became a devoted believer-reader of celebrity trash-talk. Yup, I was naïve. I wanted to be them, not me.
Come to think of it: being jealous all the time was not useful. Those magazines filled my head with what I wasn’t.
So when someone wore new clothes or spoke big words I didn’t understand, I was green with envy. There was plenty I envied. (Of course I knew the Catholic Commandment about coveting and I tried to stop myself.)
I thought my life would actually improve when I got to college; when I was on my own. This idea became constant. This idea kept me relatively sane.
So now its 2013 and school will start in a month or so. I loved getting ready for my first day back. Then I remember the two girls who stole what I needed to play the stock market game in my high school social studies class. It bothered me. I didn’t know why they would do something like that to me.
What did I do to them? Nothing.
When my teacher Steve told me their names, it hit me these two girls were bullies. Nothing I could say to them would make it better.
There are kids who have a mess at home (like I did) and yes, they might take their frustrations out on other kids and classmates: so they become BULLIES. Even girls!
I understand how low self-esteem works. I could have been a bully. It would have been easy. I had plenty to be angry about, especially then.
Something in me snapped. I decided to move past my envy. I decided you have to be a bigger person.
I think about girls who are bullies and bullied today, and how girls are influenced by the media images and magazines, just like I was! These bad girl images slam us everyday: be thinner, be prettier, be smarter, be Britney, be Paris.
Repeat after me: I am enough. I am enough.
(In my chapbook Sleeps with Knives, I have a poem called MY HEART-SHAPED ASS, Beauty in Pounds – which talks about my eating disorder…Trace)