Another transition from myspace to camelshoes. I'm almost done. This one's timely, at least on the Gold Coast, where I currently reside. This local kid with Asperger's syndrome wrote a letter to school bullies, pleading for empathy, which was printed in the Gold Coast Bulletin. It's been heavily followed up and a lot of people have a lot to say. I have infinite views on bullying. In a nutshell, it is one of, if not THE most cowardly act.
Anyway, here's a little something I prepared earlier. April 23, 2006 to be precise.
Stuck in peak hour this morning, listening to Nova 106.9 (plug), I was, I don't know, moved is probably the right word, by something Meshel Laurie said.
It's a bit serious, but I wanted to share it.
The breakfast team, who are actually a funny bunch of people when it's appropriate, were talking about the suicide of those teenagers in Melbourne. If you're not familiar with the story, two 16-year-old girls, reported to be part of the "emo" culture, although this is being debated, hanged themselves in a suicide pact.
(Myspace has actually been brought up in a lot of stories because they both had a page, or maybe they had one together, and there were some telling messages prior to their disappearance – apparently, but anyway, that's irrelevant to Meshel's point).
Meshel was very passionate about what had been lost. Two lives which will never have the chance to blossom. Yeh, I know, wanky word, but the point is: here are two girls who will never graduate, get a job, move out of home, live in a share house, get a promotion, have a serious boyfriend, have a mandatory crap boyfriend, get married, have kids. They will never discover who they really are and create a unique and precious life for themselves.
She went on to point out that people are always telling teenagers: "these are the best years of your life". This is when I really started listening.
For so many teenagers, those years ARE NOT the best of their life, as Meshel said. They are actually really shithouse. While hormones are going crazy, so many teens have to deal with insecurities, broken families, bullying, peer pressure, all that shit stuff.
Again, to paraphrase Meshel, when some kids are being told "these are the best years of your life", they must be thinking, "well, if it's only downhill from here, I don't want to be around for it".
I harbour some of the most amazing memories from high school and some of my closest, most wonderful friends were made at KHS. But I also couldn't wait to get out of the place which fed so many of my insecurities. My God, I spent a good year of high school feeling sick every day because maybe this would be the day those girls who threatened to "bash me up" every lunch time would come through on their word.
Kids can be so cruel and I don't for a second think I didn't play a part in making it tough for someone else. Bullying is a food-chain of sorts.
I remember when I first moved onto campus at Uni. I met one of the senior residents who would be "looking after us". She looked kind of like a geek and, I am embarrassed to say, I was disappointed at the prospect of meeting less-than-cool people through her. Oh my God, that is so fucked up. Apologies for ever thinking that way. Anyway, by the end of the day I had met a million people from every walk of life and everyone treated each other with respect, as they should.
Of course, there are always going to be tools, even now as an adult (yeh, I said it, adult) there are plenty of idiots around. But the kind of people who made you feel you had to impress them at high school became the kind of people who no one would bother with at Uni.
I knew then Uni was going to be soooo different and they were easily some of the best days of my life. Hopefully we all have plenty more ahead of us.
PS: I'm not, NOT, pregnant. And that's not how you spell my name. It was, however, one of the delightful remarks which adorned the Year 8 toilets walls at my high school. I was a 13-year-old virgin but, you know, what does that matter? Bullies are smart.