Tuesday, 27 December 2011

About Me, Part 6: Do You Really Want To Hurt Me

Toronto, or more specifically Mississauga, was for two-and-a-half years, hell; it is where I developed into the ill-formed, self-hating individual I would be for years afterwards. To start with, I had not chosen to move there, in fact I was never asked. The temporary relief of being reunited with my mother was overshadowed by a deep grief at the loss of my childhood setting and friends. I resented her deeply, although looking back, I now realize her need to start her own life away from her side of the family's sphere of influence. I just didn't understand why my world had to be shattered for it. This overshadowed for the next few years, ages 12 to 14, any awakening I could have had. My sense of myself was stunted. Missed by the rest of my family and had very close by my mother, I was now over-protected on two fronts. Ironically, I was also under assault ... at school.

In 1982-83, there was no Trevor Project, no "It Gets Better"; in the face of bullying, one simply "had to toughen up". The first couple of months of grade seven were uneventful. But, at some point, probably around November that year, the bullying started. It had been enough time for a few guys to pick up on how quiet I was, how aggressive I wasn't. As a sad, lonely pre-teen who only vaguely realized how sad and lonely I was, I was easy to push around. What's more, my home room teacher ignored it ... that's right, the name calling, the threats, the torments were all allowed to happen. For that first year at my new school, I had no resources, and did not feel emotionally safe enough to talk about this at home. At Christmas, one of my tormentors, said "Merry Christmas" followed by a snide "Just kidding".

Relief came when I went home with my mother to Montreal for the holidays. The rest of my year, early 1983, would be worse.

To be continued ...

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