In the beginning, I wasn’t silent about the bullies. I told my parents, my teachers, my principal, and my pastor. But, one by one, they were influenced by the lack of any “witnesses” to my bullying.
I remember more than one time standing in my principal’s office with Josh. We’d stand side my side and tell our “versions” of the story. Josh was always absolved by his witnesses, and I began to realize that I was losing any credibility I might have had.
“If this kid keeps doing all this to you, then how come no one else sees it?” my mother would ask. When I explained how the other kids were afraid of Josh, she’d say, “Oh that’s silly. He’s just a little kid.”
It wasn’t silly. It was accurate. Two of my classmates have since told me they were racked with guilt at various times because they didn’t step in and tell the truth. But, as one girl told me, “I was so afraid he’d start to pick on me that I was actually glad he chose you.”
My parents got real tired, real fast, of hearing my “made-up” Josh “stories” and finally – they had enough! I was forbidden to talk about Josh at home, and any pleas I made to switch back to my old school fell on deaf ears.
So there I was. Stuck. I tried to make the best of it. Sometimes it wasn’t all bad. Occasionally Josh would feel generous and leave me alone for a day or two, but that never lasted long.
I’m sure I’ll end up leaving some things out as I recount what he did to me, but these are the ones I remember in detail. Each moment is burned in my psyche.
In the end, I’m not even sure it was the big things that drove me to contemplate suicide.
I’m pretty sure it was the every day little digs, pokes, slaps, and shoves that almost did me in. The not knowing when or where it was going to happen.
Just that it would.