Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Little Red "HIDING" Hood




I spent so many years of my life trying to blend in with the crowd. I wanted to disappear. To become invisible. I was picked on terribly in high school. I moved in ninth grade, which is already a pretty hellish time in a teenager's life. My family was poor and lived on the wrong side of the tracks both literally and figuratively. The four of us and two dogs shared a camper for nearly two years. It was cramped; there was very little privacy.
Pretty much this was home for two years






We shopped at the thrift store, not because it was the "cool" thing to do, but because we couldn't afford to shop anywhere else. Every day was a new torture. I was especially tormented for my bucked teeth and my bad skin.  One of my bullies' favorite taunts was that I was a "zit-faced vampire" (way before vampires were cool), and they had no problem calling me that behind my back or to my face. So, you kinda understand why I wanted to disappear. 






I remember in English class one day the teacher rearranged desks and asked if anyone wanted to sit next to me. While it was probably only a few seconds, as my face burned with shame and tears pricked behind my eyes, it felt like hours. I wanted to die. Then from the back, like an angel from above, a guy spoke up, "I will." He moved his belongings to the front and sat down. As he sat, he whispered, "Cool jacket." I remember thinking that he was making fun of me because the jacket I had that day was my stepfather's dirty leather bomber jacket because I had no jacket of my own, and it was cold.





Alex became a dear friend. Truth be told, he wasn't much better off than me on the hierarchy of popularity. Looking back I realize how much he was also bullied, and how much he must have hurt too, but he handled it in a much better way (at least outwardly). I buried myself in reading books and writing angsty poetry and listening to angry music, and when that wasn't I started cutting myself- something I would continue to do for nearly three years. He excelled in being the class clown and being sarcastic and abrasive. 


We all have coping methods.


Life gradually got better. My heart breaks for students I see in pain or being bullied. I've interceded more than once and threaten bullies far more than I probably should. But I just will not tolerate it. I feel sick to my stomach because it takes me straight back to the hell that was ninth grade. I try to tell my students that high school is nothing in the grand scheme of life. That the very people bullying them now will end up being the biggest losers in life. To be the bigger person. To ignore the bullying. That they are beautiful and smart and creative.


I spent so much time trying to hide and disappear and blend in as a teen. I spent years embarrassed of where I lived and how I looked and what I wore. Today I got to spend time feeling beautiful and glamorous and sexy. Today I am glad I can stand out. Today I wear a red coat in a sea of black coats.




Linking up to




pleated poppy

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30 comments:

Calcinephile said...

Love that scarf! So happy to run into another curvy fashionista on this blog hop!

http://fashionandhistrionics.blogspot.com/

Melaina25 said...

You look amazing! My Mom says to tell you red is your colour :)

jugglingchic said...

I love the shoes!!! I saw them last week and almost got them ! Red looks great on you !

http://jugglingchic.tumblr.com

Feathers & Freckles said...

You look lovely in red- that is definitely your color.

I'm sorry to hear about your experience with bullying. Kids are ruthless... I can remember some of the names they called me, and going home crying a lot. I coped with it similarly, trying to blend in and hide and never stood up for myself. I hope my children don't have to go through the same crap, but I'm sur ethey will.

As a teacher I'm sure you see bullying first-hand a lot. It's awesome that you can maybe stop the cycle, if even for just one student! I'm glad you overcame your bullying days and can now feel beautiful and understand that you're above that :)

Orangies Attic said...

And you wear it well! Really enjoy your writing, keep it up! Living well is the best revenge... ;)

Brianna McDonald said...

Love the jacket and scarf. I'm wearing black, white and red today too. I had no idea that's how it was for you in school. I wish I had gotten to know you better then, cause I felt the same way.

Aminton said...

You look amazing! Red is you color. I agree that living well is the best revenge.

mamafrost76 said...

You have overcome! Maybe this is why God has you as a teacher...you can help those students who need more than just book knowledge (though you give them that too). Love you Katie!

Michele said...

Yay you! How funny that now you have such porcelain skin.hahaha! You've got one over on all those kids that made fun of you girl. Yep,God has a way of humbling us to prepare us for the plans he has for us.

Alicia said...

Completely agree with mamafrost. This is why you are where you are today. Children, like my son and daughter need teachers like you who genuinely understand what it feels like to be the victim of bullying. Crazily enough, I have experienced teachers who just didn't get it and were in all actuality bullies themselves.

Love your red coat!

Dnlawley said...

I want to give you a big hug! You & Alex weren't in the kindest class, & your intelligence put you on a plane that intimidated them,so the bullying was their way of trying to level the field. So wrong,& I am so sorry.Thing is,they're not so cool anymore,but you/Alex still top the intelligence factor!Keep an eye on those students & your heart in the classroom. God bless you.xox

chelz said...

thanks for checking out our blog! you are amazing and i LOVE your style! I am now a follower!

ereddy%westliberty.edu said...

I love this! I was bullied so much in school too! I am an ed major and when you go out into the schools to observe it is so hard to see kids being bullied and not knowing if it will rub the teacher the wrong way if you say something to the students!

Marissa said...

Can I just be honest and say that this post brought tears too my eyes {I'm an easy cryer} and also made me angry! Kids can be so cruel and in their cruelty not even realize or understand the damage they are causing/creating/doing. I'm glad you're able to realize what a beautiful person you are and I commend you for helping your students that get bullied. One thing we never realize as teenagers is how over rated high school really is!

xo
Marissa

Sian To said...

What an inspirational post - and an amazing coat. You are a beautiful young lady and red really is your colour.

Kristin said...

Such a beautiful post Katie. And one that I can all too well relate too. I remember the names I was called and they were horrible. I don't wish that on anyone. I have gotten much better with what I am willing to wear and working with my body instead of against it. Thanks for being an inspiration to me, and to your students.

Oh, and now I want a red coat and herringbone scarf. ;)

becky g said...

I'm so sorry, Katie - I had no idea. =( I hated high school, too, for many of the same reasons. I hated being tall (something I am trying to reverse in my girls), I hated being skinny (who would have thought. long and lanky weren't really endearing), I hated wearing glasses (it wasn't until a few years ago that i realized they were actually making fun of me in fifth grade) and even though I grew up with so many in our class I never fit in. I remember you being in my science class most particularly, Coach Gettys, but I can't remember if that was 9th or 10th grade. And I remember going on an awesome trip to New Orleans with you, too! I still have great friends from that time in my life but I was so glad to get out of Pell City and just be me! College was so much easier for me!

Katie said...

It's really amazing how many people have reached out and said they felt this way too. I feel like so much time is wasted, but it's also comforting to know I wasn't alone. You were always very kind to me and I will never forget that crazy New Orleans trip and how we just knew Mrs. Bowman was going to tell on us and our moms were going to kill us!

Congrats on the baby news too!

Katie said...

Thank you Kristin. That means so much to me. Reactions like this just affirm to me that I am doing the a worthwhile thing!

Katie said...

Thank you so much!

Katie said...

Wow! Marissa this response brought tears to my eyes (I cry easily too!) You are right about how cruel kids are, all under the pretense of "just kidding". It's sickening. I wish my school punished much more harshly for bullying! And you are so right, high school is overrated!

Katie said...

I completely understand what you mean, but hopefully you have teachers that will be open and receptive to your concerns. Unfortunately, there are teachers who are bullies themselves or just think "kids will be kids". Luckily when you have your own room you will know exactly what NOT to do!

Katie said...

Thank you and WELCOME!

Katie said...

Thank you so much, Mrs. Lawley. I was incredibly blessed with the best English teachers anyone could ask for, and you helped me more times than you know. And you are right- they are definitely not cool anymore!

Katie said...

You are right about the teachers sometimes being the problem. They either ignore bullying or even worse encourage it. It makes me want to throw up, seriously.

Katie said...

Well, photoshop helps just a little ;)

And absolutely I feel that my life led me to where I am now, and while it was awful, I know it made me a better person

Katie said...

Thank you! I love you too. And I appreciate your constant encouragement. It means so much!

Katie said...

Thank you and I think so too!

Katie said...

I love black, white, and red! Such a classy combo!

I responded to Becky in a similar way. It's amazing to discover that others struggled. I feel bad that all of us "outcasts" never connected with one another then, but I feel like this is reconnecting us in ways I never would have imagined!

Maggie Hall said...

wow. just catching up after holidays and this is a great post. true in a lot of ways- hindsight is always a bit better than reality, so I imagine it was maybe worse than we remember. And it was so good to have teachers (like you two!) who can recognize the undercurrents of a person to identify those things that can give strength or cause further weaknesses.

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