Monday, August 15, 2011

VICTIMS, by Abbie Cooper

I am the class clown. Laughed at, not laughed with. I say what I say to attract attention - the wrong kind of attention. People talk about me behind my back. They say bad things about me that hurt. I hide the pain through laughter, but my lungs just hurt all the more. The smile is painful.

I am the lone virgin. My friends taunt me endlessly. Why can't I find someone? Why am I such a loser, they ask. Nobody loves me - not in that way. I haven't found anybody special yet. I'm going to wait, I say. I don't mind, because I want it to mean something. They say practice makes perfect, or this 'special someone' will abandon you. You've got to be good or be good at it. I tell them no, but it hurts to tell.

I am the freak. Everybody avoids me. Everything about me is frightening. The skin, the earrings, the clothes. The silence. The darkness and the poetry. They don't like me and I don't like them. It's nice to wait in the darkness, for the darkness to take me. I can't wait for the end to come, because it means I can get away from the noise and the shouts and the pain. I just want them to leave me alone.

I am the nerd. I prefer books to people. My best friends are imaginary, but at least they're nice to me. Every month my glasses get broken, every week I lose things from my bag, every day I hide at the back of the library. I'm clumsy, I'm forgetful, I'm shy. But none of that is the reason why. I'll get good grades, but then I'll be stuck. I don't have the confidence to climb the ladder to success, because someone else is bound to knock me down on their way up.

I am the loner. I live alone. I like being alone. People won't leave me, even though they're so scared. I want to be here. I sit in the dark and do what I like, say what I like to the wall. Sometimes I hurt myself, but I don't mind that. Hurting takes the pain away. I pull up my sleeve and get ready to start.

I am the genius. I don't see, I observe. I understand everything. But I don't understand other human beings. They don't understand me. I don't like to talk to them, because they're stupid and they don't understand anything. I don't have friends, I just have enemies and colleagues. I see everything, but I don't see why they say such things.

I am the villain. I have to do things that I don't want to do. I have to, in order to survive. I smuggle and beat and run and hide and attack and seduce. What I don't do is have any fun. It's not fun, but it's necessary. I have to help the people I care about, but by helping the people I hate. It's either that or I am hunted down. I just choose the option that is slightly less painful. Words hurt more, but you can live with your verbal wounds.

I am the problem. I don't have a home. I ran away. I know I'm ungrateful, but I'd rather be here than there. I want to get away. It hurts sometimes just to sit in the same room. I can't do anything right, so I ran away to get out of the way. Perhaps I'll stop bumping into fists now.

I am the alien. It hurts when they touch me, so they hit me harder. I don't understand their ways. They're too different. I'm too different. I'm an outsider, and they talk nonsense. With their metaphors and bright colours and their heads filled with things that aren't connected. I close my eyes, cover my head and count to myself in prime numbers, adding up the squares as I go along. People don't make sense. They tell me I have learning difficulties. I tell them I'm just wrong somehow. I hope it's not my fault.

I am the bi. People avoid me. They think I'm wrong in the head, that I'm going to hell for being in love. I can't adopt a child because me and my partner are the same. They say it's unethical for a child to grow up with two fathers or two mothers. It would affect their growth. So I tell my love we can't have a child, because we wouldn't want to get the poor dear hurt.

I am the cripple. People pick me last to play. They talk to me like I'm a child. They think I'm dangerous, that I caused the accident. They trip me when I come round the corner. They bend down to look me in the eye. People like me don't get far, career-wise. I'm going to follow in Hawking's wheeltracks, and then they'll see me for who I really am.

I am the dinosaur. I watch from my armchair, frightened that they'll come again tonight. I can't get away, and I can't tell anybody. The police won't listen. Last time they broke a window. It'll get worse soon, I can tell. There's nothing I can do. I'm too old to stop them. Maybe the Home by the lake wasn't such a bad idea. At least it was safe and it had good heating. I'll go lock the doors and sit upstairs. Maybe they'll spare me the trouble tonight. The football's on.

We are all victims. Where do you stand?

~Victims, by Abbie Cooper
"Bullying comes in all shapes and forms. It can be practiced by any age and any gender, and received by any age and any gender. Bullying does not exist only among teenagers. There are also many adults who may feel threatened in the workplace, or by members of their local community or close family. Sometimes it can cause relationships to fall apart, or even be fatal. Verbal wounds are far harder to heal. Bullying - verbal, physical or cyber, direct or indirect - is wrong and needs to be stopped."

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