14: It Was Over

14: It Was Over

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Teens Talk Middle School

It Was Over

Labels are for filing. Labels are for clothing. Labels are not for people.

~Martina Navratilova

Middle School. For three long, hard years those two words meant only one thing to me: torture. It all started during my first week of school when I started taking the bus. My family was too poor to afford a car at the time, so that was my only way to get there without having to walk two and a half miles. As soon as I got onto the bus, things were different. The kids were acting like jerks!

Halfway to school, the kids had already started picking on the special needs kids who had been mainstreamed that year. They had already made fun of their looks and their weight when I couldn’t take it anymore. I looked at David, the leader of the bullies, and said, “Hey! Shut up! How would you feel if someone did that to you?”

At that moment, I felt like I was on top of the world. The kids who were being picked on looked at me as if I were their hero. Even the bus driver stopped the bus to look at me. I thought that I had stopped the teasing when suddenly David looked at me with a mean smirk. “I don’t know,” he said, “How does it feel, FATTY?” That was when I became the center of their torment.

Every day when I got on the bus, I had to deal with them. I had gum stuck in my hair, food thrown at me, and I was called the cruelest and most disgusting names. Sometimes, the bullies would even take my backpack from me and throw it outside. They would watch me run after it from the windows. As a result of all the bullying, my grades suffered terribly. I went from having all As and Bs, to having Ds and Fs. I was miserable. All I wanted to do was go back to elementary school where I felt safe and happy.

When my mom finally bought a car, and was able to drive me to school, I thought that things were going to get better. I was wrong. I had become the bullies’ little pet. They made fun of me every day in the hallway. They would wait for me to do something that they could tease me for. I had practically no friends because nobody wanted to hang out with the butt of everyone’s teasing. I was all alone. I felt as if I were holding the weight of the world on my shoulders.

During this lonely period, I started writing. I would write horror novels and sequels and prequels to books that I had read. It was my only form of escape. One day, in Language Arts class, our assignment was to write a dragon slayer novel. Just when I was about done writing my story, the kid who sat next to me grabbed it and started to read it. I half expected him to tear it up when he looked at me and said, “Hey, this is pretty good! My name is Ricky. You’re Jennifer, right?”

When Ricky said those words, he made me one of the happiest people in the room. That day, I felt like I was walking on sunshine. I had lunch with him and his friends that day. We talked about our favorite horror movies, books, and the math teacher that all of the sixth graders thought was evil. We also talked about the bullies. We all bonded together over how hurt we were by them. Somehow, we all understood each other. We could joke around and be ourselves and not try to fit in.

After a whole long year of torment, I felt wanted. I was no longer being teased. It was finally over.

~Jennifer Perkin

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