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Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado

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Words DO Hurt: A Bully Victim's Story
By Karen Lynn Vidra, The Texas Tornado
Saturday, January 31, 2004



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A young teenager writes of some of the things she has had to put up in elementary school and why she now feels that she doesn't matter.

This story is fiction, but the feelings are real. I was bullied myself as a child and as a teenager, and years later, I still can remember and feel the pain.

I have to say that I am glad the elementary school years are behind me. The elementary school years were among the worst years of my life.

I was teased all throughout elementary school because I happen to be short for my age (at the age of fourteen, I look more like ten), and I happen to be flat in appearance. I also have learning disabilities that cause me to have problems reading and writing; and school is absolute hell for me; but at least nobody picks on me anymore.

My name is Angela Marie Ridgeway, and I am, as I said, fourteen; but I look more like ten. I am only as big as a fifth grader, and I am very young looking with my long, brown hair and girlish figure. I have blue-green eyes that change color (depending on my mood), freckles sprinkled on my nose and cheeks, and a small, heart-shaped face. I am NOT ugly, but with all the teasing I have had to put up with in elementary school, I don't feel like I am special. I feel worthless, and I feel ugly and tainted somehow.

I was teased because of my being short and looking more like a first grader than a third grader; and as I grew, I never did grow as fast as a lot of the other kids. I still was teased in fourth, fifth, and sixth grades; and I also was teased because of my learning disabilities. I was called "Dummy", "Retard", "Stupid", "Baby", "Awful Angela", "Shrimp", "Pee-Wee", "Special Needs", and other things just as horrible and hardhitting. I was the kid who had spitballs tossed into her hair, the kid who was the butt of jokes and catcalls, the kid who fell while walking to the blackboard or back to my desk as some yoko put his foot out and I happened to trip over it, or the kid who had nasty notes passed on to her during class (and the teacher never did catch the troublemakers who teased me). I was the kid who had no friends, the kid who was picked last for games during gym or recess period (I was also rather clumbsy in nature), and the kid who often came off the schoolbus, crying her eyes out. School was my worst nightmare, and mom got tired of me trying to play sick so I could get out of school; and I ended up going, even if I DID feel bad. My grades were horrible, and my parents were always ragging on me to try to do better; but the thing was, I COULDN'T. School was awfully hard for me, and I HATED it.

The teasing started as soon as I would get on the bus, and it didn't let up until I got off the bus; every moment at school was filled with teasing, and I couldn't make it through a day without crying. That only made the teasing worse; and I tried like hell to ignore the teasing, but it was hard when the kids would do it CONSTANTLY and wouldn't let up! Now I am fourteen, and I still remember the words, the awful names the kids called me, and then people wonder why I have such a poor self image of myself today.

I have been going to therapy at a local mental health clinic to help me deal with past memories and ongoing depression. I take medication to help me cope with my depression, and it helps; but when I think back to the times to when I was teased, I can't help but feel sad, and I also have been doing journaling and writing out my feelings. (That was my mom's suggestion.) I have been getting along better with my mom and dad, but I still have problems with my brother, Ashton, who is six, and nothing but a big pain in the rear. He has c.p. and is on crutches; and he thinks that he should be treated special because he is handicapped; but all I see in him is that he is an annoying little pest. He is always doing things to get me into trouble, and at times I would love nothing better to do than to wring his scrawny little neck--with his crutches!

The medication, the writing, and the therapy at the mental health clinic has done wonders for my depression; but I have to remain in this treatment program until my depression is cured. I am being monitored by both my psychologist and my regular pediatric doctor, and I am also being monitored for signs of "suicidal tendancies" because I am considered "high risk". (That's another thing I have tried to do: at 11, and again at 12, I tried to kill myself. The first time, I tried to overdose on aspirin--all THAT got me was a trip to the E.R. and get my stomach pumped; that was NOT fun!--, and the second time, I slit my wrists while I was in the bathtub taking a bath. This is why I am undergoing psychiatric treatment now.)

All of this happened because I was teased; and even now, I still live (and deal) with the pain. Words DO hurt, and I am a living example of that. I have been teased and bullied most of my early life, and now I am suffering emotionally because of it. This is why I get so mad whenever I see a kid teasing another kid because I know how it was, and it is NOT fun being on the receiving end of a bully's torments! I also know how teasing or bullying can damage a person, and people have killed themselves (or others) because of being bullied. I nearly was a statistic myself; but I got help, and this is why I am still here, at the age of fourteen. But I still suffer damage as a result of the bullying: I suffer from nightmares or flashbacks, and I still can get depressed; and this is why I am writing this down, as a means to help me with my ongoing healing. Bullying is something that MUST be dealt with, and it needs to be stopped--NOW.


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Reviewed by Nickolaus Pacione 4/7/2004
Reminds me of the one I wrote on this subject titled "Past Scars." This is a powerful write and one I can relate to since I was the one that was bullied day in and out. Someone rammed me into a bus window when I was 17, I almost didn't graduate because no one came forward to bring them to justice. Though one did, and I am still thankful he did. I get bullied a lot psychologically online because of my political views and my writing ability; the ones who do it the worst are the Grammer-Nazis. They cannot see a story which is creatively solid. This is a solid story here.
Reviewed by Simon Thurlow 2/3/2004
Sadly an all too true story...even in this day and age
Reviewed by Sarah Tagert 2/2/2004
very true write, loved reading this!
Reviewed by Michelle Kidwell Power In The Pen 2/1/2004
(((((Karen)))))))
An excellent story, keep it up...
God Bless
~Michelle~
Reviewed by Karla Dorman, The StormSpinner 1/31/2004
(((karen)))

you've penned a horrifyingly true story, even though it is fiction. too many kids have gone through the torture of being bullied and the memories scar them for life--i know, and so do you

powerful, searing write--one that needs to be read by all school administrators and educators, and all parents

BRAVA for your courage in posting this write--well done

(((HUGS))) and love,

karla. :(
Reviewed by Kate Clifford 1/31/2004
Heart felt write. Been there too! Those that don't understand that words can affect a person throughout their lifes and create deep pain are either the bullies or the ones that help them. Great write!
Reviewed by E T Waldron 1/31/2004
Karen your loving compassion shows through in this piece. Bullies are a terrible problem. I don't think society has ever really tried to deal with the situation. Mostly because it is so widespread coming from within families that allow their children to be bullies. Parents are the real problems, and the only way I have ever seen this dealt with was in a neighborhood I once lived in that decided to stop it, by dealing with each bully incident as it occured and making the parents responsible for the actions. It isn't easy, and we have to be dedicated.Some parents even moved because of the pressure on them to stop their kids bullying. That's the only way it will be stopped. Neighborhood by neighborhood.
Reviewed by Ed Matlack 1/31/2004
So what to do with bullies would be my question, Karen? Firstly they have to be identified and most kids that are bullied don't want to do that as they may get in more problems with that bully. I can identify what this young lady went thru realizing this is not real, but I did the same thing, I was skinny and a wuss till one day...a kid stuck his foot in the aisle and I stomped on it and broke it, no one bothered me from then on, for I started to stand up for myself, not very much but I did try...no one bothers me now, of course! Not even the idiots from High school that I saw last year or so at a reunion, they tried but my size and demeanor, took them aback...and to be honest, it felt good to slink down to their level for a change, but it is a problem, and it SHOULD be dealt with, but again how does it get done? An excellent story from a fine storyteller that you are, Mz Karen...Peace, Ed & Rufuz


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