When I was 10, 11 years old I was "bullied" by someone slightly older, whose streetwise I took as reality and respected.
"Look! Quick! You just missed it! That whole bus load of people who went past were laughing at you."
I believed it, and it certainly wasn't helpful. Neither were the frequent observations that I was "queer", which had a different meaning in those days.
When my daughter turned 35 a few months ago, I pawed through birthday cards and finally, in despair at their banality, sent her one meant for the parents of a newborn child, that said "A baby girl is a wonderful thing". I sent it to her (because I think she is a wonderful thing) , very aware that it came under the "you are queer" category. I know that I do "queer"things that maybe make sense only to me and those on my wavelength.
Older, that bullying shaped my world. When I was 56 I was amazed to find out, by chance, that my children thought that I looked quite nice, whereas in my mind it was only cosmetic makeup that allowed me to create some kind of illusion of looking ok: anyone who really knew me, as the bully did, I assumed knew that I was strange rubbish. There were quite a few experiences in my life that had suggested otherwise: I had constantly dismissed them. E. G. At one stage, many eras ago, leaving lectures on the way to the Women's Union, we had to cross a plaza where the Engineering students, all male at that time, to my horror and mortification, would line up and shout out my name and clap to its rythmn, . I cringed, could not possibly see it as a compliment, and in time started going to the men's union. That they suggested that I beome "miss engineering" seemed a twisted joke. This was fortunate, because the genuinely beautiful Tania Verstak took the role and became miss universe or more. Other experiences, along the same
I'm writing this because Charlotte Dawson, a tv presenter whom I had never seen, never watched, and whose name was unknown to me has chosen to bow out.
Photos of Charlotte show her as looking exactly "right": more than I could have dreamed of. Lush hair down past her shoulders could have been by LÓreal. Wide eyes. regular, lovely features like a Claudia Schiffer. Wide mouth, full lips, beautiful straight white teeth. Breasts, apparently enhanced. Exactly a la mode. A high level public exposure. An exceptional career.
And yet she has chosen to kill herself. Her life was so painful that she chose to exit it.
She was actually 47 years old, although she looked considerably younger. That must have taken a lot of effort, a lot of money and given her considerable fears for her future.
It sems to me that my own grouches didn' t stop me growing. Didn't stop me striving, achieving.or indeed moaning and looking for and finding different paths.
I'm actually sorry for my bully, who I still know. It can't be nice to look back on your life and see that you were nasty, can it?