By Tyler, age 19
I honestly feel as if I have lived two lives.
I went to public school from kindergarten all the way up until sixth grade. Looking back at my experiences through my current perspective, I think I can say that I was miserable the whole time. I hated being bullied everyday. I hated being treated like a number. I hated the way my classmates acted.
Matter of fact, I hated just about everything.
Eventually, my hatred came to a boiling point, and my parents made the decision to home school me.
This saved my life.
Do you know what it is like to wake up one day, and realize that you not only understand Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold, but sympathize with them? Your entire world turns on its side! Things that you know are evil, things that you know you should not understand become crystal clear. And no matter how much you hate yourself for it, you can't stop yourself from thinking this way. I was heading down a very dark path. I had ceased to gaze into the abyss, and it had begun to gaze into me, to coin a term.
Had I not been pulled out, there is very little doubt in my mind that I would have become, for lack of a better word, evil.
Shocking? Yes, it is. I have trouble writing this; it was not a good time in my life and I am ashamed to this day of what was going on in my head.
However, do you want to read beyond the buzz words and shock value? Do you wish to understand what could warp and transform a person so? Then please, read on.
The term "bullying" has always bothered me. I don't know why; it just seems to be a label that we slap on a situation and move on. If a kid does it, it is bullying. If an adult does it, it is assault. How come assault is taboo between adults, but it is accepted as a normal growing up experience for our children? Would it be "normal" if your coworker strode into your office and slapped you around?
You would not call them a bully; you would call them all kinds of mean words, and you know you would.
Bullying. Hah. It is rather cliché, I know, but I feel that is where I should start my story.
I was raised with a strict pacifist attitude from pretty much the beginning; so I was stunned by my first encounter with a bully. The daycare that I was at had a big room filled with lots of really cool toys. One bin had dinosaurs, and one had... I don't know... icky boring girl stuff, I never checked.
Anyway, when everyone was through eating, there would always be a rush to get to the best toys. I was always one of the last ones there, but I never really minded. I never really minded, that is, until, one day, there was a brand new dimetrodon sitting right on top of the bin. Dimetrodons were, and still are, one of my favorite prehistoric lizards (no, they are not dinosaurs, they are pelycosaurs). I had to play with that lizard! I scarfed down my meal, and waited on the edge of my seat until we were excused. I ran and grabbed it. It was so absolutely cool!
And then another boy took it right out of my hands. I don't think I can properly convey my young mind's absolute confusion at this. Then he handed me an Apatosaurus and said, and I swear to God this is true, "That one is just as good... Wanna play?" He must have taken my stunned silence to mean yes, because he plopped down on the floor next to me and began playing. Of course, "playing" seemed to entail hitting me over the head with the dimetrodon.
I'd cry, he'd say, "Sorry, wanna play again?" I, being quite stupid at the time, would say yes, and he would hit me again.
I think it took me about three times to figure out the pattern, and that he was doing it intentionally. After that, I went to Mrs. Whatzzerface for help, but she was busy; I'd have to wait in line if I wanted to talk to her. So, I waited my break away, and before I got a chance to talk to her, time was up and we were off for more wacky fun!