Friday 29 April 2011

My Response to Prejudice (Ultimategothguide)

Firstly, congratulations to the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge on their wedding. I loved the ceremony, and all that happened. It was a beautiful vision, and when the day comes to call William my King, I shall do so with happiness, although my true allegiance always will remain with Elizabeth.Good luck with the cleanup of the international after party. You'll need it. (Also, how much do you want to bet that every living actor that has played the Doctor, and Terry Pratchett, were all there? Come on, England....they're the equivalent of giant boobs for your country.)

[/end freakshow]

I am writing this as a response to this post about prejudice toward alternative people that exists in schools and workplaces.

It is truly disgusting what people endure for not sticking to the norm, regardless of what you wear specifically. It really makes me so angry that this kind of things happen. It is the same idea as racism - that those who are different, must be destroyed.

When I think about people who have harasssed me, I have to think, "do you shout obscenities at Muslim women, too? Hindi or tranditional-dressing African people?" People get beaten over their clothes, many being hospitalised. I remember my alphagoth ex boyfriend used to yell things at muslim women, and one time, I smacked him over the back of the head and went and apologised to the woman. Another time, he was making fun privately of a woman in the shopping centre, and I screamed my head off at him and stormed off. I said to him, "Aedon, how can you say that about someone? Don't you hate it when people give you shit about what you wear? What the fuck is wrong with you?" His response was a mumbled, "I don't really care what people say." A weak and pathetic lie, because it did bother him.

How can people justify, in their minds, the treatment of goth and punk children and young adults in schools? How can they think, "hey, I just degraded someone else's life, but I'm still the coolest motherfucker around"? I've decided to write my bullying experiences, in the hopes of getting out all this anger I pent up after reading Tabby's post. Prepare for spelling and word errors due to ragepost and also because TV is on and the cats are attacking me.

I suffer from semi-severe aspergers syndrome. I am extremely high-functioning in terms of intelligence (not to toot my own horn, here, but modesty isn't the point I'm making), but as a child, I was far taller than the other children (tallest in my class and, ultimately, my school), and I was rather husky as a child (I wasn't really fat, I just wasn't a bag of bones).

I was horrifically bullied from kindergarten onwards. My (public) school forced me to religious teaching, and I was the only atheist five-year-old they had ever encountered, and the only one who could tell them at length the theory of evolution, and (i quote) "Mathmatically, God doesn't need to exist. Why does he, anyway? Can't we just be happy to exist ourselves?" I was a target, from the beginning, really. When I say my bullying was horrific, I mean it - I was beaten til blood was drawn, my food was stolen, I was cut with rocks, and one time, I tried to stand up for myself when they attempted to make me eat a dead magpie. Because I was bigger than those kids, and I pushed back, I was automatically the bully.

I left that school for the gifted and talented class at Illaroo Road in Nowra, where the first of my gothic transformation began. I had always liked "dark" music (I used to unnerve the fuck out of my teachers singing Polly by Nirvana. Yeah, I was a kid from a horror movie), and this just took off there. I was cared for and nurtured, but, in some way, was set up to fall in highschool. I knew too much, it seems.

Most teachers in highschool hated my guts. I knew whatever they were trying to say, I was constantly bored, I talked back (because, and a lot of people would agree after class, I was right), and I wasn't about to just sit there and be not entertained. I grew dreamier, and the dreamier I grew, the worse people began to pick on me.

It didn't help at all that I suffer from a disassociative anxiety (close to what Heather has, but with more hallucinating), an apparent psychotic depression (again...with more hallucinations), and post-traumatic stress from not only the abuse I suffered between kindergarten and the end of the fourth grade, but also - and I feel I must be stark, here, for the purposes of my statement - the period of time where I was raped and beaten, which lasted between a year and a half and two years. 

I made few friends, and whenever I was bullied, it was put down to "it's her fault for being a freak on purpose". Once, a girl punched me in the face because the leader of her slut pack (tribe? murder? herd? what do you call a collective of bitchy bogans, anyway? "Welfare walking"?) didn't like the song I was playing on the piano. She told the deputy principal that she was "scared" that I was going to hit her. She was twice my size and weight (not in a bad "dude she fat" kind of way - I mean she was in a different weight class than me. Not hard, I was barely 45kg, if that), and I had just stood up to ask her problem when she hooked me in the jaw. She laughed but then screamed and ran away when I tried to hit back. The teachers (other than the music teachers and the welfare teach - they were always on my side, along with the head of history, the head of english and my year advisor) basically said "well, she's a freak, who cares?" My hair was pink, I had badly-crooked teeth and wore striped/patterned socks and coloured shoes. I was deemed a "freak" because I was different and intelligent. This made me so angry, that when Heather said she was changing schools, I just didn't bother returning.

After a few months, I moved to Byron Bay and returned to school, this time at a Steiner school.

For those who don't know, the Steiner philosophy is an excellent one. It teaches the cherishing of the individual and learning through creative ways. German hippies are best hippies.

At the school I attended, this was all bullshit, a facade.

The primary school was beautiful (although I do disagree with their active discouragement of children reading before the age of seven. Actual Steiner philosophy says not to concentrate on literacy in kindy and first grade, but to encourage children who love reading at that age). The highschool, however, was bullshit and disappointment after disappointment.

Firstly, I am generally disaqueous. I don't like swimming. The tenth grade camp is scuba diving in Fiji (yeah, you read that right). My refusal to do so lead them to try and blackmail me into it, saying "now we're not saying you should leave, but if you don't like swimming, you should rethink attending this school". Literally, whose were the words spoken. On top of that, their teaching was abysmal. Steiner philosophy disapproves using technology in teaching (for example, computers, which were used constantly at that school. The library was a Mac lab with a few dictionaries in it), and yet so much of our learning was done on computers. Maths was, for example, always done online. Literally.

They promised to cherish what I had to say, how I felt, who I was. Instead, I was often, quite literally, told to "shut up" by teachers and students. They bullied me for the way I dressed, for my opinions, for my knowledge. I had this one exchange with an english teacher.

Her: Now who can tell me what marriage is?
Me: It's a religious institution.
Her: No, it's spiritual. Every culture on earth has marriage.
Me: I think you'll find every culture on earth has religion.
Her: No, they don't. Look at the Celts, they weren't religious, just spiritual, and they had marriage.
Me: ....Sorry? Did you just say what I think you said? Would you like me to name some Celtic religious gods for you?

She kicked me out after that, and I got in a heap of trouble....for proving her wrong. But that's a basic representation of the attitude of the school. "I'm right. Because I'm the teacher." Except for four teachers - Fiona, my English teacher, Adam, my Baroque Art block lesson teacher (and incarnation of The Doctor. I crushed on him hard), Deirdre, my Vis-Design teacher (who loved and cherished every individual student, so long as they showed up on time, participated actively and did what they were told), and Sally, who was the first grade teacher whose class I helped with on fridays instead of sport.

This started to go bad with the bullying. People used to throw things at me, in class and otherwise. The boys in my class cut up an eraser and pegged the very hard chunks at me, and when I called them "sick fucks, fuck off and leave me alone" as I left, said to our home teacher (who was called to the room) that they "didn't mean to hit me". I had bruises, and they were let off scott-free.

Often I was told to just "kill yourself, already", or "shut your fucking whore face, you stupid slut". I reported every incident to teachers, and nothing was done. I stopped attending class and merely ghosted about the school grounds. In class, I never did anything, just doodled on my worksheets.

One day, a boy, Noah (he and I were okay with each other, and made up rather fast afterwards), started throwing things at me and calling me names. I lost it. I had an anxiety attack and my psychosis took over. I beat the fucking daylights out of him, and I got suspended - he might have, too, I don't recall. However, when the teachers separated us and asked what had happened, he immediately said, "It was my fault. I was being horrible. Please tell her I'm sorry." I really appreciated that, and said sorry in my own way. I gave him a cookie (my baking skills are rather excellent, and my cookies and coconut chocolate was very sought-after).

The last three weeks of my last term were, undoubtedly, the best of the whole time I was there. There were only nine girls in my whole grade, and we all coincidentally took the same block elective for that term (which means every afternoon for three weeks). It was the visual design class. We all became very good friends, with each other and our devious teacher Deirdre. We got into long, philosophical conversations, and in total, got nothing finished. Deirdre told us that we were allowed to ditch other classes to go work with there. We all missed three days of other classes before we got found out. She got in an arguement with the home teacher, Jane, about it. It was amazing. I did not return to other classes, or my other elective (music, since I was left out and abused) for the last week of term.

I was glad to leave school at that note, with friends and not horrible people calling me horrible names based on the way I looked and dressed.

I urge everyone else to post their stories. The more we do, the more awareness will get out, and the more accepted we will be. It is important to stop this vile, sick and unfounded hatred towards us based on nothing but misconceptions and irrational fear.

I love you guys so much. Stay strong.


The Green Fairy said...

Gah you had a horrible experience in school! I did too for most of it, but luckily I have this ability to ignore most things people say, because like yourself I'm high functioning (and slowly my social skills will catch up I hope!)

I don't particularly want to remember all the horrible things that happened to me in school, but I do recall a funny incident a bit like your one with the Celts :P

I was in science in year 12 (why the hell did I drop chemistry for that shit?! WHY?!) and our teacher was talking about the ingredients of a particular hygiene product. One of the ingredients was 'aqua', water obviously and this is pretty much how our conversation went:

Teacher: So they use the word aqua instead of water because it sounds more appealing to the consumer, because french is classy.

Me: Um, Miss I'm fairly sure Aqua is not a French word. In fact it's Latin, you know, the Romans spoke latin and had aquaducts?

Teacher: No, I think you'll find it's French, Stephanie.

Me: So, should I go fetch a dictionary to show you that it's Latin..or...?

Teacher: No, you stay there and I'll fetch it.

...Several minutes later she returns without a dictionary. I raise my hand-

Teacher: Put your hand down and shut up, Stephanie.

...Everyone laughs.

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

That's happened to me quite a few times. XD Never with a science teacher, though. My science teachers adored me because I knew what I was talking about, particularly at the Steiner school, since the whole class was like WAT IZ EVOLUSHUN I DUN GET IT and I was like "i know everything, love me".

But I was just so dumbstruck by the teacher's stupidity that bordered on racism. I mean, she's supposed to be teaching us...and she doesn't even know what she's talking about. Also she kicked me out because I said I found a Baroque poem a 60-year-old man wrote to a fifteen-year-old about how he adored her, from her lightest angel hair, to her shapely breasts, to her lovely hips, and about how much he wanted to ravish her...really creepy. She tried to get me to write about how nice it was. I wrote "RAPE IS GOOD" and she kicked me out.

Ashlee said...

It's really sad that you had to go through that, but were an awesome kid.

Laurence 'The Beard' Williams said...

I can relate to the trouble with Asperger's. My kind wasn't so severe, but anyone with ASD is subject to the same problems. You have my deepest sympathies in all aspects of this, for all the good it can do. But just remember, those fuckwits who made the choice to single you out for your disability and appearance will never be as creative or as awesome as you. It's the same for anyone who's been bullied. Karma bitches. Karma.

Kitty Lovett; The Unadulterated Cat said...

"Karma, dude. Kar-mah."

Thanks dude. :3

Laurence 'The Beard' Williams said...

It's what I do ^^

Tenebris In Lux said...

Yikes. I'm glad I ran into this (following the blog now!) but at the same time, this is still shocking. I've browsed several blogs and search engines, forums and sites about Goth discrimination .. and it never rests, does it? Nowadays, everyone seems to label everything with "that's so emo" or "that's so gay." :S

On a brighter note, you had good content, and I'm about to browse some more ..

Xanthy said...

My brother is slightly alternative too, and also has Asperger's.
From 12 to 14, he went to the same school I attended (I don't have many good memories of that place either, btw), and it was a disaster. Even teachers made damn sure he'd leave the school. Giving him bad marks for being messy, failing him for not handing something in on time.
Classmates were even worse... They'd pretend to be his friends, so they could watch everything go wrong from up close. They threw his food around, used his hood as a trash can, pushed him off his bike on the way home, and blamed him for anything that went wrong in group assignments. He was bullied every single day, and he reported it every single day, just as the rules stated. But no-one ever did anything about it, it just went on and on and on, until he finally chose another school to go to.

My classmates were more passive-aggressive about it. Leaving me on my own, not talking to me, sharp remarks behind my back, stuff like that. It doesn't seem like much, but after six years of it, that stuff really gets to you. I was already shy and insecure, and they made it ten times worse.
This was mostly because I was goth - though it wasn't even that obvious, since my school had a lot of strict rules regarding clothing.
I graduated there two years ago, and I still have self-confidence issues because of them...

On a side-note: I know what you mean with Steiner schools' policy on reading before the age of seven. I went to Kindergarten there for a few years, and my mother actually sent me to another school because of it. I could read at a very young age, and as soon as the teachers figured that out, they removed every book that had words on it. Needless to say my mother wasn't very happy with that.


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