Hi. My name is Linda, and I am a so-called "baby boomer". I happened to see a story of the author of this website in the Chicago Tribune and looked at the site the other day. I contemplated telling my story and feel if it can help at least one other person, then it was worth writing about. Also, I feel it will be helpful to me, to help talk about this, or write about it.
I am of Italian-American descent and was born with a "Roman nose". I was not aware I was "different" than any other little girl, until I started being made fun of. The first time I remember someone making fun of me was when I was around 5 or 6 yrs old. I happened to be in an area where there were construction workers and a man told me,"how could such a little girl have such a big nose?" I can still remember that to this day and I am now 52 yrs old. It devastated me at the time. I did not understand why some strange man would tell me such a mean thing.
When I was in school, I felt that I was not included in games at recess and parties. I felt ignored in the younger grades. I kind of withdrew into myself and stayed most of the time. I did not know what was wrong, but I felt there must be something wrong with me. I went to overnight camp when I was 9 yrs old and remember kids, mostly boys, calling me "Jimmy Durante", and "big nose", and "elephant nose". I was called"ugly" quite a bit,too. I would just look down and walk away and cry by myself. I couldn't wait to go home. There were some fun times, but I still felt rejected and alone. My "best friend" would be two-faced and make fun of me also, when she was good friends with the in-group. When they rejected her for some reason or another, she'd come looking for me again.She had an upturned, "cute" nose, and it seemed the boys liked her. This went on all during grammer school.
Even teachers acted sarcastic to me. I was not the brightest child, and I think they felt they were wasting time on me.But that is a negative judgement I'm making. That is another thing, I am VERY hard on myself. Harder than anyone could be on me. ACtually I think I'm just as smart or maybe smarter than a lot of people.I was told by a boy in 8th grade, whom I had a big crush on, that I was the cover girl on Mad Magazine. I was so hurt and crushed. I just went away and cried alone. I had no one I could talk to about this. If I told my mother, she just said they were jealous. She would say to tell them, "sticks and stones may break my bones, but names can never hurt me". That is so untrue!! I feel the hurt is much worse and deeper than ALL the physical scars would be. I feel scarred by every insult, ignoring behavior, being shunned ,overlooked,slights,and feel it was very dehumanizing. I was also called Harpo, after Har po Marx, because my hair was short and curly.
I tried to become a cheerleader in 8th grade, and really wanted it so bad, but did not make it. I felt that the only girls that were picked were the "pretty ones". I just was never good enough; in fact, that started to ingrain itself into my head,that I was not good enough. I still have deep feelings of inferiority,poor self-esteem,and feelings of failure.
I felt since childhood that I was special, even though I was not getting it from school . I did have some good friendships in H.S., but when it came to boys, I never had dated until after H.S. I had been "fixed up" with someone for the Sr. Prom. That was a strange experience. It was not what you would call a great time. But I was so glad I could wear a formal and be with my friends at the prom. But the boy I went with had to go straight home after the prom. We couldn't go out with our group. I think back and am grateful for the friendships I had in H.S. When I read these stories of people who had NO friends, my heart breaks for them.
I was also made fun of on the bus I took home from school, by 2 bullies, I want to call them something else. They would tell me,"you must've been a beautiful baby, cause baby look at you now". I just was mortified. I was a petite girl all my life, and if I was bigger I would've beat the hell out of them. They regularly reminded me of how ugly I was. The thing was, to me , they were not all that great looking. Also, how they did not seem to care if my feelings were hurt, nothing affected them.They had no remorse. There were many other instances in my life that I've endured.My Mom was supportive, but my Dad was not there for me emotionally. I could never turn to him with problems.I forgive him for that now, but at the time, I needed him.
I will say, that it always infuriated me to see any child, or anyone for that matter, be made fun of . I will immediately intervene. In H.S. though, there was one girl who was made fun of all the time, and I did not stick up for her. I regret that now.
I could go on, but I think you have the point of my story. Thankyou for letting me share. God Bless each of you for sharing your stories and the sufferings you endured. I feel that people in school should be prosecuted for this. It is a crime. It is also a crime if teachers do not intervene. But it is insidious and the victim can't always be protected, that is the problem. Thank God this is coming out more now. In my generation, it was mostly ignored.
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