It's been a while since I posted, but today is the Ides of March, and yesterday was the Walk Out protest, and I have a lot on my mind while my Wildflower Child is in school...
You ever have a moment when a random (yet very important) memory flashes and you have an epiphany that is so profound you actually don't possess the language to express it?
I am having that moment and I am going to my very best to explain...
I was "that kid." I was that kid in kindergarten when the only kids who spoke to me were a girl that only spoke Spanish (and I didn't) and a boy who ate paste, with pride. I was also hearing impaired at the time, so it was very hard to connect in general.
I was "that kid" in elementary school. My social anxiety was blooming in full force, I had migraine, and early enough I had a truly shit home life that spilled over into every other facet of my being.
I was "that kid" in junior high. The girl with the hand-me-down clothing and self done haircuts and color and obsessive interest in books and entertainment that no one else gave a shit about.
I was "that kid" in high school who read Henry Rollins with the punks during lunch, out loud, and wore whatever the fuck I wanted and got straight A's and took two languages and all the arts I could and made REALLY BAD hairstyle choices. Though I did end up having a handful of close friends at both my high schools, it was hard work.
I was quiet, nerdy, unfashionable, book smart, anxious, depressed, self-harming, damaged. I also took care of my two younger siblings FROM THE BEGINNING (elementary school), had jobs when I could, took part in some very specific after school activities, and desperately did everything I could "right."
I'm not even going to get into college because that's an essay all it's own.
The point is, I was THAT KID. Now here comes the revelation...
In 8th? grade (possibly 7th, a lot of my memory is no longer linear due to trauma), my math teacher, MATH teacher, noticed I was doing fine academically, but physically and emotionally I was withering. I weighed 92lbs at the time. I was my full height. I was not anorexic, I was dying of stress.
He gave me a book.
The book was "Ender's Game" by Orson Scott Card. Now Card has turned out to be a huge piece of shit as a person, but that book became incredibly important to me and if you don't know the story here's an example of how this book, given out of concern to a troubled kid, could have resulted in something VERY DIFFERENT than me feeling like I had an ally who actually cared if I continued to breathe.
Ender is six-years-old in the beginning of the book, (this is very much a sci-fi book, and way better than the movie). He's being bullied at school because he's a third child (population control) and he's constantly monitored by the government because all children are, humans are at war and the government is recruiting at a young age. Anyway, ENDER KILLS HIS BULLY IN THE BEGINNING OF THE BOOK! He hits him in the face and drives his nose into his skull. Ender never learns the boy actually died, but he killed him, at six. First grade.
I was being bullied. I was being abused. I was isolated. I was weird. I was scared all the time. I was given this book by a concerned teacher who knew I loved science fiction. Ender commits genocide in the climax of the novel. He is a murderer. A mass murderer.
Now, going with the victim blaming bullshit I've previously mentioned, it would be incredibly easy to assume I would have gone on a shooting spree (granted I'm female, so statistically less likely, but still). ALL THE FACTORS that people are blaming this type of mass violence on, were there. I had everything except, I'm not a sociopath. I'm not a murderer. Nothing any of those people hurting me, or that book that actually made murder a viable option, convinced me to commit violence against my peers.
So... Can we agree the reverse is true as well? If someone is a sociopath, a person amenable to the idea of killing, is a hand out or an invitation to lunch going to stop them? Is being nice going to stop the person who doesn't see you as a person from hurting you? And if the damn adults don't respond when kids say they're worried, then absolutely NOTHING will work.
I'm Kirsten. Some things you could label me with; tattooed, geek, mama, animal lover, weirdo, nerd, writer, movie and TV addict, lazy, ambitious, insomniac, feminist, LGBTQ+.