This weeks Gallery theme is A MEMORY, and although I'm sure most people's will be all happy snaps, mine is a bit different.
This is me in 1993. I'm 11 (I'm the one on the right in the red jumper. The other two are Donna and Karl, both of whom I'm still mates with).
I'm smiling here. Its a class assembly, which I loved, and we'd just got back from a school trip. My Mum knitted the jumper, and I was feeling quite posh as I'd borrowed a pair of earrings.
But behind the smile was a little girl who was singled out, day in and day out. Because I worked hard. Because my Dad had a ponytail. Because I wore uniform. Because I was a geek.
I was bullied at school by fellow classmates. One year (the year before when I was in year 5) I and a few of my friends were even bullied by a teacher who hated us Geeky kids.
I went to Big School and thought that was that, it would stop.
Wrong. It got worse. It was no longer good enough to say nasty things. They had to push me in the queue. Or pull my hair. Or nick my belongings. Boys who were several years above joined in. It was a free for all.
It wasn't like now, teachers took a blind eye, and wrote it off as kids at play.
I was a disappointment to everyone. Or that's how I felt.
I would dream vividly of the day my teeth would be straight and my eyes would right themselves, and I'd lose the gawkyness. Or I would wish that a girl like Cher in Clueless would pick me out of the crowd of geeks and make me pretty and popular.
It never happened.
This is me, now.
This is why I hate bullying. This is why I hate people thinking it's OK to belittle or cat call or bitch without remorse. It isn't right. In fact its worse as we're adults. We can't hide behind the mask of childhood wrongdoing.
No one has the right to say their opinion is better than yours. That's why they are opinions. It's not wrong if you disagree with someone's words or thoughts. Its the way you go about telling the person that you disagree with them. Put your point across but don't do it to hurt. And don't do it anonymously. That's just sad, and lacks balls.
So, can we please all stop, and think, before we hurt each other. Its easy to do when we are sat at a PC. But the PC leads to people who have feelings.
Its not often I agree with anything my Dad has ever said. But one time, he told my useless Head Master that if he didn't stop the bullying that went on at my school, someone would get seriously hurt. The Headmaster laughed him off and said we singled ourselves out for abuse. My Dad got angry as the man walked away, and said, "Is it going to take for one of these poor kids to harm themself before you'll stop them being picked on?" The Head master laughed some more, right in my Dad's face.Sadly, he was right. A very good friend of mine hung himself. He was a talented artist and sculptor, and amazingly witty and clever. He would have made a great man. All because he was talented.