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ImageOver the past year, I’ve heard of this documentary. I’ve heard it called controversial. I even believe it upset people, but not exactly for the right reasons. Personally, I had put off watching it for a very long time, mainly for my own issues of bullying. I, myself, was a victim of it. I’ll tell you my story further down.

The documentary follows different stories of bullying. First, you meet Alex, a boy who is an outcast. He has the stereotypical “nerd” or “geek” look to him. He’s quiet and shy, and in the beginning he just deals with the bullying that is brought upon him. Within the first few minutes of the film, you are thrown into his every day life. When he asks another boy to be his friend, the boy responds with something along the lines of, “I’m not your fucking friend. I’m going to take a knife and cut your face off. You watch, I’m going to bring a knife and kill you.” My mouth dropped. I didn’t know how else to react other than to just be shocked at the response the boy gave to Alex. All Alex did was innocently ask him to be his friend, and to be told such horrible things? Sickening.

You also meet the parents of a boy who killed himself due to bullying, a girl who is in juvenile detention because she brought a gun on a bus due to being bullied so much, a lesbian girl, and finally you meet a husband and wife whose son’s funeral you get to witness. The boy was 11 years old.

It’s a scary, realistic view of what goes on between kids. Riding the bus is not quiet. It’s not full of laughter. Bus drivers see the things that go on behind them on the bus. They hear the language being used. They do not do one damn thing.

I found this movie to be incredibly sad. It brought every emotion that I possibly had to the surface. I found myself yelling at the principal of Alex’s school when she told his parents that, “I rode that bus route before. Those kids were nothing but perfect angels.” Well, of course they are going to be, you dumb fucking cunt. Excuse my language, but that just brings a fire up inside me that just…I just can’t. Nope. Are you kidding me? Is that a joke? Are you FOR REAL?! I honestly suggest, whether or not you’re a parent (but especially if you are one), to see this movie. It will shake you.

So why does this movie make me so fired up? I was a victim of bullying. A lot of it. Being a kid wasn’t easy for me at all. In fact, the only things I can really remember about my childhood are those horrible times. When I look back on when I was a kid, I never enjoyed it. I like being an adult, paying bills and everything, moreover being a kid. I wouldn’t go back to that even if you paid me millions of dollars.

I grew up fat. Just plain fat. Not like, crazy obese like you see with some kids, but just…I was fat, ok? I felt like a lot of the times, instead of getting to know me for me, kids judged me on what I looked like on the outside. I was considered lazy, useless, ugly, etc. Little did most of them know was that I was on a youth soccer team (& was good at it), I played community kids softball, I played outside…a lot. I wasn’t an inactive kid. In fact, I was very active. I just had unfortunate genetics.

I remember playing dodgeball in middle school, and instead of throwing balls at the rest of the kids on my team, the opposing team all threw dodgeballs at me, and me only. I remember a girl, whom I thought was my best friend, tell the whole school that the reason I was fat was because I was pregnant. Hello, I was eleven. I hadn’t even gotten my period yet. In my science class that same year, someone had put blood (or something similar, I really don’t have any idea) on my seat. It was dried, but when I sat down, I didn’t even see it. So, I sat on it, not realizing it until a boy (one of my several bullies), told me to stand up and look at my chair. Sure enough, there was the dried blood. That’s when all the kids in my class started chanting, “Brooke got her period.” I had never felt so humiliated in my entire life. Thankfully, my teacher took it upon herself to “punish” the rest of my class, but I don’t know what giving them extra homework really did to adjust their attitudes. I went home early that day. I remember having a meeting with my mother, the girl who spread the rumor about me being “pregnant”, her mother and the principal. The school did nothing. I remember having a meeting with my parents and the principal on the dried blood incident. They did nothing.

I remember the last time I ever rode the bus. I’d been dealing with being shoved, head slammed into the window and the like, but it came to a head when I was trying to sit in the back of the bus on our way home. I was one of the last few stops, so I wanted to sit in the back and read my book. This boy stopped me saying that I wasn’t “cool” enough to sit in the back of the bus. I told him that I could do whatever I wanted to. His response? Lifting himself up on the back of the bus seats and kicking me so hard in the chest that I fell backwards, smacking my head on the bus’ floor. I told the bus driver. He told me to “shut the hell up” and sit down.

My mom spoke with the principal and the bus driver on the incident. They did nothing.

I remember sledding one day with my friend Cathy in upstate New York. Her family were watching me while my parents were in Italy. A boy that had been bullying me wouldn’t leave me alone, calling me a fat ass, ugly, and the like. He punched me. I had finally had enough, reeled back, and punched him so hard in the face, that he fell backwards. His mouth was bleeding. He told me that I was “dead.” We left the sledding area, needless to say.

I remember a boy (mind you, I had ONLY boy bullies, minus the girl that spread that rumor) poking me, pushing me, calling my names messing with me one day at school. I’d never even spoken to him before, but for some reason, I was his target. It was hat day at school. I was living in Davenport, IA at the time. He kept flipping off my hat and shoving me. When I got to my science class, I had finally had enough. He flipped my hat off and then him and his friend squished my desk together so hard to hold me in. He was behind me. I took my mechanical pencil and scraped him along his stomach. The principal tried to pin it all on me, tried to suspend me. I called it self defense. The science teacher, who was in the class at the time this was happening, did absolutely nothing. He told the boy, “She told you to stop.” And that was that.

Being violent back to these kids was never the solution. However, I can sympathize with those that do act out violently against their bullies, only because when you are pushed so hard, beaten down so much, sometimes you can’t do anything else other than react. I honestly don’t remember hitting the kid with my mechanical pencil. Nor do I overly remember punching the kid in the face. I honestly think that I just blacked out. Anger took over so much that my body just shut down and reacted out of instinct.

By the time I got to high school, I had absolutely NO self esteem. By my sophomore year, the only happiness I felt was by cutting myself with razors. It let the pain out. I didn’t do it for attention. I didn’t want anyone to see it. So, I wore long sleeves…all the time. I remember sitting in French. We were given scissors to work on a project. I kept mine hidden when the teacher came to pick them up. She had then put on a video for us to all watch. I just sat there, scissors open, cutting myself in the middle of class. I didn’t know how to handle emotions anymore, and I just didn’t want to deal with life as it was.

So, I planned my funeral. I sat in my room one night and wrote out a list of all the items I owned and then assigned them to the friends that I did have to have when I died. My stereo and cd collection would go to Sarah, my clothes to the Salvation Army, this to that person, that to this person…etc. I wrote out a letter to my parents assuring them that they would be better off without a daughter who couldn’t really live. Who couldn’t enjoy anything. I wrote out options. Pills, hang….we didn’t own a gun, so that was out. I was truly a shell of a human being. I put it all under my bed, went to sleep, and then went to school the next morning. That night I was going to do it.

Fortunately, my mom was cleaning the house and made her way to my room to vacuum and straighten up. She had found everything. I came home and both my parents were home waiting for me to talk. My mom was crying, my dad could barely look at me.

Over time, I got help. I saw a therapist and took medication. Nowadays, I am a much happier person. There are times where things are still hard. When I have my lows, boy….I have my lows. It’s hard to not internalize my feelings, but I force myself to talk to people so I don’t let it build. I don’t take medication anymore, and haven’t since my sophmore year in college. I am thankful for my mom, my dad…most of all, my husband. The friends I have now….all of these people have saved me, whether they know it or not. They help me remember that life is worth being here for.

So, if someone you know is being bullied, please see the following link for help:

http://www.stompoutbullying.org/livechat_portal.php

If you, or someone you know, is suffering from self-harm and depression, you can find help here:

Need help? In the U.S., call 1-800-273-8255
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline

If you are a friend of someone who is being bullied, or is suffering from depression/self-harm, be the voice that they need. HELP THEM. They will appreciate it in the end. We don’t need anymore kids dying from this….

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ImageNow, I’ve heard of this movie here and there over the last several months, but since I live in Iowa and independent movies (or limited release) don’t really come out where I live, I had to wait until this came to DVD. Netflix read my mind, because today I found it in my Recommended For You section. Thanks, Netflix!

The movie follows three single girls played by Kirsten Dunst (Interview with A Vampire, Bring  It On), Lizzy Kaplan (Mean Girls, Hot Tub Time Machine) and Isla Fisher (Wedding Crashers, Confessions of A Shopaholic) as they scurry about trying to fix their friends wedding dress the night before her wedding (played by Rebel Wilson). 

On the outside, it looked like a light-hearted comedy. Something to just watch, giggle a bit, and then whatever. No. It’s a dark, dark comedy. All three of the girls seem to have a love-hate relationship with Becky (the bride). Nice to her face, but total shits behind her back calling her fat, pig face, and not believing that someone “like her” could ever marry such a successful and handsome man. It was a reminder of how much I really do hate girls. 

At its core, however, the movie is really about relationships. Jenna (Lizzy Kaplan) is petrified knowing that her middle school/high school boyfriend is going to be at the wedding, as she still has feelings for him. Katie (Isla Fisher) is single, thinks of herself as dumb, but ends up finding a guy who likes her for her. And Reagan (Kirsten Dunst) plays the uber power bitch maid of honor who cheats on her boyfriend with the ever delicious James Marsden. These girls are so beyond messed up psychologically that I find it more depressing than funny. The Hangover was a thousand times better. Sorry, ladies!

However, the shining light was Lizzy Kaplan. She’s crude, says what’s on her mind, and is heavily neurotic, but it works. I found myself hating her at first, but then you slowly start to like her more and more. Especially when she and her ex expose the secret of why they broke up in the first place. 

In the end, I’m glad I didn’t pay movie ticket prices (and snacks) to see this in theaters. Seeing it for free makes me feel like I didn’t waste all my money on something that I felt luke warm about. So, if you do have Netflix, watch it if you can’t find anything else. Otherwise, stick to The Hangover to feed the need of watching a movie that is about 24hrs of wedding related partying. 

4/10

Starring: Lizzy Kaplan, Kirsten Dunst, Adam Scott, James Marsden, Isla Fisher, Rebel Wilson, and those two dudes from that canceled TV show “Perfect Couples”.


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