My high school building was shaped like an “H”. To get from one wing to the other, you had to use a short corridor. That wouldn’t have been a problem if the doors on the passageway opened to the French or Algebra classrooms. People wouldn’t be inclined to linger, would they?
No such luck. The gym was on the left. The cafeteria on the right. Cool people were always leaning against those corridor walls. Particularly during lunch hour.
I loathed walking down the Hell-gauntlet.
Detested it. Sweated over the prospect. Tried to avoid it.
You see, I was the girl with the wrong hem length in high school. Go ahead, shrug. I do now, looking back. Big deal. In the context of world events, who cares how long or short your skirt is?
Turns out, mean girls do. Also, a few second-string jocks, who lacked in star qualities but were steller with cruel quips.
There was no escape from them. At least four times a day I had to face the Corridor of the Cool. Like every other person on the D list, I pretended I didn’t hear the comments. About my weight. About my clothing. About my clumsiness and unpopularity. But I did. Shame curled around my ribs and hugged me hard, each and every time.
I took those foul words too much to heart. Foolishly, I incorporated them—sewing those criticisms into the cloth of me.
I’ve changed. I’ve grown. I’ve learned a thing or two. But I have never forgotten what it felt like to be an outsider; an observer who couldn’t figure out the map because it was written in a language she didn’t understand.
I was lucky. My teenage years predated social media. The mean girls and the second-string jocks couldn’t follow me home. Once I turned the corner to our street, I was almost home free. I was safe.
Amanda Todd, and others like her, are never safe. Their bullies breed in the dark, fingers curled over the keyboard.
I’ve told you my story, as minor as it may be. If you have a story, visit the blogs listed below. Leave a comment.
Bullies breed in the dark. Come on. Help shine a light. Tell your story.
Mandy M. Roth
Michelle M. Pillow
Jackie Morse Kessler
Jesse L. Cairns
Ruth Frances Long