Claws of Unhappiness

April 29, 2012
By GwenAviles BRONZE, BROOKLYN, New York
GwenAviles BRONZE, BROOKLYN, New York
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Favorite Quote:
If you hear a voice within you say "you cannot paint," then by all means paint, and that voice will be silenced. ~Vincent Van Gogh

They made snarky comments towards me. They put garbage in my lunchbox. They excluded me from their birthday parties, which would have hurt enough without them giving out the invitations purposely right in front of my face to gauge my reaction. They made me believe they were truly my friends, only to rip apart my fragile 11 year old ego behind my back. They even wrote about me in their “Slam book,” also known as a “Burn book,” a seemingly innocuous black and white composition book in which they wrote insults about our classmates in.

“Gwen looks like a gorilla when she wears her glasses.”
“She’s such a teacher’s pet and a geek.”
“Did you see her art project? She can’t even draw.”

When I think of these comments now, five years later, I can’t believe that I was so hurt by them in the first place. Did I actually cry over the fact that they called me a gorilla? I mean, I think it’s pretty obvious that I am a human being, especially given the fact that like any human being, words affect me.

However, looking back on those horrible two years, I believe I’ve gained some pearls of wisdom. My first pearl is for the teachers who may be reading what I’ve written today. At one point during this bullying, one of my teachers caught these girls passing around their “Slam book,” took the book from them, proceeded to read it, and did not take any action against these girls who had written such heinous comments about the whole class. There were no repercussions; the teacher literally turned the other cheek. At another point, my afterschool teacher saw the bullying going on at afterschool and asked my mom if I was going to leave the school, instead of addressing the issue. It is disheartening to me that teachers saw what was going on and refused to get involved. As a teacher, you are supposed to bring out the best in your students. You have a moral responsibility to address bullying. Don’t underestimate the impact you could have. Half of these tragic suicides can be prevented if teachers get involved.
Lastly, I would like to address anyone who might be getting bullied right now. You WILL SURVIVE. Things will only get better. I wrote a class newspaper when I was in the 5th grade and I got to choose two helpers to help me staple the newspapers (It was a big deal). I purposely didn’t pick one of my bullies and she was crying profusely over being excluded. You would think her crying would be a victory for me, but surprisingly, it didn’t me feel good. Putting someone down to build yourself up is fake confidence. It is when you truly are comfortable with yourself that you have no trouble building others up. Hence, bullies are the antithesis of confident. I want you to remember that bullying is never your fault and that there is so much to live for. Lastly, please keep in mind this quote by Laura Moriarty: “My mother says that when Mrs. Rowley is mean, which is generally the case, it is really because she is just unhappy…She says this is really the only reason people are ever mean--they have something hurting inside of them, a claw of unhappiness scratching at their hearts, and it hurts them so much that sometimes they have to push it right out of their mouths to scratch someone else, just to give themselves a rest, a moment of relief.”

The author's comments:
I wrote this piece for a contest but unfortunately I had to limit it to 500 words :(

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