The girl with the book

I drove past a girl today, while doing the school run. She was intermediate aged, probably about 11-12. She had her nose in a book, while she was walking home. She wore glasses. She was dumpy and short. She wasn’t pretty.

For the next 10 mins, the kids chatted in the back, and I was almost in tears, thinking back to me at the same age.

Was she as lonely as I had been? Did she wander around school, watching groups of girls giggling, sharing jokes that she’d never be part of, or worse, the joke was about her?

Did she try time and time again to find someone to like her? Did she reach out trying to make one connection, just one friend, just someone to talk too? Did she not find anyone?

Did she have people who used her, doing things for others that she wished would make her popular, or at least, let her have one friend?

Did she hide out in the library, day after day, so no one knew how desperately lonely she was?

Did she join the choir, simply so that it was something to do, so that she could be around others, and sometimes they had to talk to her?

Did she jump at the chance to talk to anyone, even the lady at the dairy, because she hadn’t spoken to anyone all day long?

Did she get pushed against the locker doors, bruises all up and down her back? Did she get tripped up in the hallways, huge angry red welts on her shins, from the hard shoes kicking at her, so she’d fall? Did she get rubber bands flicked at her, across the classroom? Did she get pelted with spit balls as she walked from class to class? Did she get her bra strap snapped repeatedly, so that she had to cover her back with plasters to stop it from bleeding? Did she get money demanded from her?

Did she get her things taken off her? Did she get her books ripped out of her hands, and torn into shreds while the kids stood around her in a circle and laughed? Did she stand there with tears streaming down her face, feeling so embarrassed that she just wished the ground would swallow her?

Did she spend hours after school, trying to get bubble gum out of her hair, that the girls had put in there at school, as they laughed and giggled in their groups of friends? Did she weep as she cut it out, time and time again?

Did she go home and pretend everything was fine? Did she want to protect her family, her mother, from the awful things that were going on? Did she chat away about things that happened to other people, to cover the fact that nothing ever happened to her, that was good?

Did she cry herself to sleep every night?

Mrs K

Coke Zero addict, knitter, crocheter, fat, fabulous, fluffy mama.

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33 Responses

  1. Michelle says:

    🙁 I hope she doesn't have that pain! xx

  2. Ms Kate says:

    Thank you Michelle.

  3. Sarah of 'Catching the Magic' says:

    Oh this is so heart wrenching and I feel such anguish and sadness that you experienced all this. I remember sticking up for a girl in my school that was made fun of by some unpleasant characters. It shocked me to the core that anyone could be so nasty. I hope my children tell me if they ever encounter such bullying – but as you write in your post – often children don't want to burden the family with their woes 🙁 So sad and a reminder to us all to continually reassure our children it's okay to tell us when something is wrong and for teaching staff to genuinely listen and protect those in harms way.

    This must have been so difficult for you to write but it's a subject that needs to be written about. Well done in having the courage to write it.

  4. Ms Kate says:

    Thank you Sarah. It really caught me off guard, not something I thought about writing, it just happened.

  5. Leonie says:

    oh man… what a heart breaking post.
    Children can be so mean, what an awful thing to experience.

  6. Ms Kate says:

    Leonie, thank you for your words.

  7. Yuri de Groot says:

    Good God I bloody hope not.

  8. Ms Kate says:

    Me too, Yuri, me too.

  9. Olivia says:

    I couldn't figure out how to comment on your 52 in 52 page! I read at least a book a week so I have lots of suggestions, first and foremost I recommend reading The Help, you will not regret it! Second, Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult. If you read those and like them, I'll give you even more suggestions, I'm full of them 🙂

  10. Debbie @ Aspiring Mum says:

    This was heart-breaking to read, and no doubt heart-breaking to write. It makes me so mad that children can be so cruel. School can be such a horrible place.

  11. Ms Kate says:

    Olivia, I've put The Help on the list, I've read a few reviews on that, and seems like something I'd like. What's Nineteen minutes about? I've read other things by Jodi!

  12. Ms Kate says:


    Thank you so much, it made me so scared to send my own kids!

  13. Barbara says:

    This post today went to the bottom of my heart.  I wish I could go back and give you all the love and acceptance that you never felt. The immense emptiness and pain you must have felt is unthinkable.  
    I encourage you to keep writing.  

    Today, today I send my love and acceptance to a beautiful woman.  

    Love, Barbara xo

  14. Ms Kate says:

    Thank you Barbara. Even now I think back, and still feel sorry for that little girl. I wish I'd done something about it. I'll always wish I could have changed things.

    Thank you xxx

  15. Smilenwaven says:

    Huge hugs! My heart also pains for lonely children.

  16. Ms Kate says:

    Thank you so much.

  17. Karyn Elizabeth says:

    What a brave, sad, amazing post this was. I had a huge lump in my throat reading it. My Mum and Dad moved around a lot when I was young so I was always changing schools. I think I went to 11 schools in total from when I was 5 years old to when I left – finally – at 16.  I was always the new girl. I always felt different. I always had to work so hard to be accepted. I managed to make some friends along the way but I never felt like I really belonged at any of the schools I went to. I certainly spent quite a bit of time in the library – gazing out that window and wishing I could be out in the sunshine giggling and gaggling like all the other girls. Wishing I could be one of the crowd. Hugs to you 🙂

  18. Ms Kate says:

    Karyn, that is exactly the same as me I'm afraid, we moved around an awful lot too! Always the new girl, never fitting in, everyone already had their groups, and I just never was in one!
    Thanks for your thoughts xxx

  19. Kiwimrsmac says:

    A friend of mine is just dealing with the bullying of her little boy at the same school as my daughter. Now that we all know, we're going to ensure our children are a little closer so at least they will have each other if things go bad.  It needs to be nipped in the bud so no one else has to suffer what you did.
    Thanks for sharing. Certainly made me think about what may be happening right under our noses.

  20. Ms Kate says:

    It's been hitting me really badly lately, watching my kids growing up, and hoping I can protect them, or see the signs. It's been a rough road for me actually.

    So pleased I can help someone! Thanks

  21. dumb mom says:

    Such a heartfelt post.  I can not imagine.  I fear for my boys being treated this way.  So far they've not been victimized, but they are still little.  I used to be a middle school teacher and thinking of my Dudes going off to middle school terrifies me!

  22. RealArmyofMoms Blog says:

    Hmmm…  Great post! I'm definitely feeling it, considering I was the short dumpy fat kid. Not fun =(

  23. Jennifer Williams says:

    I want to hug that girl and sit her down and teach her how to fight back.

  24. Ms Kate says:

    Oh yes, the older the get, the worse the bullies, and the more they think they need to hide it!

  25. Ms Kate says:

    Aww shucks 🙁 So many of us out there!

  26. Ms Kate says:

    She still needs teaching 🙁

  27. Heather says:

    Ah! It reminds me of some of my childhood memories from school. I was bullied but found away to blend in a little the older I got. I had no desire to be popular, just to have friends. It makes me want to hug my son tight and hope he doesn't have to experience the things I had to. Sad thing is, if he experiences a little, I think that is ok. I'd rather him gain character from being a little bullied than being a bully. If that makes sense.

  28. Ms Kate says:

    Oh yes, I agree totally.

  29. Lucy Bowen says:

    In some places I believe the situation (bullying) is better than it was some years ago, but now there are so many other ways of getting to someone (such as the internet and mobile phones) I’d say children are so cruel, but it is definitely not confined to schools and children. We can only try our best for our children and notice if something bad is going on and teaching them the horror of bullying (if it were that easy).
    I hope she wasn’t experiencing that, and I feel your pain.

  30. Kim says:

    This is so sad 🙁 I was picked on for a bout a year in middle school by my ‘best friend’ and her group of cool kids. It was the worst time of my life. I’m just glad that so much attention has been brought to bullying. I remember going to the principal with a friend to tell him how bad the situation was getting. He really didn’t do anything but later he pulled the friend that went with me aside and asked her if I was making it all up.

  31. Mrs K says:

    Yes, I think there has been a huge change to how it’s dealt with now. Before it was swept under the carpet, now it seems to be being dealt with.

  1. 30 December 2011

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    […] 2. The Girl With The Book […]