When I went to Secondary School, the comments started to get a bit more ridiculous... "Does the curtains match the carpets?!" and "Ginger pubes! Ginger pubes!" - inventive, I know - but the more I reacted to it, the more I realised this spurred people on because they wanted to see how I'd react. I went home and told my parents about it. My Mammy just said, "Next time they ask what colour your pubes are, just say they're black!" So one day I did and it didn't half shut them up! Was quite funny looking back...
There was also an incident where I was queuing for the bus home and some Year 10 guy pushed in front. The angry teenager I was I said, "There's a queue y'know?" He replied, "And what? I'm older than you." I said, "Yeah, and you're an asshole!" and he said, "Well you're just plain ugly." I guess I had a bad reaction coming, but calling me ugly was a big extreme! At the age of 11, I obviously took this to heart and the whole bus journey home seemed to drag. I just wanted to go home and cry. Then, a Year 11 girl started speaking to me and she seemed quite friendly... until one of her other friend came up to me and said, "Oh you're Trish? You're the ugly girl aren't you?" Luckily we arrived at my stop just as he said that. So I got off the bus and cried the whole way home. My Mom knew someone had said something hurtful to me before I even told her. Naturally she was so angry and upset for me and assured me I wasn't ugly and that the people who said it were just jealous. Jealous I thought? How could they be jealous of me? She then went on to tell me a story...
One day when my big sister, Laura, was on the way home from school a similar situation happened. A boy from the back of the bus sat right next to her, put his arm around her and said, "God, you're ugly." She was horrified. She wasn't ugly?! Why would someone just sit next to her and say that to her? Why did he need to embarrass her like that? When Laura was 17, she worked in the bank down the road from us and low and behold, the ass that called her "ugly" walked into the bank - please note, she also did a spot of modelling on the side - and she really hoped she wouldn't have to serve him. Unlucky for him, she did and this is how the conversation went.
Laura: Hello can I help you?
Ass: Are you Laura Baxter?
Ass: God, you've changed
Laura: Really? Do you remember what you said to me years ago?
Laura: Oh really? So you don't remember calling me ugly?
Ass: What? No?
Laura: Well you did. But don't worry, I really couldn't care about what you think. Now how can I help you?
Isn't it funny how things stay with you? All of these things I am confessing to you all may not seem like a big deal to many, but it was to me and it was to my sister. Especially at that age.
From about Year 10 onwards, I didn't have much more grief about it. I hate to admit it, but things like this still get to me, just because of how it affected me growing up. Maybe I should blame myself because of the way I reacted to it? My middle sister, Esther, used to get teased as well, but she just ignored it and was pretty much the most popular girl in her year. I think I reacted in an angry way because I hated the way year groups were segregated into rankings of "popularity". First you have the pretty girls who pretty much stick together and walk around as a pack, almost resembling Mean Girls. If any one of them were remotely nice it was a sin to all the others! On day I was upset about what someone said to me and was crying. On of the popular girls saw me and said, "You okay Patsy?" - don't laugh, that was my nickname in school - as soon as one of the other girls saw she was being remotely nice to me, she dragged her away and said, "Ignore her, she's a moody bitch!" I was in Year 7 at the time. How vile can someone be?! I'm quite a stubborn person, and to this day I still hold a grudge against her... I probably always will!
I'm sure you all have stories like this that will stay with you forever and I'm aware that pretty much everyone was bullied at some point during their school years!
I watched "My Big Fat Gypsy Wedding" last year and was shocked to hear what was said during a scene I saw. When a traveller was asked about the birth of his child, he said something along the lines of, "I'm not bothered, just as long as it's not ginger." What the eff?! So what if you're baby is ginger?! As long as it is healthy and happy, surely that's all that matters?! This just goes to show how small minded people are and what I like to call, gingerist. Well, I'd like to take the time to say something to all of you gingerist's out there, GET OVER IT.
Tim Minchin Couldn't have said it better himself:
I would really love to hear some of your own stories from school that will always stay with YOU. Just Facebook, Tweet or reply to this blog is you have a Google account :).
Thanks for reading peeps!