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Name games

AKA procrastinating instead of studying.

We are a single computer household and it gets on my nerves a bit. Like this week – when the Man of the House wasn’t working (he’s in IT) he was doing his own projects, so I never got an interwebz-look in. Plus the kids have been sick all week (why do they get ill just as kindy starts back? Why?) meaning I also haven’t had the chance to study. Because of all this, this morning – after waking me up 20 times during my ‘sleep in’ to ask inane questions like “Where has my wallet gone?” – he took the kids out in order to give me time alone to catch up.

So of course I have been browsing the internet. As you do 🙂

Anyway, I’ve noticed a few posts in the Fatosphere lately about reclaiming the taunts leveled at you in childhood. And I have to say I have a big FAIL in that department. In terms of bullying the worst year for me was Form 1, my first year of Intermediate. I was 11 years old and a couple of girls made my life hell as only girls can. The entire class, including friends I’d had from Primary school, did not speak to me. Oh, they did talk *about* me, issuing crude insults in whispers loud enough for me and not the teacher to hear (at least, I assume she didn’t hear – she knew the bullying was occurring but did nothing, of course). But the boys in my class had no time for such finesse. They simply decided on a word and called me by it at every opportunity. That year I lost my name and because known solely as… I can’t say it. Isn’t that pathetic? Twenty two years later I can’t say the word without shivering. It’s not even an ‘insult’ as such, just an ordinary noun. Not too far from the word ‘bully’ in my dictionary, funnily enough… but I can’t reclaim it. I just can’t.

Few of those kids were in my class the next year; fewer still went on to High School with me. I don’t remember being called a particular name again (although plenty of people called me names, they just used a wider variety, but nothing particularly interesting or inventive unfortunately) and that one was laid to rest. I don’t know why it’s stuck with me so much – what the girls did was so much worse than what the boys did. But this word carries with it such a huge burden of shame, it really does. I’d rather be called a whore or a bad mother or a bitch.

No-one knows what it is. I haven’t even told the Man of the House.

But it’s time to come clean, isn’t it? It’s time to get rid of bad rubbish and remember that a word is just a word, a bully is just a bully, and I am just me. So I think I will start small; I’m going to tell you. Just you. And maybe one day I will get the courage to use this word in conversation again.

For that year, 1988, my name in that classroom was ‘bulk’.

My God – I’m crying.


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