A Letter to My First & Second Bully

This letter is about two kinds of bullies. The first kind is the bully who is going through something tough and they’re just getting their anger out on someone weaker than them. The second kind is the one who either does it for popularity or just gets a thrill out of making someone suffer. This is a letter to my first two bullies; the first was someone going through something, the second smiled whenever I cried.

Dear my first bully,

I shouldn’t really call you a bully. You’re a human being. I don’t actually remember how you made me upset because all I remember now is the aftermath. You probably don’t recall, as we’re practically strangers now, but after we found out that you were going through a divorce, we became friends. Your mum and my mum were friends for a while too. I think we once went to pottery together.

I’m glad you were my first bully, though, because you made me realise that not all bullies are monsters. You were angry and hurt and you took it out on me and that’s okay. Although I wasn’t used to it when you bullied me, you helped me to develop an ignorance for what was to come, though it still hurt every single time they bullied me. I know you were a sweet boy behind it. It’s the school’s fault, usually, because they make up stuff about anti-bullying policies that they never stick to.

I forgave you so soon after because I saw the real you. You were only young too; we both were. I’m sure that you learned that it was wrong and that it never happened again. In fact, I think I’m positive of that, because of how a bully became a friend. Though we went our separate ways years ago, I still remember you. I think I won’t forget you.

Dear my second bully,

Nice friends you have to help you insult me. It would be harder to do it alone, wouldn’t it? You always have to come in a gang of three, like the movies, but you’re the ringleader, also like the movies. You never picked on anyone else whilst we were in the same class; not even that boy who everyone else picked on — you were friends with him. It was specifically me. Specifically me. Why? Because I was a girl but I wasn’t one of the popular, pretty ones. I had my hair tied up and I didn’t wear mascara. I also didn’t have my ears pierced. Bare in mind that I was eight, yet everyone else deemed it normal for girls of eight to be coating themselves in stuff. I don’t get it. But I was still a girl: weaker, more vulnerable than a boy. You also knew that I didn’t have confidence, regardless of the fact I stuck my hand up several thousand times. I did that to try and make myself feel better, but it always made me feel worse. Your sneering didn’t help. It never did.

You were also the type of bully that I would never report; you made sure of that. You were subtle, but threatening, and you made me cry in the toilets. Our teachers hated me (because I cried all the time), so they just moaned about me being a cry baby in parent evenings. I think my parents were shocked, but it meant that you could continue doing what you were doing. I didn’t cry much until I came into your path. Yours and theirs; all of the bullies, but you were definitely the leader. I could always tell that. You did it for an ego boost, a popularity boost, security. You needed to feel like you had value because you never cared for class, so your grades weren’t the best; so you bullied me.

Still, it made you smile. It always made you smile, and that sickens me. Funny how sick rhymes with your name, isn’t it? You were another boy, just like my first bully, but you never became my friend. I will also never forget you, because if you hadn’t happened, maybe it never would have gotten so bad. Maybe I wouldn’t have had crippling anxiety for years to come; anxiety so bad that important grades suffered. I would tap my fingers through exams, thinking and thinking about how my life came to that point. And at one stage, I came back to you. And I was always disappointed with my results. Always disappointed. I think I could have done better; I certainly studied a lot. I think all of it was because I couldn’t focus. I just wanted to get out of that room and run out of that gate, all of the time. Maybe you were involved in some way, psychologically messing with me, even though I hadn’t been at your school for a few years.

Thank you for making my life a misery.

Thanks for reading this post. If you’re getting bullied, it’s tough, and sometimes no one will help you (at least, in my case) but you will always get online support. I am always here and so are so many other people. It’s a hard time but you can get through it. 

Lia

 

Routine and Fashion

As you are probably aware, I’m autistic, which means that routines are a big part of my life. I can’t deal with someone changing the plan or not giving me specifics; it gives me a kinda meltdown. But sometimes I get overwhelmed with the plan too and then I have to cancel myself.

Due to my like of routines, my clothing choices rarely vary. I have to have the same style of clothing every day. For me, this routine is greyscale. I wear black, white and shades of grey in-between. I don’t usually vary from this colour scheme. I’ve been using it for several years now and don’t see it changing anytime soon.

As well as this, I have this houndstooth bag. One time, my mum went to a workshop for autistic parents, and they mentioned that the houndstooth design is fascinating to autistic people. I had this bag before my mum even went, so she found it really interesting that they were saying that lots of people like me have a similar interest in it.

Another thing is my footwear. I always have to wear boots; black, relatively small boots. Even in summer, when my parents are saying they’re too warm, I have to wear them. The texture is good. Unlike other footwear (*cough* canvas shoes *cough*) where the material really feels funny against my feet, they feel alright and they also look nice, so I wear them. I’m not a massive fan of the feel of my socks because they feel tight and itchy but they have nice designs and those designs make me wear them, and it’s hard to find nice-feeling socks that also have nice designs, because I have to have a nice design! Socks are also my exception to the greyscale rule. I can wear any colour of sock, as long as it’s a good design.

I wear clothing that is wildly inappropriate for the season. In summer, I had to wear leggings, and sometimes I’d get really hot and sweaty, but at least it fit in with my routine. And now, I have to wear the same coat I wore in the summer, which isn’t the thickest coat, so I get cold. But routine is always the most important thing to me.

Do you have any clothes that you won’t stop wearing, no matter what the season?
Lia

Mistakes

We all make mistakes in life, don’t we? I can’t stop thinking about a single mistake I made many years ago, and the fact that I wasn’t allowed to redeem myself.
I had some friends, nice friends nearby, for the first time in forever, but I also have pretty bad social anxiety so this time, so long ago, I was having one of my ‘social anxiety meltdowns’. I was saying that everyone hates me; I don’t do this often, but I do it sometimes when I feel like a friendship is getting too good to be true. I only ever do it once, usually, and then after that, I never do it again. I just need to have a meltdown, sometimes.
So these friends, who I met up with once a week, and sometimes did more with; I had one of these meltdowns, and my whole life got destroyed. I tried apologising to one of them the following day but he didn’t understand at all. He was saying “I can’t be friends with you if you’re gonna be like this” despite the fact I’d never done this before. So, I ruined my friendship with him, and then I couldn’t say anything to the others because I would likely get the same outcome, so I stopped going to the thing, and I just became more antisocial than ever. I didn’t go to college either, everything stopped.
It hasn’t restarted.
This incident triggered such a big nothingness for me and I don’t think I can ever get friends that can meet up regularly because I’ll ruin it again. I miss being their friend but two of them I don’t talk to anymore at all and one I have to message first to get a response, which I hate doing.

I feel so lonely but I can’t have friends because I’ll destroy the friendship. And who would want to be friends with me, anyway? Who would even understand me? I’m not worth understanding.

Becoming an Adult

The day we become an adult is not the day we turn eighteen, but the day we get our last exam result, and then think “well – now what?” Most of my friends are going to university (some going to extremely high-ranked ones) so they have a little bit of a layout for their life (not much, but at least enough for the next few years) and some even know where they intend to go with their life. They have it all planned out.

But not everybody does. Not everybody knows where their life is going to lead them.

One of the most stressful questions to hear, as someone who suffers from anxiety and depression, is “what are you going to do now?” They mean well but it makes me think about the future and where I’m going and where I’m not going and what’s happening and what’s not happening and — you get the picture. It’s terrifying.

I got good results, results I was happy with, but I happen to be friends with geniuses, which often makes me feel like less of a person too, even though they’re wonderful and I’m happy for them. I just happened to pick up smart friends. I guess I must be the dumb friend, to them, if you think about it. So I’m worried about my results too.

I worry about whether my life has a direction but I don’t want it to, yet I do, all at once. I want to study a degree but I don’t, all at once. I don’t want to be a drifter, I want to be a sailor! But I can’t be. I will never be a sailor, no matter how hard I try to control my ship; it will crash and I will drift on one piece of wood left.

I want to become something, but I don’t.

I’m never going to be what people expect me to be, or rather, what they want me to be. I’m not going to be what I want to be either. Because I will never be strong enough to sail. I just won’t be.

Lia

Small Things

The other day I was out with my parents and we were having lunch, as well as complaining about the fact we were told there were no straws but people who arrived after us were drinking with straws. The thing is, I kinda have to drink out of a straw, for some reason, so it affects me quite a lot.

Then, a man who did not know us at all, got up and went inside. We didn’t think anything of it but a few minutes later he returned with a straw and gave it to me. I smiled a lot after that. It wasn’t the fact that he’d gotten me a straw, though that was nice, it was that a complete stranger would do something like that for me, a stranger to him. 

Small things really matter and the fact that this man did this for me really made my day. He was with his wife and son, yet helped out me. Sometimes, if you do a little action, it can really affect someone in a positive way. Try it. It might just make someone smile.

I’m An Adult?!

Today I turned eighteen.

Me? Eighteen? That can’t be right… Let me check my birth certificate, hang on… oh, turns out I am eighteen. Welp.

It’s such a scary age, isn’t it? More responsibilities, pressure, expectations. I’m supposed to be someone that I’m not; someone mature and reasonable and ready for life. I still have no clue what my life is going to become; no clue where it’ll take me or where I’ll take it. I don’t think I’m going to have an idea anytime soon.

Today, though, was a bit of fun in a world where there seems to lack it. I met up with some really good friends (ANewChapter and MyMindSpeaksAloud being two of the three that I invited) and we played cat games. Also, pizza, but unfortunately ANewChapter couldn’t stay for that. The cat games were so fun though and I had a really nice time. The non-blogger friend that came gave me some flowers, which made me feel really grown-up and mature, even though I’m not. What’s ironic is that she got me quite an immature card which contrasts with the flowers. It’s made me have an existential crisis: am I an adult or am I a kid?! She wrote some lovely words inside of the card though.

ANewChapter got me a really pretty notebook and also wrote some lovely words in the card. Too many lovely words! Luckily, MyMindSpeaksAloud was less serious and lovely in what she wrote, but it was still really nice. I mean, you can’t have three serious cards, can you? And she got me the best cat mug ever; she has really good taste. I suppose she just sees something with cats on and thinks “yup, Lia will like this” — and she’s right!

I got an iPad today, my first ever iProduct, and it’s really cool. MyMindSpeaksAloud, being an avid lover of iProducts, talked me through some of the settings. I also got a lovely dress which I wore today (yes, that was a birthday present, people who came to my house) and two cat-themed games, which I played with my friends. Plus £100 from my Nan, who apparently only gave my brother £60 for his 18th. My aunt only gave me £25 whilst she gave my brother £30 for his 18th though. That sorta makes up for it… Ish. If you take away the extra £35.

It was a fun day and I think my friends bonded, because MyMindSpeaksAloud hadn’t met the others before (though knew one from blogging, of course) and told me about how nice they were after.

My brother tagged my present from him (Exploding Kittens; card game) with the words: “You’re an adult!!! Now act like one”. That seemed like a very brotherly thing to say. I love him anyway, even if he does annoy me a lot sometimes…

Moving on, I just wanted to say that these eighteen years have been so mixed. Some years were great, some years weren’t so great, but in the end, I have three amazing friends who I don’t see as often as I’d like, but who I care a lot about. They’re the type of friends that you can go ages without seeing and just pick up where you left off when you do see them though, and that’s just awesome. Two of them are already eighteen and one will be eighteen very soon. We’re all growing up and heading in different directions. Two are going to uni, the other two of us are chilling for a while. It’s amazing how people extend into different directions in life. What makes people take those different turns? Why do some people end up as artists and others end up as accountants? (Referencing my parents and their very different lifestyle choices). It’s amazing how we all begin very similar and we end up totally different.

I’m eighteen now, but I definitely don’t feel it, and that’s okay. You might not feel your age either, and you might never feel your age, but age is only your biological factor; it doesn’t mean a thing about your psychology. You can be whatever age you want to be, if you believe it.

Thank you for reading this post,

Sincerely, 

An adult.

Met Favourite Author!

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Yesterday was my mum’s birthday, and the day after my dad’s operation, but I couldn’t not go. It was something I might never get to do again, so I convinced my mum to come with me, and we went to see Patrick Ness, my favourite author! Don’t worry: my dad had a lot of other family and friends willing to look after him.

It was also the day of the Brighton parade to celebrate their promotion to the premiership (woop woop) so it was incredibly crowded but I didn’t mind so much, because I got to meet Patrick Ness.

Before we actually got on the train to go to Brighton, a guy dropped a piece of paper (two minutes before the train was scheduled to arrive!) and went onto the tracks to pick it back up. He then climbed up again and, luckily, did not get hit by a train. Was scary though.

The actual getting to the theatre was horrific. We asked a taxi driver to take us there and he told us it was about half an hour away and would cost a tenner, when we were sure it was much nearer. Anyway, we trusted him, and he drove us to this location. When we got out, and asked around, we realised we’d been ripped off. The theatre wasn’t here at all; and it had just gone half past two, the time we were supposed to be at the theatre. I was so stressed.

We called for another taxi and this time the guy took us to the correct location but we had missed fifteen minutes of the talk. It was terrible, really. We could still get in and his talk was so incredible that it felt like it only lasted a few minutes. We were so engrossed! His sense of humour was amazing too. Apparently, he never got any success until his late 30s, but when he did get success, that was because he didn’t think about getting a publishing contract, he wrote because he wanted to write, and it paid off.

After the talk, he did book signings, so I got a copy of his new book ‘Release’ (which I have yet to read), and waited until the massive queue got shorter, then joined it. Once I met him, I asked him a question (technically my mum did because I was too nervous): “if you had to choose, would you choose writing or cats?” I asked him this because I know he loves cats too, like me. He struggled with the answer, but, as he said when he signed the book, he chose writing. I suppose it’s because he makes lots of money from it. To be honest, I’d always choose cats, because I’ve had them my entire life, and I’ve never lived without them. I don’t know how I’d live without them. A certain blogger (*cough* MyMindSpeaksAloud *cough*) said writing too, so I am going to steal her cats.

It was a wonderful experience, despite the earlier stress, and we also went into Primark and brought me some more black and white clothes. I love black and white. it’s just so… black and white.

Thank you for reading this post; I was very excited about going to see him and I’m so happy I did!

Lia

A Letter to a Friend

Dear Queen, as I’m going to call you in this letter,

I know you’re struggling right now, which is why you’re distant and barely reachable. I know you don’t have any plans. I know you feel like nothing interests you at the moment. I know you feel low and stressed. I know you’re scared. I want you to know that you are not the only one who doesn’t know what to become.

You’re the smartest girl I know, and I always wondered why you’d cry before exams when you always aced them. But I know why: you were stressed and you put so much pressure on yourself to do well that it all got too much.  You might be doubting yourself but I don’t doubt you.

I, too, am afraid of the future. I, too, struggle to find my ambition. I’m not going to university next year either. If you want to talk to anyone about this, talk to me, because I know what you’re going through. I know what it feels like to not have any clear goals. Of course, there is my writing, but realistically speaking, that’s going to be nearly impossible to accomplish.

I know you don’t talk to me as much recently, and I know you haven’t really been saying much to other people, but it’s important you remember that we all love you and we all care. You are so beautiful and fantastic and I’m so proud that you’re my friend.

Please, text me, or email me, or meet up with me sometime — you are appreciated. You are. I understand how troubling it can be thinking about your future; I’m in the same boat and sometimes I cry about it. But at least I have my writing to let my feelings loose. You really need someone to talk to, I think, though you’re scared to admit it. You’re awesome, Queen, and whilst you’re still going to doubt that, remember that no one else does.

Yours truly,

Lia

Day in Southampton!

So on Thursday, me and my mum went up to Southampton to watch, at the mayflower theatre, ‘The Curious Incident of The Dog in The Nighttime’. I’ve read the book so I know what happens. My mum, however, has not and didn’t even realise it was about a dead dog! First off, the acting was amazing. I really believed it. My mum actually thought it was based off fact. The main character was played very well too. Then there was the abstract depiction of autism, which I thought was absolutely stunning. They used lights and music to create a very overwhelming atmosphere, which was to try and make normal people feel how autistic people feel. There was also a real puppy at the end and I wanted to steal it!!

After seeing the play, we went to the Holiday Inn hotel, where we stayed the night. We shared a twin room which I thought was a bit annoying because I couldn’t sleep very well as my mum is a heavy breather and snorer. But, we did get breakfast there, with a very interesting toaster. It worked like a conveyor belt. You put the toast in and it moved along, getting evenly toasted, and then it fell down the other side and you could collect it. I actually got a piece of toast stuck in the toaster because I didn’t understand how to put the toast in at first. I think someone got an extra piece of toast as, when I went back later, it was gone.

We did a lot of shopping when we were there too, at the Westquay shopping centre (which is very complicated to get to unless you know the area). We went to Build-A-Bear and I made a little gangster kitty, despite the fact I am almost eighteen. We went to quite a few places to eat too! For my first lunch, we had a Spudulike (where I had baked beans). For the evening meal, we went to Zizzi, which has always been my favourite pizzeria, due to the fact that its vegan pizzas are stunning.  This was even better than the Chichester Zizzi I usually go to, as the vegan garlic bread had a lot more garlic flavour to it than the one at Chichester. My mum tried a bit of my pizza and she really liked it too. Then, for lunch number two, we went to The Real Greek. I wanted to try some new dishes so ordered this weird chickpea thing which I didn’t like. My mum told them we didn’t like it and immediately they said “we won’t charge for it”. The rest of the dishes were lovely though — the hummus, flatbread, and new potatoes. We gave them a large tip  (more than the usual 10%) for the great customer service.

I also ordered a pretzel from Auntie Anne’s. I’ve never had a massive American pretzel before, so I was quite excited. I had it vanilla-flavoured and it was beautiful.

Overall, I had a wonderful time, and although it was extremely exhausting, it was awesome. I’d do it again — but not for at least a year!

Thanks for reading this post,

Lia

Am I Respected?

The phrase “respect your elders” gets me a lot because, although I definitely do respect them, why do we just respect them? Why are young people’s views less important than those of the older generation?

This happens to me a lot in my family. I’m the youngest person there and I try to talk but I can’t, and when I do, I get “not now” (which really means “not ever” because it’s only relevant in that space of time, it isn’t relevant later), whilst my parents can talk without anyone saying that to them.

I respect everyone and everyone’s views but I do not get why age gives your views more value. Sure, you’ve had more experience, but the younger generation have a fresher mind. Sometimes, you might miss the true meaning of something without an insight of someone younger.

I am seventeen, nearly eighteen, and I wish my opinions were as important as those of people older than me. Even my brother, only a year older, gains more respect. I think it is because he is more mature and does not have autism (he has two jobs) that he is put in a higher ranking than me. He acts his age, whilst I generally do act like someone younger, but that’s because I am different to most people and I am not as independent as others. That doesn’t mean that my views don’t matter though, does it?

I might be young and I might not be normal, but I still have opinions and I still want them to be heard.

Thank you,

Lia