It is the starting of my eighth-grade year; We are going around introducing ourselves. When they got to me, “My name is Alexis.” I said. In the middle of me talking one kid yells out, "What is wrong with you, why do you have those?"He was talking about the crutches I use to walk with. I explained that I have Spina bifida which affects my walking.
"Will you ever be able to walk without them?" Another student asks me.
"Enough questions," the teacher tells them.
"After class, the teacher asked me to stay back."
"Sorry about what happened in class today," she tells me.
"I don’t mind when people ask me questions about my disability. I get it, I’m different from them so they are curious."
“If there is anything that you need ask me, I would be happy to help you,” she says to me.
"Just treat me like the other kids in the class," I tell her as I am leaving the classroom.
On my way to my next class, I walk into the room and everybody stares at me. I want to tell them to stop looking at me, but I can’t find a way to tell them to stop staring at me without being rude. So instead, I turn around in my chair and looked at them the way they’re looking at me.
I couldn't help to notice there was this one girl from my 7th-grade year, Diamond, who just would not stop looking at me. I ask her, "Is there something you want to ask me? If not, can you stop staring at me?"
“Does it make you feel uncomfortable?” She asks. So, you know it’s bothering me and you are still going to do it. I ignored her, and she stopped because she was only trying to make me mad. Honestly, I would think it wouldn’t bother me when people are staring at me because I have lived with this disability my whole life and I have had a lot of people stare at me.
Hours later, we are at home from school
“I had a good day” my sister says tossing her bag on the couch.
“How was your day, Alexis?” My mom and dad ask me.
Good, I tell them with a sigh.
“Are you sure? That didn’t sound very convincing."
"It was okay, I guess. Hey mom, is it too late to homeschool me?"
"Why homeschool? You have never been homeschooled."
"I can’t stand the kids at school and it’s not only the kids, it’s the teachers too. I don’t want them to treat me any different from the other kids, I can do pretty much everything that the other kids can do."
"Well, tell them that then. It’s your last year until high school so you need to enjoy the time that you have. You are staying in school and that is the end of this conversation."
"But mom!" I say in a whining tone.
"No, you are not going to be homeschooled. Now go find you something to do instead of bothering me.
As I am going to my room my sister asks, "why don’t you like school?"
"Don’t worry about it and why are you eavesdropping on my conversation. You wouldn’t understand even if I told you."
I explain to her what’s wrong, and she says, “I don’t think I can help you with this.”
"See, I told you. You wouldn’t be able to help."
"I am an excellent listener so if you need someone to talk to, I could help with that. I’ll always be here if you need someone to talk to," she says as she is turning on the TV.
One thing that I had to learn once you block out all the negative people that try to put you down, you will be all right. They will only keep bothering you if they see that you are bothered by their negative energy.
During school, I would try my best to stay away from Diamond. I can not be getting myself into any unnecessary drama this year. Then out of nowhere, “Alexis have you seen the post that Diamond put up about you?"
I can never catch a break around here, I say to myself shaking my head. "What post are you talking about?" I asked but everyone was silent. "How are you going to ask me if I saw something and I say no and you do not tell me what it is?"
As I was walking down the hall, I hear footsteps approaching me and someone calling me trying to get my attention. But at this point I am annoyed, I kept walking. It was one of my classmates and before she said anything, "If you are going to tell me about the post, I don’t want to hear it, I tell her.”
"No, I came to ask you if you were okay."
"Yes, I am fine," I tell her as my voice cracks. "Do you want me to tell someone like a teacher or the principal that Diamond is messing with you?"
"No, do not tell anyone," I say clenching my fists. "Go to class, you will be late," I tell her.
“You are not going to just sit here and let this bother you.”
" I'm not going to go to class and have everyone laughing at me."
"Come on, Alexis!"
"No, I’m not going anywhere."
"You better not be sitting here when I get out of class."
"Chill, there are only a couple of classes left so I won’t be missing too much."
Soon after, school was over and now I have to go home, and answer all the questions about how school was knowing I did nothing all day. When I got home my mom asked us about school."Can we not talk about school?" I say as I am going up to my room.
"What happened, Alexis?", she says as she puts her arm around me.
"I don’t want to talk right now. Will you leave me alone!" I say pulling away from her.
"Who do you think you are talking to like that? If something is wrong, you need to tell me so I can help fix it."
"Ok then, can you take away my disability?"
"Alexis, you know I can’t do that. What’s going on?"
"Nothing, I’m fine. I’m just in a bad mood right now and if you don’t mind, I want to be alone."
" Well I’m going to go make dinner. Let me know if you need anything. "
Going up to my room and Imani comes in right behind me. "What do you want?" I ask her. "I was going to ask you to help me with my homework but don't worry about it.
"No, Imani I'll help you just give me a couple of minutes."
In the middle of me helping her with her homework she asks me “What’s been going on with you?”
"What do you mean?"
"You know what I mean. Yesterday you asked mom about homeschool and today you just run up to your room after coming home from school not saying anything to anyone. This isn’t like you something is wrong."
Back at school, "Have you told your mom what’s going on?" Jada asks.
"No, and I don’t plan on telling her."
"She doesn’t need to know. It’s just some post on social media and it doesn’t bother me. I just don’t think it’s a big deal."
“ I am not going to stand around and act like everything is okay" she says as I grab her arm. "Well you are going to tell them yourself."
"No, no one is telling anyone anything. You know what, maybe we shouldn’t be friends if you can’t keep a secret for me."
"This isn’t something that needs to be kept. And as a matter of fact this isn’t a secret at all.
I don’t care if we won’t be friends or not. You are not even looking at the damage that you could do to yourself by keeping this from the people that wants to help you. You have not been to one class since all of this has started."
"I just don’t want to make anything worse than what it is already."
"You think a solution to this problem is just hiding in the bathroom. It does not make sense to come to school every day just to hide in the bathroom. You might as well have just stayed at home."
"If I would've stayed at home then I would've needed a reason to stay."
Later that day, everyone was at home and my mom calls me downstairs.
"Why did I get a call from the school?" "What’s been going on?" she asks.
"Nothing," I say biting my lip.
"They wouldn’t be calling me for no reason. Now you don’t have to worry about going to class for the next couple of days. I hope whatever was important that you had to skip class for was worth it. Either you want to tell me what’s going on or you can just take the in-school suspension."
"I'll take the In-school suspension, it's better than being in the bathroom all day!" I shrugged my shoulders.
"Why are you okay with being in in-school suspension instead of going to class? It's supposed to be a punishment not a reward and why are you hiding in the bathroom instead of going to your classes?" she says shaking her head.
With a sigh of despair I confess to her, "I haven’t been going to class because one of the girls in my class put a post on social media about me and it went around the school. She’s been messing with me ever since I been going there."
"You’ve been going there since you’ve been in 7th grade. Why didn’t you say something about this last year?" shakes her head in disbelief.
"I wanted to deal with this by myself!"
“This isn’t something that you should be going through alone."
I tell her trying to hold back the tears."This is why I asked you about homeschooling me because I am tired of being bullied about something that I have no control over! I didn’t ask to be born like this!"
"I know it's hard Alexis."
"No, mom you don’t know! You can walk perfectly fine instead I have to use crutches and wear braces to help me walk."
The next morning, we got to the school and my mom went to talk to the principal about Diamond. The principal called us into her office and the first thing she asked me is, "Why didn’t you tell me when she first started bullying you."
"I didn't want anyone to get involved, I thought that I could handle it on my own."
"Who else knew that Diamond was bullying you?"
"Everyone knows," I tell her.
The principal calls Diamond to her office so that she could take down the post and apologize, but when she got there before anyone said anything she says “I didn’t do anything to her, I don’t even talk to Alexis.”
"Diamond no one said that you did anything but you just told on yourself," the principal says. "Why are messing with her what did she ever do you to make you not like her?"
"She started it."
"Now you are trying to get me in trouble with you. Well that isn’t going to happen," I tell her.
"You are right, it’s not going to happen because I am not going to get in trouble."
"For now on you guys just stay away from each other and if this happens again then you are going to be in trouble and Diamond take down that post on social media," the Principal says giving her a warning
"So, nothing is going to happen to her for bullying my child," my mom asks the principal raising her voice.
“If this incident happens again then she is going to get in trouble but since this is the first time, I have heard about it is just going to be a warning."
"This is the second year that she has been messing with her and she just gets away with it.
"Did anyone report the bullying that went on last school year?"
"No, I just found out that she was bullied last year. "
"Well we can’t do anything about an incident that happened last year that was not reported. Why didn’t Alexis say something about this last year?" the principal asks.
"This is unacceptable that a bully just gets away with bullying another child." mom's voice cracks ."There should be some type of consequence for this because it is not okay. Not only for my child but anyone else’s child that is being bullied."
"Noone would want their child to become a victim of bullying but the parents also have to be involved in the child's life too and we can't always handle everything that goes on. You have to build that relationship with your child so that she will be comfortable talking to you about these types of situations."
Now she looks at me and says," We will help you but you have to be willing to talk to someone when something is going on not only when something is going on at school, but in life as well. I'm not saying that it going to be easy sharing how you feel and talking about your problems but it's something you have to do.
My eyes felt heavy as I begin to think that this isn't going to be easy at all. I have kept everything bottled up for the last couple years I feel like I have forgotten how to talk to someone without getting mad. They say they understand that I'm hurt but no one really understands how I feel.