A few days ago, I watched a documentary movie, "Bully" (2011 Directed by Lee Hirsch). In the movie, one of the kids quietly answered to his mom, "Gradually I don't feel anything." (His mom asked him why he didn't tell her about the bullied situation at all, and how he felt about being in the circumstance.) The scene struck my heart. I totally understood what he meant. When I was around 8 years old, I was him.
Even if somebody in the school kicked, punched, or threw something on my face, I could not tell anyone about it. And gradually I could not feel anything. Numb. I was like as if a person just quietly waited until a storm has passed. When I found my belongings inside trash cans, I felt embarrassed and tried to hide about the incidents from others, especially my mom. I tried to hide everything. (I was thinking about the reason why I tried to hide, during the therapy. I think... I finally found my own reason why I did so. I won't write about it here.)
I knew it was not only me, there were several targets in the school but I felt completely alone in the space at that time. I gradually could not eat and my sight became so narrow (basically I was always facing down). If I smelled food, I felt nauseous so during lunch time, I always went to the school infirmary (I think this is a crazy situation. How could nobody in the school tell about it to my family? ...) I spent lunch time on the bed. I felt as if I was sucked into the white ceiling above myself. (After I threw up a few times at school, I became a "lunchtime-phobia".)
Here is one outtake photo. Yes, I shot this in the school infirmary. It was so much smaller than I remembered. And the sheets were pink. (pink!) The teacher/school nurse moved to other school in the same town. I asked the principal to tell "Thank you" for me since she knows her.
Around that time, I was already so skinny but even more became looked like a wooden stick (somebody called me so. Or "Tori-gara" - means chicken bone for soup stock.) I gradually stopped going to the school. I stayed at my small room and I kept drawing many many "stories" on many pieces of paper.
If...... instead my father was shouting at my mom, "She is just lazy. You spoiled her." or called me ugly or disgusting child, if he had asked me "What's wrong with you?" or "Are you okay?" with love... it would have been different? Maybe so. When I saw the aforementioned documentary movie, "Bully", I thought so. There are so many kids in those kinds of situations in their schools. BUT, if their parents, teachers, or someone around him or her notice that and show care or love, he or she may be able to move forward. So... I appreciated my mom's support. She didn't ask me directly anything what was really going on but, at least she said to the father, "I think she has been sick. She is not just lazy."and took me to a hospital. When I talked with the psychiatrist, (I didn't know he was a psychiatrist at that time) I felt finally someone could listen to me and understand what I had been feeling and dealing with. I cried for the first time in front of someone. And I finally could talk with my mom a bit after the visit. I saw she cried. It was powerful for me to see she was crying for me. It was the first time and last time (at this point). I also heard my teacher was crying when she was visiting my mom. She apologized and said, "I didn't know anything." (...really? anyway...) I decided to be strong after the hospital visit. (...and then ironically kinda created another types of problems later but anyway, really the little one was changed since then. No more shy. She could say what she thought or felt. She even fought against boys, etc etc...)
I needed to do this photo shooting in the school. I could not complete this project without visiting and shooting photos inside the space. So I wrote a letter to the principal to ask her whether I could visit there and do this photo session. She accepted me. (To be honest, I was surprised at first. Sort of expected they said no. I was so so so thankful, more than any words.) And also she asked me whether I could be a "one-day-teacher" for the 6th grade students of the school. That was............. amazing.............. Never never expected that I could do such a thing in the space. I'd love to write about it more.
...to be continued.