This is an excerpt of my speech I had for some students at Nannestad High-School, Friday 21st November 2014. The document I wrote was nine pages long, and the newspaper shortened it for the reader`s enjoyment. That version is what you`ll find below.
Dear students. Dear teachers. Dear you who`re here today.
I started at Nannestad High-School last year. Like several others, I was new, and I knew nobody. To add to that, I was new in the community and state too. Moving from Oslo to Nannestad was a big change for me, but I took the chance. What was the result? Loneliness. I encountered so many times not being interesting enough. I stand there alone without anyone even caring about me standing there. I`m on the same level as you guys. I saw groups in my class from day nr. one. Those groups hang out together all the time, and there hasn`t been any room, place or time left for anyone else. I`ve mentioned this to other students too, as well, and they`ve agreed to this. Instead of being one class, we could of have been several, smaller classes.
Last year I tried time after time to just talk with people, but I felt like I was never interesting enough. And when I during the whole summer vacation never got even one message from anyone who wanted to know if I was still breathing or not, I really had enough. I was going to care less. If my class didn`t care about me, I wasn`t supposed to run after them either. But I felt lonely, and I know many other people feel the same way. I decided to raise my voice on behalf of myself, and on behalf of those who feel like I do.
Several weeks ago, before turning 17, I sent a letter to the principle where I among other things as well, wrote: “I want to talk about the evilness going around at this school. You might not call it that but a social problem, or what do I know. But don`t you think it`s vicious when other people sit alone, and nobody cares about them?”
I sent it anonymious, because I wanted to know if he even would care about this. He did. Together with the school`s councelors we agreed to create a activityroom. We also planned for me to have this speech.
But it was decided the speech could wait. I walked around and waited for changes which were never coming. An evening I simply decided to send the letter to the newspaper. It was done within 5 minutes. Today I believe those five minutes changed my life in one way or another. Little did I know that a letter could create so many reactions, positive reactions. I was contacted the next day and they happily wanted to publish it. They also wanted to do something more about this case, which I got so happy about! I thanked yes. I was so happy about being able to create a little light around this topic, but the reactions around this were overwhelming. It was more than expected.
Maybe I have a negative view on this society, but I`ve seen and encountered so many painful things.
I started at school august 2013, but little did I know that going to school would be far from the ordinary for me.
I`ve always known that I`m not like others, and that has really been confirmed over the years. This case is another proof. I was looked down at, isolated, I rather stood with the teacher who wondered why on earth I didn`t want to be with the others. I can`t remember what I replied. Must have been something about me not being like them, and therefore they didn`t want me there.
Already as a young schoolgirl I was accused of doing things I had never done. I was used as a doll. I was put in the middle of the circle, and played and joked with. I, who was so young, didn`t understand the seriousness of this. I was yelled at, it was said to me that I constantly ruin things for other people and the fact that I remember such things today says something about how detrimental this actually can be.
Later on I learned this is bullying. Since I didn`t have any choice, I had to be the boys` slaves. It consisted of getting laughed at, carrying their bags and other things they asked me to do. They made a song they sang every time I walked into the hall or classroom, just to annoy me. What was more irritating, was them not stopping it, even when I told them to.
In middle school I understood something had to be done. I felt guilty because I believed I stood up for myself too late. But better late than never, right? I was bugged, used, said painful things to. And I had no idea why. I went to the principle with these painful memories. And do you know what? He didn`t care. Instead the assistent principle and my teacher tried to do something, but nothing was good enough. They talked about it in front of the students without me being there, but no. It didn`t help. Things just got worse. New students, new discoveries, new krap. I remember a student I thought was funny, who one day said to me: “Why do you stalk me all the time? Why are you never with other people? Why do you ruin other people`s lives?” It hurts to think about it today, 6-7 years later. That`s how detrimental it is.
I could cry at school, and then it was claimed I was just joking and seeking attention. Or people would wonder why I was crying. Naturally, I got irritated, because deep inside they knew what they had done and said to me. I was never taken seriously.
In seventh grade things were just totally awful. I remember several events. I was inside because I didn`t want to be outside, and I had the permission to do that for a while. One of those times I was thrown out of the classroom against my will, and my things were thrown in the loo. I don`t understand how a person can make themselves do such things. There were also some boys bugging my brother, and I went to one teacher and asked to do something about it. “The world is an unfair place. Get used to it.” These words have stalked me ever since.
Nobody wanted to work with me, nobody wanted to stand next to me, nobody wanted to sit with me. I was with younger students, just for them to eventually end up leaving me alone and act like they had done nothing wrong on this earth. When I finished at Bjørndal, I lied and said I`ll meet them again at Primary school at Bjørnholt after the vacation. That never happened. I hugged them, as if they never had hurted me. I didn`t have my revenge. Instead I helped them and never said no.
That`s me. That`s Katie, and that`s what I stand for.
A little more than four years ago I stood at Østmarka Privateschool, which`s not far away from Helsfyr in Oslo. I must say that`s one of the best things I`ve ever done in my life, even though the bullying continued here. One of the boys from Bjørndal went there too, and in one of the art lessons he told the other students in my class that I had bullied them and then cried just to act up and make it seem like I had never done anything to them. That`s the worst lie I`ve ever heard. I began to cry, I tried to explain, but no. He won. That time.
After this I encountered being pushed out of everything. I encountered people running away from me when I walked to them, I was pushed into the storage with another boy so everyone else could make rumors about something going on. One time they pushed a boy on me, and said that we`re finally engaged. What the hell is that? Humanity? Brothership? I have to laugh. Not a wonder why so much of this society is so black and white to me. If I talked, I was asked to shut up. I was called ugly, I was laughed at, I was freezed out. Just because a boy told a lie and the others believed it. I felt like a zero coming from nomansland. How could this be possible?
I decided not long after to knock at my teacher`s office, and tell him a part of what I`ve been through. It made him understand more. He`s the best teacher I`ve ever had. I have to mention him, because he, without anty doubt, made my schooldays much better. I could knock at his door and we could talk about everything possible for two hours. He was a friend to me. A human, not only a teacher. He talked about this with some of the other students, and for a littlw hile things were changed before they were back to the same, old again. I encountered being locked inside, pushed into walls and other students, I was said mean and ugly things to. One time almost the whole Primary school laughed at me, and I still remember that feeling I had when I was about to go home and went out in the school yard. That ring, those comments. I screamed “Why do you have to be like this?”, before I ran towards the tube-station and cried the whole way home.
Yeah, why does it have to be this way?
Strange enough I saw things changed. The boys got on my nerves, but in tenth grade I noticed they had lost the game. The storm calmed down in the end, and almost all of the boys pushed themselves more and more far away from the rest of the class. I thought that was good. I had won. One of the idiots understood how silly he was being, and things went alright. I fought. I never changed school, I was strong and never ran away. I also had some people I always could talk to, people I looked up to and still do. I believe it helped me a lot, but in the years before I had been alone and had no one else apart from myself. After ten years with bullying, I stood there with the diploma in my hands. I wasn`t thrilled due to my good grades. I was thrilled and happy because I had won and was still breathing.
That`s why I want to share my story. Bullying is something so horrible. It does something to you, your thoughts, your introspection and your self-respect. You feel like air, like a zero, you`re nothing.You become depressed, you don`t want to be with anyone because you have a feeling everyone is that way. You get anxiety, you start to cut yourself and hurt yourself because you see no other solution to it. You destroy yourself. That`s what bullying do to people. Some people decide to end their lives. Are we too dumb to understand how bloody awful this it? Don`t we understand that this is something we simply shouldn`t and can`t keep doing? What`s wrong with us?
Several people have wondered how I could survive. I had no supporting family. I was alone for several years – how`d I survive? I believe it`s because of my head. Everything starts there. You have to know who you are and what you stand for. If you believe in yourself strongly and really know who you are, you won`t let other people define it for you. I had my values, and even though I sometimes had ugly thoughts in my mind, I was always back to the good: They don`t know me. No matter what I do here in life, there`s always going to be someone who`s not satisfied and happy and therefore will say bad and negative things to you. Such things. I believe it`s important to remind yourself such things all the time, so you know who really cares. That`s important to keep in mind. It`s also so important to remember that other people who step on you, do it because they have a need to accentuate themselves. There`s nothing wrong with you, but with them. It`s important to remind yourself of the things that actually matter and not let your thoughts get out of control. Just because someone says you`re ugly, doesn`t mean you`re ugly? Just because a person claims you shouldn`t be alive, doesn`t necessarily mean that`s true? Why should anyone anyways go around and make themselves say such things? I mean one should have understood by now how evil humans are, and everything you do will always be a problem for one or another no matter what.
This was a part of my story. Before it seemed strange to be talking about this, and it is today too. But I believe one should anyways talk about it. Not only on behalf of myself, but other children, young people and adults who`re going through the same or parts of it. This can`t just keep going on. Loneliness does so much more with people than people know, and I think one should know that by now. A good human isn`t only someone who takes care of friends. He or she also takes care of other humans. You`re not supposed to treat others differently because of social circumstances, status, economy, personalitty etc. Yeah, I understand different people have their places in people`s hearts, but one could nevertheless be nice good to everyone. You can too. Just sit down wih someone who`s sitting alone and talk together for ten minutes. And if there`s not much talking, just be with him or her. Proximity can change lives. A smile can change someone`s say. A hello, a bye. We must care. It`s not only done through talking about things. We must show it through actions too. Show compassion, take care of each other instead of hurting each other. Respect, equality and compassion are some of the important things in a socity. You don`t have to love everyone, like everything everyone does and be bestfriend with everyone, but you can accept everyone for who they are, say no and stop when someone`s doing anything wrong. Show respect.