Hi everyone, My name is America. Before you ask, no, my parents are not super patriotic, no I don’t like to be called ‘Merica and no, I’m definitely not named after the little girl from Where the Heart Is. You know, that Natalie Portman movie where she has a kid in Walmart? I especially hate having any of our countries patriotic theme songs sang at me or anywhere near me. Why is this? Well, to talk about that, we have to talk about how bullying isn’t always bullying, and how people don’t realize they’re hurting someone’s feelings.
I was home schooled from fourth grade through high school, but before that I went through three different public schools in my district. None of them were exempt from teasing and poking at me and my name. Some of it was from the adults, and it wasn’t meant to be teasing. I got a lot of Miss America, America the Beautiful, stuff like that. From the kids it was a different story.
We forget how mean kids can be. Now, the kids who teased me weren’t half as mean to me as they could have been, and they teased me about other things besides my name, but my name is the most memorable thing. When something is such a big part of you, you’re not going to forget it. I indured taunting voices singing patriotic songs at me, and jokes like “you must LOVE 4th of July right? It’s celebration ALL about you” all through elementary school. Which doesn’t sound to bad right? Try getting it every day. It of course didn’t help that I was a great target. I was easily riled up and one of those kids who would get upset when kids said something to me.
I still am pretty easily offended by these jokes, less so by people who know me really well, Hope and I go back and forth with jokes, I joke about her, she jokes about me. Mark makes jokes, I tend to kick him, but, we both know that’s its less violent than friendly poking at each other. Cat also makes jokes, the main problem there is that she’s impossible to get angry with, and just acts so cute that you can’t possibly tell her off, or push her over…I tend to just steal her hat, or whatever she’s wearing on her head at the time. When it comes to people in public, I’ve gotten really good at the smile and ignore it route. Especially as a retail worker. I get a lot of jokes about my name from customers, and all I can do is smile, fake laugh and move on. Pretending not to notice is good too, but more often I pretend I don’t mind. It’s not easy.
One of these days maybe it’ll stop bothering me….maybe…
Love to all, as always,