Well I guess it really began when I was 11, it was, I was in year 7 the first year of High School and from the word go you know I was bullied quite badly, mostly teasing, for lots of different reasons. It was partly because I was very clever, that was very obvious I was in the top set, I was called “swot” quite a lot, and various other words like “boffin.”
And it was probably quite apparent to my peers that you know I was not conforming to the typical male stereotype. You know I didn’t, wasn’t interested in football, wasn’t interested in girls, and wasn’t interested in any of those things. And it was often assumed that I was gay. And I was called all those different names that were quite derogatory and of course that bothered me, but at the time, I didn’t know what gay was, because of course the word itself is often misused. Just because I am something that’s not good or un-cool, as in that is gay. So of course I had this sort of slightly odd idea about what that word was, and it wasn’t the true meaning.
So it meant that you know I couldn’t, and certainly at that age I didn’t, you know, it wouldn’t, I didn’t obviously think that I fancied men, you know, so that I was too young really to sort of make those, you know realisations, and least of all that connection between the word and what, what it really meant.
So of course a lot of that over time sort of built up and it’s the bullying, like a lot of bullying if often spreads, it’s like a disease. You know once one bully you know gets away with it time and time again other people join in, and before you know you’re getting ganged up on. You know and that was the secret of the school yard, it could be even in lessons, you know if the teacher couldn’t quite control the class. So for about two years, years 7 & 8 it was just constant teasing and you know I probably just about coped with it, and then in Year 9 I think that was when everyone’s hormones sort of seemed to kick in, because it seemed to, you know become more intense. The bullying was more it became almost more violent.
I remember on one occasion in Year 9 I think it was like the first geography lesson, and a bully decided to pick on me that day and I think I reacted to him by saying, “Will you please go away,” or something and he said, “No,” and I threw something at him because you know I was just so annoyed, and of course you know I was really beginning to not be able to cope with it, you know, I was quite anxious, it was the beginning of the school year, so I just stormed out of the lesson.
And that’ s what I frequently did at that point, but where I would go, you know it was the boys’ toilets, locked myself away in a cubicle because it was the only place you knew you wouldn’t be found. And I don’t really remember the first time but I used to sort of just comfort eat, partly from boredom but partly for comfort. And you know that used to make me feel better but sometimes you know I’d eat so much in such a short period of time you know I’d feel quite uncomfortably full. Of course there’s all that bit of tension and anxiety, so that whirling in the stomach sort of feeling, and you know I really wanted to get that out. And I felt like I was going to be sick anyway.