Friday, October 8, 2010

Bird's eye view...

I thought I would include some of Jennifer's journal entries. They are totally different from her diaries. In Journal, she recorded thoughts and fantasies and life questions. In Ophelia, she recorded information about her day.

21, September (1985)  "I wish I didn't worry so much about life, myself and my future. I wish I could enjoy life by the minute without worrying about the next."

22, September (1985)  "I hate when people get confused over simple things and are slow to respond."  (Jennifer now feels this way about computers!)

22, September (1985)  "Sometimes I think that all the animals in the world are playing a joke on the humans and they really can talk and think. They laugh at us behind our own back. Many a time, I have tried to catch Cocoa speaking or showing signs of high intelligence but I have yet to be rewarded for my observations." (except for this one time!)

23, September (1985)  "I wonder if a super loud alarm wakes you up more than a quieter one? Is the loud one just a quick start? Or are you generally more awake than you would be if a quiet alarm woke you? I wonder if a loud alarm would put you into a negative mood and chase the memory of your dreams out of your head? (Greater minds than Jennifer's have wrestled with this question, I'm sure!)

23, September (1985)  "So far this year I've been coming home every day and starting my homework right away. I also study every night and I study German every night no matter what. I feel like I'm learning a lot and it seems easier to learn now. I feel like suddenly, I'm ready for school. It comes easier to me. A teacher told me once that some people can't learn grammar then, one day, maybe in high school, the kid suddenly snaps and learns grammar easily and everything seems to fit into place. Well, that's kind of how I feel. It's like I have a bird's eye view of my work and it's easier to understand."

23, September (1985)  "I think I have a psychological need for candy. I read somewhere that you can get that. I love sweets. They put me in a good mood. When I'm eating candy, I feel so happy and content. I just want to eat candy for the rest of my life." (Amen!)

23 September (1985)  "I wonder if keeping lists might encourage me to put things off a little. Cause they're written down and I know I won't forget them?"

24, September (1985)  "Why is warmth more pleasurable to the average person than cold? Both can be very uncomfortable. Maybe it all depends on how you grow up. But why do most people prefer warmth? I guess humans are built for warm weather, not having fur and all. Plus, to the conscious mind, warmer places are publicized and advertised as great places."

24, September (1985)  "There's a kid sitting next to me in German who is kinda weird and different. He can't talk or hear well. He looks kinda different, almost like an albino. Anyway, I'm sure he doesn't have many friends and he talks to me sometimes in class. I talk to him but I can't be his friend. I know that if I thought he was attractive, I would talk to him, or if he was just 'normal' and appealed to me. He's a nice guy. 

I guess he's just different and I'm not comfortable with him and I just couldn't have him for a friend. I feel sorry for him that I can't be his friend. I guess I just don't want to 'cross the line'. If I were him, I would want friends but I guess all I can say is, 'I'm not him and it's not my problem.' If I had a child that was 'different' or slow, I don't know if I could handle it."

Remember, Jennifer is completely honest in her journal. She's not proud of the above entry. She's also changed since then. She's secure enough now to be anybody's friend. She avoids people who aren't good for her--but not people who are "different".

School bulling and cyber bulling have become open topics since Columbine. Jennifer was wrong to think that this boy's lack of friends was "not her problem". We are all wrong to assume that any child is "not our problem". Some of these children decide to make their problems everybody's problem, i.e. the Columbine killings.

All children are our future. They are our future world leaders, our future doctors, our future pastors, our future criminals and our future murderers. When we write a child off--he does not disappear! All children need support and love before they get older and terrorize their peers, kill themselves, use drugs, have their own kids or fly off to Harvard!

Jennifer did not bully this boy. She ignored him. Jennifer had no real friends herself, but she could not "cross the line" to befriend this boy. It was "social suicide" to do so, and she knew it. Jennifer's own survival skills encouraged her to save herself.

Kids are being trained now at school to recognize bulling and to put an end to bulling. Shows like Glee are trying to put the Cool into Uncool. Maybe it's getting better, I don't know. I do know that Jennifer was a participant in someone's ostracism and she wasn't a mean kid. She was terrified of becoming like him really. She didn't believe she could save him but she did believe that he could ruin her.

Have you ever turned your back on someone, been bullied or bullied anyone?

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