I'm Not Emo

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  • Dedicated to Victims of Bullying

I’m not emo. No matter how much you call me that, I have clean wrists. What’s to gain from this? I don’t know. You’re clearly just a bully, but let me tell you how this has affected me and changed my life. I’ll start at the beginning and show you the end you created.

   My name is Zak Evans Avery; I’m sixteen in the tenth grade. I was born and raised in East Hampton, Connecticut. For as long as I could remember I had no father. My mother was away a lot too, and I don’t know why. If I’m not mistaken, I do believe my grandma raised me for the most part until cancer took her away.

    I was given an unfair card in life, but it didn’t really bother me. I was young and adaptable. People say it must’ve been hard growing up without a father and mother around, but it’s really not that bad. I assume you adjust to the household situations you are put in?

    Of course, nothing happens until elementary school. That’s where all the fun in life begins. Waking up in the morning, excited to see friends. Riding the bus, throwing paper balls at everyone. Dreading homework that I’d say my dog ate even though I’ve never had a dog in my life. Playing on the playground after naptime.

    Such was the ecstasy of young school life. I didn’t really have much of that. Early off kids noticed I wasn’t like everyone else; I was extremely skinny and way too pale for my midnight black hair. I was called almost every single little insult we knew back in those days, including the forever famous ‘loser’ insult while making an ‘L’ on your forehead.

    Around fifth grade, is when real bullying came into play. I couldn’t afford designer clothes due to my mother being away so much and making so little, and to be honest, a black off-brand looked much better than a striped polo. And so began the taunt of “goth”.

    But I could deal with that. It wasn’t much of an insult anyway. I did have friends, though, so it wasn’t the whole elementary school taunting me. They were strange kids, the ones that never had girlfriends nor went to sleepovers.

    Next came the wonders of middle school, where all the elementary kids were advanced into one building. Yay! 

     This was the start of excessive bullying. I was pushed around and got beaten up in the bathrooms. I was picked on daily for my dark clothing. You know in middle school is when cliques start forming? Needless to say I didn’t fit into any of them. The jocks really liked talking to me, though.

    So the bullying was pretty moderate during early middle school, but during late middle school, the last year of it to be exact, came the existence of a new insult. I’m not sure where it came from or who made it, but it was spelled E-M-O and stood for almost anyone in dark clothing and different than most others.

    This word for some reason became very painful. I’m not sure why… maybe it was the way people said it, with so much hatred it made my stomach turn and my eyes burn.

    Here is my favorite part. Freshman year! Oh yes! We finally made it to the last school in our forced education! There was so much freedom and options, it was great. Thought elementary was the ecstasy of young life? Try high school. There are so many clubs, friends, and vibrant clear signs of young love in the air. It’s wonderful!

    If you’re not an ‘emo’.

    Don’t get me wrong, I’m not an emo as stated before. “You are what everyone sees you to be,” said someone. It was the summer before that when the definition of ‘emo’ actually came out. Here, let me write it for you, straight from Webster.

    Emo – noun – \ˈē-(ˌ)mō\ - a style of rock music influenced by punk rock and featuring introspective and emotionally fraught lyrics – Short for ‘emotional.        

                                                                   – Webster Dictionary 

    Now tell me, how did people take that and turn it into this:

  Emo - noun - \ˈē-(ˌ)mō\ - black wearing, wrist cutting, no good trash, depressed life haters who deserve to be buried in a hole.

                                               – Some preppy girl at my high school

    Maybe I’m just stupid for thinking Webster has the correct definition and this girl doesn’t. But come on! I don’t cut my wrists, not all my clothes is black, I’m certainly not trash, and I’m only depressed with my life because of people like her. No human being is trash and no human being deserves to be treated in any foul way.

    I’ve tried to create my own definition for emo. I guess I thought of it as a way to cheer myself up? It’s Extremely Modern Optimists aka EMO. Gives you a whole new outlook on the word right? Yet even that couldn’t stop my stomach from turning or my eyes from burning when people gave me that look and said it with such disgust. Freshman year was just a bunch of insults and slightly aggressive bullying. Can you even begin to guess at sophomore year?

    Let me have a swing at it for you! Halfway through the year my mother told me she wouldn’t have long left with me. Apparently all that time she spent away from home was spent on the streets begging for drugs to feed her addiction. She screwed up, though, and bought from an undercover cop. She’s on trial now. She appealed twice and for some reason the judge let it pass. Maybe she got on her knees and begged? All I wanted to know is how I didn’t know.

    My mother wasn’t even the worse part of the year. I finally got a dog; it was a stray I found on the streets. I named him Courage, because he seemed to have lived to a moderate age on the streets. He was a great dog, for a few weeks at least. Then he died of worms.

    There is a curtain jock at my school, named Austin. It goes without saying that he’s huge, and he has a mean streak that goes on for miles. He picked on me a lot during the year; even hit me around a few times for ‘upsetting him with my depressed mood’.

    Four nights ago was the last day of school, and for underclassmen that means The End of The Year Dance. One of my male friends I’ve had since middle school asked me to go so he didn’t have to sit around alone. His mom had made him go because in her eyes, he wasn’t social enough.

    Austin got to made a speech during the dance. He got everyone’s attention and then went on to ask if anyone wanted to dance with my emo ass. His response was laughter, from everyone. Yeah, it seems like a weak joke, but it really hit me that everyone thought I was emo and no one would ever want to dance with me.


    So here I am sitting in my room writing this note. I honestly don’t want to take this pain anymore. I can’t stand it. I wish people could see and feel what their bullying does to people and what it leads people to doing. Well... this is the end, I guess. I’m moving on. Goodbye.

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