I am 16 years old and I think I’ve been through a lot of bullying since I was a young kid. Let me tell you some of my experiences.
I have Klinefelter’s Syndrome, and it carries with it a lot of different complications, but none of them are life-threatening. But because of it, I have poor muscle mass and immature muscle coordination. This makes me clumsy and I look awkward when I run. Kids have laughed at me about this since I was little.
I love sports but was never real good at them, so I got teased a lot about my poor coordination and inability to keep up. Because of the KS, I also have a lower endurance level than other kids my size so I get tired easier and quicker. Most kids wouldn’t want to play sports with me because I couldn’t put a lot of power in my throws or swings with the bat. I didn’t usually get chosen to be on anybody’s team.
Because of the KS, I am much more sensitive about things than most boys. One day in fifth grade, I was real upset because a member of my family died. When I was at school that was all I could think about. Some kid came up and tripped me for no reason, and I just cried. I was so emotional about the death and the tripping was the last straw. All I could do was cry. Then the kids laughed at me because I cried. I wasn’t crying about falling. But it is hard for me to explain myself so sometimes I don’t even try.
When I started junior high and had to undress for gym, that’s when troubles really began. Again, because of the KS, I have very long, skinny arms and legs, but my trunk is chunky and I have what is called gynecomastia. That is when a boy’s breasts develop. They are not big at all, just a little chunky.
It was enough for others to notice, and boys were mean and hateful in gym. I was called a girl - and they would do what is called a “titty twist.” This is where they would grab me and pull and twist. It hurts lots. But it hurt me emotionally more.
Also, my other private parts didn’t grow to normal size, so guys have made fun of my size for a long time.
I also have had learning difficulties, and this has been a real problem. I’ve been called stupid and retard and worse things. I believe I am pretty intelligent. I just can’t express myself very well.
I sometimes use the wrong words or can’t explain what I mean. My head says one thing, but my mouth says another. So I’ve been laughed at a lot in school.
When I was 14 years old, I could go to church dances. Boys inside the dance would harass me. They’d call me “wuss” and “chicken.”
One time at a dance I saw a fabulous looking sports car in the parking lot. I have always been fascinated by sports cars. But when I got close to it, there was a man and a woman in the car. I got scared because I didn’t expect anyone to be in the car. So I ran back into the church.
A few minutes later, the man who owned the car ran up to me, grabbed my neck and shoved me up against the wail. He threatened me that if I ever came near his car again, he would break my arm.
I tried to explain that I was just excited and wanted to look at it. But he said he was sure I was going to “key” his car. I don’t even own any keys.
My parents thought about pressing charges for assault. But they decided he needed a psychiatrist more then he needed a lawyer. And they’re right.
Then I found out it was his boys who were throwing things at me and harassing me at the dance. No wonder they act the way they do.
The teasing has eased up a little bit, I think because kids eventually mature. But I still think about all the things I went through.
My parents think that I will be a much more tolerant and sensitive person because of my experiences. I am on shots now for treatment and that helps with some of the problems I have because of KS.
My parents helped me through this by encouraging me to stand up for myself. My mom and my dad also helped me gain an interest in reading. They both like to read a lot, and my dad even saved his favorite books from his childhood for his own kids. So I am an avid reader.
When I read, I feel I am there in the story. I’m the main character. Like in the book “The Invisible Man,” I felt like I could be invisible, too.
Well, I hope kids will listen because I can’t stand to see little kids go through what I’ve been through, especially if they can’t help the way they are. I thought I wanted to be anonymous, but I changed my mind.
I’m not ashamed of myself. I think I’m a pretty good kid. I’m working hard now to better myself.
I am in a private school where I have a lot of friends and people accept me and don’t treat me different.
I have a lot of support. I’m going to be all right.