So I have a boyfriend, the first one after everything that had happened. Quite soon after, I guess you'd think I was scared of the idea. But I found it hard to see Harry the same way as Jamie, for a start they looked completely different. And Harry himself had a much more abrupt and blunt personality, while Jamie had been very quiet-spoken and kept his thoughts mostly to himself. I got home from school one day, after I'd been with Harry all of a week and my dad made a joke. I know now it was just a joke. But everything about that one word put me on high alert.
“He only wants you for sex.” I ended it. Because of those words alone. A few months later we were back together again. But it tells me that even if I wasn't really thinking about what had happened at that age, it was still affecting me.
It's funny that I love music as much as I do. I joined the school choir when Amy told me about it because I loved to sing. I desperately wanted to learn how to play the piano. And maybe I would've if it weren't for the fact that I hated my music lessons. Our teacher was brilliant, he had a great sense of humour and trusted us to do our own thing. Which meant he spent the majority of every lesson in his office. And I had zero friends in that lesson. Just people who enjoyed making fun of me. It seemed like every music lesson was a game of “who can get Catherine to yell first?” It reached the point that I'd skip the classes or run out before they finished. The teachers always found and dragged me back though.
I remember one lesson when Greg was being particularly bad. I threatened to throw my shoe at the area that hurt, like I usually did around guys bullying me. I hadn't actually intended too, but my shoe flew off anyway and hit the target. I'm not going to attempt to say I felt bad, because I burst out laughing the moment it happened. I expected Greg to hit me or something afterwards but he didn't and never did. It wouldn't be until we were fourteen/fifteen that I would learn why.
I'm embarrassed to admit that I never knew what swear words were when I started secondary school. My sheltered army life just meant I never heard them. I'd repeat the words thrown at me with no clue what they meant. And of course I was short with a high-pitched voice, so everyone found it funny when I swore. Even now I get a little angry if someone calls me a 'midget'. Harry still does just because he knows it annoys me.
There was a third bully during my first year. He actually managed to make me burst into tears. I learnt the next day that Amy had slammed his head against a locker for it. I loved her so much for that.
Amy had another friend called Poppy, she was very much on the overweight side. Obviously it didn't bother me, as someone who got bullied for being short I couldn't judge. But I'd watch people bully her for it, but rather than fight back or ignore, she'd just run away and cry. Now obviously not everyone is the same, but after the first few times of cheering her up it just started to bug me.
We went on a school trip to a adventure camp place. It was one of the few places where any teasing was actually light-hearted. Because all the bored days of doing training courses in the barracks' I'd lived in paid off here. I could handle pretty much all of the challenges despite my size. There were kids from other schools but I was far too shy to approach anyone. By this point me and Harry had broken up again. (We'd get back together in a few weeks, don't worry).
Poppy was getting bullied as usual. Though I had to admit, considering some of the meaner girls we were sharing a room with, things could've been a lot worse. She bust into tear one evening and the whole room, even the girls who actually bothered her, were crowded round and hugging her. They did this for about ten minutes or so and all gradually left. She was still crying and whining about the same stuff. Only now it was just me and Amy left.
I snapped I guess, I'd had enough of hearing the same spiel over and over again. I whacked on the shoulder, a lot harder than I'd intended and stormed out. Yelling at her to just get over it. I went into the shared bathroom and huffed to myself against the tiles. Amy came in a few moments later to have a go at me for being so insensitive. I cracked, I yelled at her about all the crap I put up with. How I just put up with it and never moaned, could she blame me for getting annoyed at Poppy? Amy didn't say anything, just sighed and went back to the room. By the time I returned and had calmed down everyone was asleep, except one girl. Her name was Keri and she was part of the popular in-group of girls.
“I'm so glad you did that. All of us wanted to really,” she murmured from the bed next to me. I blinked at her, surprised. I'd been beating myself up a little, thinking I'd done something wrong. To hear that someone like her agreed with me helped me feel better. After that Keri and her friends backed off a little. They didn't become my friends, but they seemed to respect me now. It's kind of sad looking back now. They respected me for being a bitch.