I was bullied as a child/young adult. It doesn't stand out as prominently for me, I think, because it was just about as bad amongst the bullies as it was at home. There was a stretch of about three years where I was busing to a school across town, away from my friends and that was the worst time.
At school I was bullied and teased. I distinguish teasing from bullying, but really, it is the same thing but just a matter of degree. I think that my saving grace at school was that I saw that many of the people who spent their time trying to humiliate me were people who were targets themselves. Even as a little kid I figured out that my place in the grade school hierarchy was malleable and that, at best, if I kept my head down, I would be able to go a day without having my life up-ended. Of course, there were days when being a target was unavoidable. Even amongst the bullies that were violent toward me (and there were a few-- a girl punched me as hard as she could in my kidneys in the quad (near the library for those reading who went to this particular elementary school) daily for not having money to give to her. She told me that they were what I owed her in interest because I hadn't been able to get the money from my parents) they weren't the worst.
At the time, as I mentioned above, I was busing to school and home. I was maybe ten or eleven. I was obviously not as old as the group of thirteen or so junior high students who were on the bus, but I was obviously old enough to be a target (I imagine that a child under, say eight would have been excluded from this daily experience, but I might be wrong). This was the worst thing. Every time I got on the bus I was holding my breath. This group of kids were relentless. They would ask me humiliating questions (are you a boy or a girl? show us! we'll make you show us! ) they would speculate on whether I was developmentally delayed (hey! HEY! ARE YOU RETARDED?) and when I dutifully ignored their hour of taunts (people say to ignore it when people are cruel to you, but it does nothing to stop them... but what would you say?) would threaten bodily harm and finally, when they got no response? They piled their garbage on me. They'd throw food wrappers and food scraps, they would reach under seats to see if there was left over soda cups and they would either throw them or quietly place them on my body. The bus driver and the adults around them never said anything. When the group would finally file off of the bus I would begin the process of pulling banana peels, laffy taffy wrappers, soda straws and bits of paper out of my hair and clothing. I could start wiping the remnants of sticky melted ice cream off of my skin and think of ways to explain how I got so dirty (usually I changed as soon as I got home, stuffing my clothes into the hamper as far down as they would go).
Finally, after weeks of this treatment I finally broke down. I cried silently as the bus lurched forward and slowly made its way to my house on the other side of town.
My side of town had my friends who, later when I started junior high school, made all the difference. My friends acted as a shield and I could actually be myself then. I was less likely to be a target because I was surrounded by others and bullies always go for those they perceive as weak.
But I didn't have friends on the bus. I was alone. And I cried. I hated myself for crying. I hated that it would be obvious that I really did hear them. And finally, one of the girls-- who had been silent for weeks during this daily humiliation said "YOU GUYS SHE IS CRYING! STOP IT!"
And suddenly, the jeering and laughter stopped. These adolescents suddenly turned their attention to each other and, for the rest of the ride home I was left, mostly, unmolested.
The other day I was watching Dateline: What would you do. The segment was about "What would you do if there was a dog left in a hot car?" It was elaborately staged and the dog was safe but three adolescent boys (I want to say that they were 11, 13 and 15) called the police. Their mother came along a few minutes after them and the host of the show revealed himself asking the mom what she thought about the fact that her boys were amongst the few who would intervene on the behalf of this dog. She responded with something to the effect: I've always told my boys to just do the right thing. Not to think about it, just to do it. I'm unsurprised but I'm proud.
And for all the things I've learned since then, about how to respond to things, about growing into myself? This is the most important thing that people should be teaching others.
It's all well and good to know that it might get better. For me it did. I was originally a target because I was fat but I did finally grow into my fat (albeit not until I was well into my twenties); my fat shifted into big breasts, wide hips and a round behind with a small waist and flatter stomach. Still, the scars of learning to hate myself because of the way others saw me remained. It's all well and good to have a safe space to return to (I didn't have a safe space then, but I would eventually when I left home). But the best thing you can do and the best thing you can teach your children is to just do the right thing. Step up and say something when you see something that is wrong. You have no idea what impact you might have.
When I think back to those bus trips, I don't know why this one girl didn't say anything before but she could've. She could have said no to her friends and others would have followed her. She might have been a target but she ended up being fine.
People are so concerned about meddling and minding their business; however, during this time I thought about killing myself every single day. I went to sleep every night making elaborate plans to secure something that wouldn't get taken away from me and would actually work when I was finally close enough to make it happen. People are shocked by the amount of youth that take their lives but I was 11 years old. I am wholly unsurprised. I saw no way out. Between the school day which was miserable, the trip home which was hellish and being at home, which was painful enough on its own-- there was no place of peace and I believed that nothing would ever change. People just don't understand that meddling could save someone's life. Maybe three days before this girl finally opened her mouth, something that didn't cost her anything but could've, I'd found a box of razor blades. It occurs to me now that they were probably rusty and too dull for me to slit my wrists. They were old and tucked in a drawer and I don't even know if they belonged to us or were left behind by some previous occupants but the main reason I don't know now is because I decided that the brief reprieve that was brought about by my breaking point on the bus was just enough to get me through another day. And another day is just the difference that might save someone's life.
So speak up. Even if it costs you a little, you have no idea the impact you might have. It might cost you some hassle, or some irritation. I urge you to think of it as paying for someone to find the strength to live through another day.
I am trying to get through this movie. Haaz Sleiman and Danai Gurira drew me in. They're both just so lovely to watch (both in terms of their acting ability and their fucking hot good looks). I am having trouble because of a few plot points.
( There are slight spoilers about plot devices, but not about the actual plot (beyond the description on the jacket)... )
So a few months ago the ever sexy Scott Woods made a post about comic books that should be made into movies (as a follow up, presumably to Watchmen being released). I thought about his list a lot and either began reading or rereading the books contained therein. It is not hard to capture my interest-- especially since a bunch of the books were created by or written by Warren Ellis at some point in time.
A( Read more... )
Title: The Messenger
Pairing: John Constantine/ original content character
Word count: 7259
Author: Akili Estrella (copyright on original content, 2009).
As she passed the buildings the dappled sunlight retreated and the shadows expanded across the sky; the sun running behind a curtain at her presence. She turned up her collar and leaned against the edge of the building to wait. A mortal had summoned her and her task was simple. Deliver a message and was free to pursue life, or death, as she saw fit.
She was waiting for him eagerly. She knew how he looked, studied his patterns and at one time longed for his anguish when he'd come to the place she'd been imprisoned for so long. Her old master hated him and took it out on her. The Magician had made a fool of him and it was her smooth brown flesh, free of pocks and scales that'd borne the brunt of his rage.
( Read more... )
That changed on Sunday night when I was determined to get some movies back. It wasn't as hard as I'd thought it would be when I watched Nobel Son which had a great ensemble cast but probably thought that it was more clever that it was in reality.
Inspired and proud, I moved onto Mongol which I've had for about 2 months and have avoided because it seemed "heavy".
This movie was amazing.
I can always tell a film has moved me when the first thing I want to do is go find the history of its subject. I'd heard about Mongol before it was widely released because the director, Sergei Bodrov was in Seattle talking it up at the NWAAFF.
This movie was like many other epics-- but more beautifully shot. Think of 300 meeting LOTR. The film receives lots of comparisons to Braveheart which I think are inappropriate because although there's a love story and battle scenes that are amazing, it is much better in both scope and artistry.
The film that Arif Aliyev wrote was based upon The Secret History of the Mongols which was one of few written Mongolian histories that exist. Bodrov and Aliyev admit to taking artistic license with the piece because there were certain holes-- but they were filled well. No historical figure should be portrayed in black and white or as good OR evil, imo. People are complicated and I feel like films should represent that compliction and grey area. All of that said, portraying Temudjin's (Gengis Khan) greatness as a result of the strong women in his life (his mother is brave and strong, refusing to be a victim when her husband is poisoned at the start of the film and his wife is not only his advisor but as I commented while watching it the "original ride or die chick") and of his love of family was a good way to go. I am a sucker for a love story. I am a sucker for the vastness of an epic. I am a sucker for breath taking battle scenes where the blood looks like jewels being thrown into the air. This movie was of these things that I am a sucker for, while also remaining smart and authentic. It certainly is a love story, but it is not a love story that is demure or coy. Borte (Temudjin's wife) becomes a prostitute to save her true love. She undergoes terrible brutality and remains true (after saving her husband's life, she's kidnapped and raped repeatedly. She slits the throat of her rapist while his child is in her belly). One of my favorite lines of the film comes after she saves (for the millionith time) the life of her husband. She has another child by the man she has sold herself to for passage into China-- a girl of about 4 years. Temudjin asks about the child and tells the girl that he is her father. The girl says "What about my other father?" Borte simply states "Forget him. This is your father," and her proud face never shows a question.
And the writers knew that the idealistic love of Temudjin (and commitment to the importance of women) was not something that could be glossed over smoothly-- and they write that into the story. Temudjin's commitment to Borte is looked down upon, it's seen as his downfall in a number of ways, but damn if it just works in this film. I get both a sense of the brutal reality of Mongolian life (and those people lived hard lives on the Asian steppe) and overarching themes of beauty, idealism and romance.
And speaking of reality? I think the casting directors for Avatar could learn a bit from this movie. This film was cast with people of more than 40 nationalities (to represent the diversity that was the Mongol empire). Another favorite line? Temudjin's father tells his nine year old son about what to look for in a wife, saying "Make sure her face is flat like a lake and that her eyes are small slits. Wide eyes are the way that demons enter and she'll go mad." The woman cast as Borte (Khulan Chulun) is stunning and perfect throughout the film. She could be a statue her face is so lovely to look upon. The acting in this film is amazing. Sun Honglei got the most praise as Temudjin's savior/ally/brother/enemy-- and he does a good job, but it pales in comparison (imo) to Tadanobu Asano who plays the adult Temudjin and invokes my favorite actor of all time, Toshiro Mifune. He is able to jump from wonderous rapture to grim, frightening resolve in an instant. The movie's dialouge was in Mandarin and Mongolian-- and although my Mandarin is terrible, the smoothness of delivery was exceptional. My thing with Asano (and Mifune) is that he really commits to the emotion. When he's confused, there's no doubting that is what he's feeling. When he's enamored with the beauty of his wife (or children) he lets it show. There is a scene where he is at a market being sold into slavery-- and a high ranking official comes by and thinks about buying him. A Buddhist monk advises the guy not to buy that slave because he sees destruction about him. The official sneers and says something along the lines of "Oh, ha ha! Hey Mongol slave! You going to tear our shit down?" and the look that Asano gives the guy... could curdle milk.
Point 3: Great actors? Strong women characters? Good looking and diverse cast? Pretty? Check. But I need to talk more about the pretty. I mean really, the terrain alone is breath taking. The images of Mongolian religion are goregous. The battles (although a little gruesome and slightly unrealistic (Patrick commented that it was probably possible that Temudjin could throw a spear through a man from a distance and impale him while pinning him to a post, I don't know though. It's a stretch.) were amazing. I was on the edge of my seat and I knew how it would end. The direction of the film was to put it as Roger Ebert put it "Overwhelming" when compared to American "epics". Also? Done on a measly 20 Million dollars.
So yeah. This was great and incredibly rewarding. I loved it.