Third class bully

“When I was a child, we moved around quite a lot. My dad worked in the County Council and was very ambitious. Every time he got a promotion, we packed up everything into boxes and headed once again to a new place. Before completing primary school, I had lived in six different places. I hated all the moving. I hated constantly being the new girl. I hated my name Rosena – nobody could pronounce it, never mind remember it. We moved to Wicklow town when I was in 3rd class. In my second week there, the class bully, Carmel, told me I was to be her slave and had to walk behind her carrying her schoolbag and doing her bidding. Although being very shy and quite nervous, I knew even at that young age that my life would be hell if I agreed. I nervously, but firmly, declined her offer. She told me that she “owned” the class – that she would instruct everyone in it to ignore me, which she did. No one in the class spoke to me for three months. I was devastated and lonely, but never told anyone in my family. I tried to figure out a way to survive. There were some kids in the other 3rd class, who even Carmel was nervous about. They lived on ‘The Hill’ and were considered the ‘Town toughies’. They could all look after themselves. I would bump into them in the butchers when my Mam had sent me down to get scraps for the dogs. They were buying pig’s feet, which I never knew people ate. On one such occasion, one of the girls, Paula, asked me my name and we struck up a conversation. I walked back with the group to Paula’s house – with dog scraps in one bag and crubeens in the other. We sprung up a friendship, which lasted for the three years that I lived in Wicklow. I can still remember the look on Carmel’s face when I walked into school with the group from ‘The Hill’ the following week – shock, and a little fear. My isolation was immediately lifted. Every effort was made by her to be my friend. An offer which I firmly, but not nervously, declined!”

This series was highlighted by the South Dublin Libraries supporting marginalized people living in the South Dublin Council area.