I don't know how much you follow celebrity news, but I am all about it.
The other day, in the midst of a super packed afternoon, Sissy texted me:
"Gia from the Bachelor/Bachelor Pad is dead. Suicide. Hung herself. Shocked. Have you not read about it yet?"
Since, I was with clients in "on" mode, I didn't really process it. But, I felt immediately sad. Really sad. Odd, since I only knew Gia from TV.
She seemed so beautiful, put together, and confidant.
When I finally returned home around midnight, before I even washed my face or brushed my teeth (which I never did because I fell asleep on my computer which is a TERRIBLE habit), I raced online and Googled Gia Allemand. Several stories came up about her tragic death, her rocky relationship with her pro-athlete boyfriend (who found her), and how sad/shocked/surprised/devastated her Bachelor "family" (what Chris Harrison calls people who have been on the show) are via their condolence tweets.
I then remembered why I felt a connection with Gia. A person I have never met. A lady I would be intimidated of, if I ever saw her out at a bar in real life. I recalled seeing Gia in an interview where she referenced how she had been bullied most of her life. She was known to call out bullying, especially on Twitter.
When I saw that interview a few years back (I believe it was during Bachelor Pad publicity because I was living at home already with my folks), I thought to myself...who would bully Gia?
You see, I was bullied most of my childhood and it has altered not only my self perception, but it has led to my abusive relationship with food. Lately, in therapy, I am working through my own experience with bullying and it sucks. Every time I talk about it, I feel like I have been beaten by several 1,000 pound sand bags, but it does define me and I can't help it.
I have briefly mentioned it before, but I was bullied, tormented even, because of my weight all through grade school and in college too (though college wasn't as severe in comparison, just fat jokes and fat nicknames made at my expense). Even if the post I linked to seems strong, now that Crush's love has washed over me and I know he is here to stay, I do still have a bit of work to do in therapy to not focus on the negative. Being in my childhood home for the last 2 years has actually been a blessing. It has triggered some bad habits (like the emotional eating), but they have been simmering for far to long anyway, it was time to confront all of my pain and move on.
The worst bullying I ever withstood was in junior high when the boys called me "Ogre" relentlessly.
30 boys (including the best looking and most popular ones) 1 year older than me began the harassment 3 days into my 6th grade year. 3 days after I started a new school. I was 5'5" and 135 pounds. I recently found a diary entry that referenced these stats, calling myself a "fat pig." An entry that was a plan on how to hide from these boys at school, which included eating my lunch in the library and bathroom and even hiding under a desk in my honors math class (which included 6-7 graders....I wrote that I was going to pretend to tie my shoes under my desk between the period bells, so Todd and Rusty wouldn't be able to call me "Ogre" before the teacher arrived to protect me).
Sadly, nothing worked, those boys found me everywhere I went. Even when the teachers were around, they whispered "Ogre" hot and close in my ear. They slid print-outs of farm animals with OGRE scribbled at the top in marker between the slats of my locker. They pushed and spit on me, too.
I was actually considered popular before this behavior started. Once in a while, I still have a nightmare that they are circling me and I wake up crying. 20 years after the experience occurred.
Clearly, I am not over this quite yet.
To this day, there is something about a 12-13 year old boy that unnerves me a bit, I don't like their company much which is silly considering that I have many little baby boys in my life that will become pre-teens before I know it...so, I better get used to this age group. I also don't like groups of men my own age either....I fear there is always a risk for boys or men to gang-up instantly as I was rarely ever bullied by just 1 boy at a time, it was always a few of them working in these little tag teams.
Thinking about it....it is probably why I have always favored much older men....Crush being 3 years older than me (so, nothing) is the youngest person I have ever dated seriously. Even Awful was 6 years older than me. And for a while, I was dating 20+ years older in my early 20's as it felt safer. I have since learned, men are men, regardless of age.
During junior high, I changed because of the bullying. I became funny, snarky, and mean myself. I made fun of other kids, including a few mentally disabled ones. This still haunts me. I started emotionally eating. My grades slipped. I began riding my bike to the public library to research suicide, anorexia, and drug abuse. I wanted something to help me escape. I hated myself.
I contemplated suicide. I love roller coasters. I remember thinking that I could die by simply "forgetting" to close my harness on an innocent trip to Six Flags where I had season tickets every summer until I was 15. I could die experiencing one of my few joys at the time of my death....going upside on a thrill ride.
But, then I would think about the inevitable distress and panic I would cause Sissy and my dad (who would be at Six Flags with me ) and how Sissy would maybe have to ID my dead body and how much she too loves roller coasters......so I would feel terrible in advance if she would never want to go back on one because her little sister died tragically on Batman: The Ride.
But.....I would briefly hesitate pulling my harness down for years.
As I untangle this mess in therapy, I realize that I carried so much pain from these few years of torture, that I lost the last years of my childhood. The bullying showed me 11 years into my short life, that the world can be a cruel cruel place. I became an extremely defensive person. I became afraid of confrontation. I am still trying to break these bad coping mechanisms.
I used to associate the boys who bullied me as "too good for me." I would reason that they were popular, richer, smarter, cooler, and better than me, so that is why they hate me and make fun of me. None of this is true. I was and I still am a wonderful person. There was no rhyme or reason for the bullying. I still ponder why I was targeted...there were bigger and taller girls than me in my grade.
As I get ready to restart my life at 32, I realize that some of me is still afraid of myself. In my new place, I can be something special. I am told I am beautiful, smart, accomplished, and funny. I do think I am these things some of the time. Somewhere deep in my heart, I believe them....BUT, well, there is still a little voice that screams "OGRE" once in a while. That wants to argue with a stranger about my "sharp wit, good looks, or beautiful smile" because I don't think I deserve these compliments, because I am not worthy of an easy and good life like other people have. Self-sabotage at it's finest.
I have seriously contemplated suicide twice in my life. Once, I was in high school, the summer before college. I threw a massive party at my parents house when they were out of town, got in major trouble when they returned and they kicked me out for weeks. At the same time, I was dumped by my "friends" because I couldn't go to a concert I said I would go to because I didn't have the money....I was sleeping in a motel between crashing with friends and going through all of my summer work paychecks. I snuck into my parents house one afternoon when I knew everyone was away and I stole a bottle of my mom's painkillers (from a major surgery) with the intent to take the entire bottle. The night I planned to do it, I made up with my "friends" (who I cut off as soon as I left for college) and decided to wait until I was 25 and see where I was in my life before I ended it.
The last time I decided to kill myself was almost 2 years ago, the morning I broke up with Awful. I woke up that day set that I would cancel our plans to work on his boat, wait for him to leave, get one of his guns from his gun safe, and shoot myself. After I feigned sick and he left, on my way down to the basement to retrieve a weapon, I slipped and almost fell down his stairs (which were very steep and slippery) and heard the voice of my deceased grandfather in my head scream, "GRANDDAUGHTER (what he used to call me)....NO! NO! NO!!!!!!! IT ISN'T YOUR TIME! GET OUT! GO HOME! GO HOME!!!!!!!!!"
I called my parents hysterically and they came and saved me. I began therapy the next day. I am super afraid of guns.
Gia was found by her boyfriend. They lived together, just like I did with Awful. I remember in my planning, I wanted Awful to find me. I was going to write a note...."This is what you get for playing with my emotions and lying to me for over 2 years. Fuck yourself. I hope this haunts you for the rest of your life."
I am still afraid of myself sometimes. That I will break down again for some reason in the future and I will fantasize about the end. Though I wish it wasn't true, my own self is often my worst enemy.
So, the point I am trying to make after my novel length post, is that no one knows what Gia was feeling or living. No one knows the pain and torture she may have endured in her own life because of bullying. How her thinking was altered because of her own experience. She was dealing with a lifetime of her pain, not just a few fights with her current boyfriend as some tabloids are reporting.
Life is a domino effect.
A person that just meets me, does not see a chubby 11 year old. They don't know that I cannot watch "Revenge of the Nerds" because there is a fraternity brother named Ogre.
Gia was living her own life and decided for whatever reason that it wasn't worth living anymore.
What must she have been thinking before she took her final breaths?
Gia Allemand, rest in peace.