This is an excerpt from a manuscript I wrote about an online friendship between a college dropout and a 13-year-old boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. It’s written in epistolary format and this scene is told from the young woman (the college drop-out)’s perspective.
I first got interested in making movies when I was a pre-teen and started noticing that basically all major filmmakers were male. To me it just seemed totally unfair and the more I paid attention to the films I watched the bigger the problem seemed to be. I started watching lots of underrated films directed by women and it got me thinking- I was like, why can’t I do this? I loved movies, even terrible ones.
I could learn to use a video camera, it didn’t seem like rocket science. I started out wanting to make films ABOUT being a female filmmaker. They would be so funny nobody would even think of them as ‘feminist movies’ they’d be too busy laughing at the witty script. When I finally got to college I was more interested in making what they call ‘social realism.’ Probably not a genre you’d be into, and every movie by Ken Loach and Mike Leigh totally sucked me in. I’d never seen anything like it before, nobody in these movies were rich.
They didn’t lead special or exciting lives. A lot of the time they weren’t attractive. The women were fat and plain, and their lives were usually full of hard work and sadness. Neither the men or the women had much but I almost felt like they were showing me something real that was happening. I don’t dream about making movies (which I think is amazing!) but I tell stories in my head that could maybe be something good if someone besides me decided to do it. I’ve actually considered making a horror movie.
I never liked the genre before but I guess they’ve grown on me? Sure, I have to watch them in broad daylight (and never alone!) but I’ve started to notice how good some of the stories are. I don’t know though. It kind of seems like everything’s been kind of… done? Half the people at my school were making zombie movies b/c they’re fun to make but nobody had a single original idea. It all seemed like something Romero would have made when he was like 12.
The sad thing was they all thought what they were making was really good. I wish I had their delusional self-confidence LOL. I was sorry to hear about you being bullied. Unfortunately, that kind of B.S. isn’t unusual AT ALL. I’ve never met any kid who wasn’t bullied at least at some point for being different. If they weren’t that was probably b/c they were the one bullying people. I was mostly left alone when I was a kid but in middle school there was a group of girls who got really nasty to me for some reason. I don’t think I ever did anything to piss them off, I never even talked to them.
One day they just started bumping me in the hallway and telling me I was fat and ugly and just like that they started bothering me every day. I wasn’t really scared of them (even though they were pretty violent as far as middle school girls go) but they made me feel bad about myself.
It was the same thing I hated about myself all the time but now they were saying it out loud, which made me feel like everybody must notice how mediocre I was. Several boys even had crushes on me but they weren’t just going to say it and embarrass themselves. These girls would say anything at all as long as it made people feel ashamed of their flaws.
They were mean to the prettiest girls too b/c they were jealous of them, a girl could be drop dead gorgeous and they’d still come up w/ SOMETHING. And somehow they’d always make it seem humiliating. Then one girl moved away and the others didn’t know what to do w/o her.
They just smoked weed and pointed and laughed at ‘losers’ but their power was gone. At the end I almost felt sorry for them. Nobody would give them the time of day and I think they grew up to be very sad people. I hear that schools are getting safer and safer from bullying these days but I’m not convinced.
I don’t know many kids though, except the college-age kind. I think you should find someone you trust and tell them you’re being bullied when kids at school make you feel unsafe. Really! I know it sounds cliche but you should never be afraid to speak up. If you don’t trust any of your teachers there’s other people you can talk to. I’m going to send you a link of resources.
You don’t have to do anything with it but I would recommend it. I don’t know you that well (not IRL at all) but I still sometimes worry about you. Loneliness is one of the hardest things, and I remember feeling a lot of it when I was growing up, especially in middle school. It still surprises me that more tween girls don’t end up becoming hardcore felons.