This is a piece of writing I did a while ago and intended to be part of a zine I was making, but it didn’t really fit anywhere because it isn’t directly about being trans so here it is for the first time. (tw bullying)
My relationship with skateboarding has always been bittersweet. As a kid I looked up to the teenagers I saw on the half pipe at the leisure centre, grinding on rails, doing kick flips outside the Roxy and Blockbuster video. I played the Tony Hawk games and dressed like a skater for a while, but the truth is I wasn’t very good at it and the older kids were really mean.
When they started making my life hell, I gave up and decided to never skate again, but it’s still a part of me. It was my gateway to punk and hardcore music and counterculture! I first heard Black Flag, Suicidal Tendencies, Circle Jerks and Bad Religion while playing Tony Hawk games and watching Dogtown on a chewed up VHS. I loved the feeling of liberation it promised, surfing on concrete, making graceful music with my body like Tony Alva or Peggy Oki. But I had shitty motor skills and no sense of balance so that was never going to happen.
They bullied me relentlessly until I was too scared to leave the house and thought about taking my own life. Whenever they saw me in town they would circle around me on their boards, throwing things, spitting and shouting at me until I was a nervous wreck, and this went on for years. They even tried to run me over in a car one time. The police were involved but they never got anything more than a warning. Apparently a few of them broke down and cried about how sorry they were when the cops came but I suspect it was crocodile tears.
I got an apology from a few of them years later but the damage had already been done. The sad thing is they were just like me, insecure kids who liked the same music and came from the same background that I did. Instead of being sadistic and intent on destroying my life, they could have taken me under their wing and welcomed me into their group but it wasn’t to be.
A couple of years ago these two drunk guys came up to me at a gig and they said they recognised me from back then, I was shaking so badly because I thought they might have been some of the guys who bullied me. They were shitfaced and they said they stuck up for me a few times when the skate nazis attacked me, it took me a minute because I have suppressed most of my memories from that period of my life, but it all came flooding back. They said they thought I was cool and didn’t deserve the abuse I was getting from them just for being different.
I had quit drinking a few days before and was feeling really insecure and fragile because I didn’t have that chemical barrier in place anymore. I thanked them and got out of there as quickly as I could because I find drunk men a bit intimidating! Most of those bullies are in their 30s now, I’ll probably never see them again but I wish them all the worst in life, I’m sure karma will find them and they will pay.
– Lydia B