The South Bank Review Winter 2017 | Let me be me
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Let me be me

L E T  M E

  B E  M E .


Same routine, yes the same standard feeling,

all I want is for my heart to start healing.

This awful pain, it never goes away,

then I fall asleep again, dreading the very next day.


I awoke this morning not wanting to move,

why can’t they leave me alone, what do I really have to prove?

Yes, I may be different, but surely that’s good?

Sorry I don’t dress like I was raised in the hood.


I sit here lifeless on the same old train,

with anxiety in my head; it’s eating up my brain.

I look to the left and I look to the right,

keep telling yourself kid, the future is bright.


Walking to the gates, my body turns stiff,

I’m waiting for the moment that my presence starts a tiff.

Head down, keep walking – you won’t get a fist,

if I really disappeared, would I even be missed?


It didn’t take long for someone to start,

the way they go on, you’d think it was a performing art.

“Go away” I tell them, “leave me alone”,

but what would you know, they’ve gone and broke my finger bone.


Hauled to the nurse’s room, I put on my brave face,

she’s asking me what happened – “I tripped over my lace”.

With my finger tacked up, I’m sent back to class,

one seat left, shock, next to the biggest ass.


I pull out my book and he throws it to the floor,

nervous to move, I want to run for the door.

Compose yourself now, just bend down and grab it,

no way, sod that, I’ll pretend to be sick.


Panic from my teacher, saliva leaves my mouth,

I think about going and starting a life down south.

I know I’m only young, but surely that’s better,

mum would be alright, i’ll just send her a letter.


Break time has come, it’s a thing I hate most,

I try to stay hidden because I know I’ll end up toast.

I hide in the loo, the doors locked and bolted,

it smells in here; my nose feels revolted.


11:11am – only four minutes to go,

English is next; we’re watching a Shakespeare show.

Sitting in silence, it’ll keep them away,

and this is the first half of my standard school day.


Lunchtime has loomed and I’m back feeling scared,

I have no-one to talk to, if only someone cared.

It’s only 40 minutes; I convince myself its fine,

then boom around the corner are a load of year 9s.


They push and laugh, shouting in my face,

I manage to escape, then comes the almighty chase.

My lungs feel like bursting, my cheeks are really red,

ouch what was that? They threw a rock at my head.


I fall to the floor and there’s no teacher around,

the aggression continues, please let me be found.

I try to fight back, but they’ve got me on my knees,

I’m begging and screaming, ‘let me go pretty please!’


“Oi! Stop! What’s going on here?”

I hear a deep voice; it sounds so so clear.

The beating it stops and the sun hits my eyes,

I’m stuck to the floor; I feel so paralyzed.


The teacher helps me up and takes me to his room,

asking me what happened; the truth will be out soon.

I hesitate for a moment, not wanting to speak,

then my mouth begins to run and my knees feel weak.


I got it all out, this awful doom and gloom,

someone’s finally listened, I should never just assume.

There are people all around, ready to lend an ear,

what was the big deal? Hiding all this fear.


Today was the day that my life changed for good,

I told someone what happened, as you always should.

The right people know, and punishments are nigh,

the feeling of relief, it’s like a never ending high.


It is never nice to feel alone or to see somebody become the outcast. As trapped as someone may feel, their feelings will become supressed due to potential threats or fears forced into them. Do not be afraid to talk to somebody so they can help. If you know someone who is being bullied whether it is at school, university or even an environment outside of these, staying silent will not make it go away. Childline are here to listen. They provide numerous ways of opening up whether it is via a phone conversation, e-mailing or even an online one-to-one counselling if required. You are not alone as they also have message boards that other people use to speak up. This help is open to all; not just those who are living this nightmare.

Call for free: 0800 1111


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Lucia Etheridge

Lucia Etheridge is in the final year of her English with Creative Writing degree. She applies techniques she has learnt and developed over the last three years to create her pieces. Living in Tunbridge Wells, she is open to the slow country lifestyle as well as the busy London life - this helps to influence her creative writing. She is yet to discover what she aspires to be in the future however, one thing that she is sure of is that forming various creative texts seems to come naturally. She thoroughly enjoys this and she knows that she would like to take this forward with her in her future career whatever that may be.