The year I turned fourteen, my parents decided that I would return to America to finish high-school. I can't remember ever feeling so happy and full of potential as I did that first night back in America. It was so wonderful to see my younger brother and sister ,then there was the glorious warm shower as well as the xbox and all those tv channels. Because I had taken some college classes, I was promoted straight from the 9th grade to the 11th grade. I was enjoying my time there, becoming more an more social and interacting with the opposite and fortunately, high school was a small, private one. Unfortunately, I also began to experience bullying. The culprit was the de'Facto Italian tough guy, a weightlifter with a full five o' clock shadow at age fifteen. I was a scrawny, African kid short for my age. The first altercation took place in the classroom, while the teacher was present and all the students were seated. For some reason, the bully felt the need to wrap both hands around my neck. Rather than striking him in retaliation I put on an exaggerated display of fear to to get some laughs from the class, yelling "get him off me, get him off me". After what seemed like hours, the teacher broke up the "fight". The offending student went unpunished. Because this guy was in so many of my classes and sat at the same table as my friends and I; I was forced to interact with him and form a kind of grudging friendship. Another factor was the fact that we both used to school bathroom to get ready in the morning. Brushing our teeth and messing with our hair before class. I didn't realize it but this "relationship" was actually just a vehicle for humiliation and bullying. We both liked the same television shows the Boondocks and the Dave Chapelle show. These shows employ racism to get points across or to make jokes. The bully used this to his advantage. We'd be in the middle of class when he'd yell things about black people stealing, etc. At first I thought It was good natured ribbing and played along, but soon it turned to fully blown racist taunting. What's worse is that the entire school seemed to be joining in ( I was one of the few black students). The situation got worse and worse. I had a bottle of water poured on me, I was called a n*gger regularly. Kneed in the groin and told that it was an accident. Had phlegm slapped on my back and intimidated. I'd fought bullies literally twice my size but for some reason I just couldn't fight back. What would my parents think? What about my Christian upbringing? I was graduating soon, what would happen to my little brother? I had allowed the same jerk who had posed no threat to me at the beginning of the year to intimidate and debase me. To the point where I felt so defenseless, so much less than human. I started to stay up late at night playing video games because I was so unhappy with my school situation and began to believe my hair was falling out. Eventually, I started pulling out my own hair and picking my skin in the mirror. I didn't realize it but I was beginning to feel the effects of depression. I started to refuse to go out with friends and to wear hats constantly because I believed that I was going bald. I began to pick every inch of my body. I had dark leopard spots basically everywhere. The bullying culminated in a bloody scuffle a few months later. The boys gym class was changing in the school's locker room when the boy across from me called me a n*gger. I couldn't very well do nothing, so I picked up one of the many steel chairs in the room and half halfheartedly threatened to swing at him when I felt something strike my face. I feel to the ground and started to spit blood. Someone had hit me with a folding chair. The damage? I'd been hit so hard that one of my bottom teeth had torn through the bottom of my lip Begging me not to "tell on him" he explained that he'd been trying to hit the guy next to me and had struck me by accident. I spent the next few days at home, where the wound got infected and I developed a fever. When I returned to school, I was mortified, everyone knew about the event and treated me differently. That year passed and the bullying mellowed to teasing. The bully would mention every know and again how he'd hit me with a chair. I wanted revenge but never acted on those feelings. I went on to graduate and enter college but suffered anxiety problems which only got worse. I suffered from anxiety and low self esteem and pulled by hair until my scalp was raw. Picked my skin until I left myself with a cratered, ugly look to my skin all because I truly felt worthless. Later on, I found out that these practices were the result of obsessive compulsive behavior and started to make serious efforts to curtail them. I've since stopped picking my hair and my face. I started to become more out going, but felt that I was being held back by the scars left on my face. Gradually I became depressed to the point of wanting to kill myself. When I look into the mirror and see my "handiwork" I just feel gutted, knowing that I'll likely have these for the rest of my life. Every look into the mirror at my own face is a reminder of a time that I hated myself enough to want to die. Sometimes its just to much to bear. I think about these events to the point of obsession, thinking if only if only. I dream about them. I reach back in time and attempt to change them and when I wake up, its me standing there. Self inflicted scars and all.