Migraine Survivor kirjan toinen kappale kuvaa Jyrkin ensimmäisiä kouluvuosia. Meno oli hyvin toisenlaista kuin nykyisin kouluissa mitä tulee opettajiin. Koulukiusaamista sen sijaan on tänäkin päivänä kouluissa runsaasti. Nykyisin tuosta ongelmasta uskalletaan puhua huomattavasti aiemmin kuin 80-luvulla. Silloin asiasta ei puhuttu puolta sanaa. Antoisia lukuhetkiä.

Migraine Survivor, chapter two. School from Hell

I went to school when I was six years old, starting from so called pre-school. I couldn’t wait to go there because I wanted to know how to read and write. I was keen on learning new things, new languages, especially English. All my dreams were about the world laying outside our small isolated island.

Our tiny village school was about one kilometer away from my home. There hardly were about 20 pupils during all six years I was attending it. The only teacher working there was a middle-aged lady. She almost never smiled and laughed, but on those rare occasions when she did it, you could see that her eyes stayed cold. There was something very dark hidden in that person.

I was eager to start the school, but unfortunately, the harsh reality of school life cooled down my enthusiasm pretty quickly. Main reason was exactly that teacher. First of all, I have to say that my mom was an excellent cook. I always ate everything she made with a big pleasure and wanted more, but the school food was totally different. Even the potatoes tasted like tennis balls. I never understood how the heck they could screw up such a simple dish like potatoes, boiled potatoes. They were totally, utterly disgusting, no taste whatsoever. I tried all school food looking for something eatable. I found some, but not too many dishes. Of course, I didn’t complain, just decided not to eat what I didn’t like. Natural solution, isn’t it? Not for our teacher.

If you didn’t want to eat some dish, our teacher came and started yelling very loudly saying harsh words like “You stupid kid, you have to eat because there’s hunger in Africa.” Come on, what does it have to do with me eating? Next thing after that, if you didn’t start to eat, you would find your teacher’s left hand on your neck while she took your fork or spoon into her right hand. She was shoveling that disgusting food to your mouth by force until you eat everything.

First weeks I was in shock each time she did it. I remember how I was shocked, how I was crying during first times it happened. I didn’t anything like that when I went to school. But crying didn’t bring any compassion from the teacher’s side. She just kept going on and I end up basically eating my vomit, because especially to liver casserole, I got a vomiting reaction. So, I was eating my own vomit, spiced with the nasty food. I felt like I’m going to suffocate. Oh boy, I hated it, and ever since, after that school, those six years of first classes, I have never put liver casserole into my mouth. And that is one of many dishes I can’t stand since those times. I never eat them. I never even look at them because they are disgusting for me.

This terrifying tyrant teacher was feeding us by force all the time, always yelling, “You are ungrateful brat. You have to eat because there’s hunger in Africa.” I don’t think she was really worried about people starving in Africa. She simply enjoyed power over us and did not like children at all. At the same time, as subsequent events showed, she perfectly understood the unacceptability of her actions.

Pretty soon all of us learned how to hide the food which we didn’t want to eat. We used all the tricks to get rid of it and pretend we ate it. We even marked the plate the way that it would look that we had eaten everything from the plate. Eventually it worked pretty well, but not always. Time to time I still had to eat bad dishes and eat my vomit, and I really hated that.

If you face such terror and violence, there are two options. You either fight back or you run away. I couldn’t skip the school and couldn’t really fight being a child. So, I kept on resisting the way I could. I stopped crying very quickly. I stopped showing emotions to the teacher. I still ate vomit pretty regular because the food in the school was bad. And I really hated that teacher but after those very first weeks, I swore to myself that I will never cry in front of her. I will never show that I’m terrified or scared of her. I will never give her a pleasure to see that I fear.

Our teacher even had a nerve to call my mother and say she was kind of worried that I wasn’t eating much at school, ad asking how I was eating at home. My mom answered that I was eating at home very well, literally everything what was on my plate and usually asking for more. I heard this about this call many years later, when I could laugh about it. But it is still difficult for me to believe that our teacher really cared about children.

She always was impatient and couldn’t stand any of our mistakes. If you made even a small mistake, you always get at least terrible shouting like, “You are stupid kid. You are useless farmer’s boy.” That was her normal behavior towards me, and especially those who were farmers’ kids. She also liked to pull our hairs when she thought we were behaving badly. She took your hairs into her fist and pulled so roughly, that some of your hair stayed in her hand. I remember how it hurts. It was painful, it was terrible. She dragged us like a sack of potatoes. Sometimes she forced us to stand in the corner and be quiet if we made some bad thing. That’s the kind of teacher we had at school.

Things are Changing

The only time she actually started behaving more normally, was when I was at the sixth grade, and that was the final year before junior high school. We had a wonderful university student who came to help at school, and that year our teacher’s behavior magically changed. There was no more forced feeding, no more pulling students’ hairs, and many other things were also gone. But when that student wasn’t around, she again was same old, usual, nasty piece of work tyrant teacher who had been torturing us for years. That university student was great, and I enjoyed talking with him and all the other kids too, because he was normal, he was kind, he was helpful. He actually knew how to teach, unlike our teacher.

Another bad thing that school tyrant did to me had an impact on my later life. I was a left-handed person, but she forced me to use only my right hand. It was very difficult to me, but she didn’t give me any choice. So my writing was totally miserable. It was and still is like chaos. Besides, it led to more shouting at me from the teacher who berated me each day saying ‘your writing is total piece of shit, you’re stupid, arrogant piece of shit little boy. Can’t do anything right.’ Of course, it didn’t help me to improve anything, nor my writing skill, no general studying. Retraining for using only my right hand had an impact on my learning, in some ways at least. I struggled with some disciplines. But there were few subjects I liked pretty much, like geography, biology, English language of course, my favorite. Those were very nice subjects, and I still like them.

And history. History was the only thing I absolutely adored. I remember I was nine or 10 years old, when I found my sister’s history textbook. She was junior high at that moment, and there were stories about World War I and World War II. When I spotted that book, I read it from cover to cover, practically in one day. I was so keen on it that I read that book each and every day for pretty long time. Then I started to borrow from the library all the history books I could get. Pretty quickly librarians limited the number of books for me. They were giving me only one book at a time, because they couldn’t believe I was reading all of them.

During the sixth grade, I realized that I have no friends or even acquaintances among those who go to the seventh-grade next year like me. From my older brothers I heard lots of horror stories about junior high school. Despite my older sister never told such stories, my brothers kept on telling me how young students at the junior high were treated very badly and violently. They said, you easily could end up in a toilet and somebody takes you and force your head to the toilet bin and wash your head with toilet water. This and other ugly stories were terrifying. But although I felt nervous, I had a couple of advantages.

By this point I have already decided that I have had enough bullying. I was fed up with our teacher’s cruel and rude behavior, so I was not going to face any more bullying from anybody. So, at sixth grade I started lifting weights. My dad made me a barbell and dumbbells and we had a bench, so I started to do bench press and squats and some other movements. I didn’t know much about it or what the hell I was doing, but I was doing it anyway. I wanted to get big, strong body that nobody would dare to bully me. So, I had been lifting weights almost every day. Besides, I was running, I was cycling, swimming, and on wintertime I was skiing.

And there was also a second advantage. Actually, I knew two boys from junior high. They lived in my village and were one and two years older than me. But I still was scared, I must say. I felt insecure as my self-confidence wasn’t very high. So, what did I do? I joined our local football club, just to get to know other kids of my age and well, I wanted to play football anyway. We were playing and training several times per week. It was fun. That is how I met a number of other boys of my age and a bit older as well. That was cool. What was even cooler is that we became friends with one boy who was same age as me. And with all this I went to the seventh grade.