becoming a self in history, becoming a self in my street

Carole Fulton

When Carole went to Art School she became involved with a group of friends who bullied one of the other students. The bullying was initiated by one woman in the group. Unexpectedly, when this had been going on for two years, Carole was advised by a tutor to go to the very woman who was being bullied for help in writing her dissertation. This she did. This woman then helped her with her work as if there had never been any problem. Furthermore, she helped her in a very caring and useful way. This made Carole go back to her friends and tell them how she had been helped by the very person they had so demonised. As a result she lost a lot of her old friends but she became close to her new friend. This friendship continued long after they had been to art school and meant a lot to them both. Years later this friend asked Carole what it was about her that had made the students bully her. Carole explained that she herself had had no problems with her at all; she had just gone along with the crowd. Her reason for doing this, she explained, was that she had never had friends at school and that now she was at art school she just couldn’t cope with being an outsider again. Added to this, she said, she had found her new friend very open. She, on the other hand, was keeping a tight rein on what she revealed of herself. She had avoided her not only to fit in with the other students, but because she was afraid that being close to her meant that she too would open up and make herself more vulnerable to judgement. Carole said that she still feels ashamed about what she allowed to happen in her bid to fit in and belong. She then became very passionate and said, ‘I can never forget what I did and I don’t want to because it helps me to remember not to do that again.’