My name's Elissa. Elissa Hollinrake. Most girls would kill to be popular, to be pretty and well known and adored by everyone in the year. I'm not one of them. But I am well known. Well known for being an easy target for bullies. Well known for having moved schools several times in the past four years. And well known for having a drug addict father and a mother with cancer. My calls for help always fall short, but this time, I'm telling my story to the world.


1. Another Day, Another Battleground.

School. I hate it, loath it even. It is the one thing I can't wait to be shot of. That and my dad. My dad's a junkie- a drug addict. My mum has breast cancer and only has months to live. The diagnosis was what cracked my dad. He couldn't cope with the thought that he was going to lose his beloved wife forever, and turned to drugs. First, it was alcohol, then chain-smoking whatever plant could make him high. His most recent drug habit is pain-killers. This is better than the smoking, but it a huge pain when I've got period pain or a splitting headache after seven hours of torment at school and there's no pain-killers left. My mum and aunt have taken to hiding them from him, but that makes him really moody, and he starts getting violent, so we eventually give them to him.

I know he needs help, but on top of everything else that's wrong with my life, I really don't have time. GCSEs, for starters, are my main worry. I've moved schools so many times since Year 8, I keep falling behind. We've found that we can't stay in one place for too long, because word gets out about my parents. This is bad news for me, and makes one of life's simple things into a daily punishment. School has to be the worst thing that has ever happened to me. Ever.

From an early age, I was bullied. There was never any reason for it, either, which made it that much harder for my parents to explain why the other children didn't want to play with me. Any little thing the other kids could pick on, they would. My glasses, the fact that I'm not Size 0 and that I have curves, or just because I like to read. It hurts, being bullied, but having had sixteen years of torment, you learn to block it quite quickly.

My routine is the same, day in and day out. I wake up on a morning and think 'another day, another battleground'. School is like an assault course. One wrong foot and the bullies descend. It sucks. That's why I chose to be invisible, to stay in the shadows. Life is easier that way for me. I just worry that I will never be accepted. But I guess we'll have to wait and see.

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