Name and Twitter handle?
Charlotte ‘Chaz’ Conopo / @BlueBerriMoon
Where were you born?
Which part of the world are you in now?
What’s your favourite video game of all time?
Legend of Zelda Majora’s Mask- it’s that amazing I have the mask tattooed on my foot!
What was the last game you enjoyed and why?
Pokemon White 2- because it was (and very embarrassingly) the first Pokemon game I finished!
Can you describe some of the bullying you experienced?
The bullying was more mental than physical. It was happening in secondary school, when I was having to go through my parents divorcing in 2001. What made it worse was that people found out that my Dad was gay so I got a lot of names called because of him coming out. Being gay at that time was shocking and frowned upon by some so I had to deal with major family issues at home, with surrounding family members and who I thought was my best friend decided to blurt this information out. It started a few years of feeling worthless, helpless and eventually suicidal. Also because I was a student who kept their uniform neat and actually did work in class, people decided that I would be perfect for their ‘abuse’. After dealing with that, I still got bullied by people for unknown reasons. Some friends decided to turn on me because I wouldn’t hang out with them, so it wasn’t until I left for college that I actually felt like I could be myself without being judged. I had no self confidence either as people at school called me the usual names of ‘ugly and ‘fat’, which then moved on to just taking the mick out of my surname and other things.
When did you manage the bullying?
ASAP. I started seeing a councilor in school hours a few months after starting secondary school and the bullying began. I told my tutor about what was happening, and then he forwarded me to a group within the school grounds. I went there every week just to talk about how things were at home, but that quickly ended when my councilor got a job far away. My next tactic was actually playing computer games when I got home. I didn’t trust anyone with my problems so playing a game removed me from the real world to another where I felt safe.
What effect do you think bullying had on you?
The bullying made me very paranoid of others opinions about me, my actions and bought out the feelings of suicide so many times. I felt alone, unsafe, insecure, worried and useless. It also made me feel like I couldn’t trust anyone at all.
What do you do now?
After graduating in Concept Design from Staffordshire University, I’m now working for Dojit Games.
How is your life better now?
Apart from graduating, I’ve moved out, found myself someone who loves me for who I am and I’m surrounded by family and friends who support me.
Did you think your life was ever going to be this good?
What would you like to say to a youngster thinking about getting into video games who is experiencing bullying right now?
Keep strong. It might sound strange but playing your favourite game and making up stories helped me cope. I used to sit and play Legend of Zelda for so many hours making up my own adventures just to forget what happened at school. You will discover who your true friends are if they stick by you through thick and thin. Also it might sound like a bad idea but report the bullying to someone you can trust. Being bullied is horrible and scary especially if it happens every day. No one deserves to be bullied and those who bully will get their comeuppance one day. That’s karma for you.