Name: Bernadette Thomas
School: Cochise High School
Hobbies and Interests: Dancing, drawing, painting, romance novels, sewing, walking
Appearance: Bernadette is slightly above average in height at five foot seven, and her weight of one hundred and thirty-four pounds is distributed into a toned but curved shape particularly around the bust and hips. Her skin is only lightly tanned considering the climate, as she burns incredibly easily and takes care to use suntan cream regularly. Her blonde, curly hair is kept deliberately short so that it can be pulled back into a ponytail; a habit from dance classes and long sessions of painting.
Her features are framed within an oval face with a pointed chin, her green almond shaped eyes spaced evenly apart from a long, thin nose. Bernadettes ears are small and fairly rounded at the top, and her mouth, whilst small, looks full being formed of a thinner upper lip with a plumper curved lower lip.
Her style tends to be fairly relaxed to the point that she will wear dungarees and a t-shirt when she knows she will spending most of her day doing crafts, and generally lends towards casual. She does dress up whenever she feels the desire to, but it is the exception rather than the rule; it is usually stockings with a high-necked, sleeveless dress over anything too short or revealing. On the day of the abduction, she was wearing loose dungarees, a plain purple t-shirt and navy sneakers.
Bernadette has no tattoos or body piercings to speak of, and does not wear much jewellery except for two things. The first is a pearl bracelet, which is a family heirloom that she wears almost constantly on her left wrist. The second is a replica Star Sapphire Power Ring, given to her by Tyler that hangs on a silver chain around her neck.
Biography: On 4th March 1997, Megan and Jonathan Thomas newly married childhood sweethearts welcomed Bernadette into the world as their only child. They have been unsuccessful in conceiving since because her mother suffers from endometriosis, which is known for causing fertility problems. Both of her parents had come from single-child families, by design, and so she was doted on by her parents and grandparents from both sides alike. This meant that Megan, who was the breadwinner in the family at the time as the manager at one of the main gaming stores in the town, could return to work quickly. Her father, who only worked part-time at a local hardware store, became Bernadettes primary carer, with her grandparents eagerly stepping in when required.
Aware of the physical difficulties that their daughter might face as she got older, her parents began to do research into what might be something that could be continued if endometriosis developed. They struggled, especially in finding an activity that a child could embrace. When she was three they decided to go to a few places with their daughter and see if anything caught her attention. In the end, it was the visit to one of the local gymnastics and dance academy; a class involving the latter caught Bernadettes attention to the point where she was crying when she was told she had to leave. They signed her up for a few basic classes that day, and she quickly became a regular at the academy, favouring jazz and tap. Her parents have always let her compete in competitions, though they were mindful that she might have to withdraw should endometriosis develop in their daughter.
Bernadette attended service regularly at the local Catholic church with her parents and grandparents from a young age, who were and still are devout Catholics. Their daughter is not as devoted, but she still takes the core of her values and world view from an upbringing centred on the church and its strong sense of community. It was from this community that she started to gain an interest in handicrafts from her fathers attendance at the craft groups and the things he brought home. Though her mother introduced Bernadette to her hobbies from a young age, she never quite took to comic books and superheroes like she did her fathers interests. The intricacies of the needlework, different painting styles and creating something with your own hands resonated with her like learning to dance did.
Up until the age of twelve Bernadette and her parents had shared a home with her maternal grandparents, who did not live far from Jonathans family. Living in such an environment meant that she was equally influenced by her whole familys approach to life, which predominately revolved around being friendly, and not speaking if you only had something unkind to say. Her familiar environments have always been filled with laughter, and supported by a commitment to optimism even when hard at work.
It was around the end of Bernadettes time at middle school that her parents had acquired enough savings to put a deposit down on a home of their own. This led to them moving into a modest three bedroomed house with a garden, which was a few streets away from her maternal grandparents in the summer before she started high school
Over these years Bernadette spent her free time between dancing, volunteering at the church, mainly with decorating and tidying, practising her crafts with her father, and going over to friends houses. She also, from the age of thirteen, occasionally went to her mothers shop to spend the day and helped out with permission from the owner, which she still does to this very day. It was also around this time that she accidentally came across her mother's stash of trashy romance novels. She quickly fell in love with their linear plots and happy endings, and began to read every one she could get her hands on.
Throughout elementary and middle school Bernadette proved herself a good student, particularly in the creative subjects, because of her extracurricular interest, averaging out in a B grade across the board. She was not much of a reader unless it was to do with her hobbies, but she did all her homework diligently and without too much complaint. She was friendly and kind, making friends easily, and a few lifelong friendships were established during these years. This was also the time she first experienced observing bullying. She always stepped in when she saw someone being bullied that was not standing up for themselves which was a trend that would carry throughout her school years.
Academically and socially, things continued very much at the same agreeable level and pace when Bernadette started high school. She joined the art club, textiles, the backstage team of the theatre club, and the dance team and loved the atmosphere that allowed her to interact with so many new and different people. However, it became obvious that there were subjects that Bernadette did not apply herself in. She preferred hands-on lessons, while more lecture-based subjects proved difficult. In particular, she struggled with history and the sciences.
The one thing she really did not like about high school was her perception of the scale of bullying, which spurred her to join the anti-bullying committee early in her sophomore year. This participation emboldened her to speak out on a regular basis, though her efforts generally went no further beyond getting the bully to back off or, if that did not work, removing the victim from the situation and making sure they were okay.
It was when puberty hit that Bernadette experienced her first true challenge in life. Preceding her first period, there was incredible pain and she had her first notable absence from school; three days in a row. Her parents were immediately concerned, and once she had recovered they took her to see the doctor who, considering the family history, recommended that their daughter start taking the contraceptive pill to combat the worse effects that might arise, despite the fact that they could not confirm her parents concerns without surgery.
Endometriosis, her mother explained to her when they returned home, was an illness where the cells of the lining of the womb can be found outside of it. This meant that when hormones fluctuated, or when she bled during her period, that difficulty and severe pain could be caused as bleeding occurred in places where there was nowhere for the blood to go. It could affect levels of energy, a bad diet could worsen it, and there may be other symptoms such as extreme mood swings on top of the pain and discomfort.
The pill did its job, although Bernadettes periods still caused her to have one or two days off from school each month at first. It did not take long for her to expect and plan for the pain, taking over the counter painkillers as needed. Socially, it was not a problem as Bernadette often dragged herself out to events that she had promised to go to and kept the circle of those who knew about her condition small and mostly family, though it included Clarice Halwood - who had been her best friend since middle school.
Bernadette continued as normal for a few years, including the intensive dance classes. It was during this time that she had frequent fights with her parents, arguing that she knew what she could manage, but slowly it took its toll. Halfway through the summer between grades ten and eleven she was forced to dial down her commitment to dance, and she was also forced to stop her more physical acts of volunteering for the church. Whilst this improved the bouts of pain and exhaustion that had come from her stubbornness, it had an incredibly negative effect on her mentality. Bernadette had gone from a very physically active young woman to someone who had to constantly monitor her physicality, and take tablets on a daily basis.
This frustration did not result in more conflict at home, as Bernadette refused to have further fights with her parents revolving around her condition. Instead, she looked for another outlet, and found one via her characteristic intervention in bullying incidents. Now she actively attacked, verbally, the bully in question for their behaviour though her barbs never became physical. There were numerous targets for these attacks, one of the most notable and frequent being Tyler Yazzie, though Bernadette made numerous enemies during those eight months.
It was a cathartic act, but it did not fix the problems that were at its base and it became a problem in itself after a verbally explosive argument between her and Tyler. In the end he had just walked away, rather than escalating. This left Bernadette feeling bereft of the release of the frustration that she needed. She was also the one who got approached by the teacher who had overheard the tail end of their fight.
Her parents, once informed, acted to find things that Bernadette enjoyed and that relaxed her to fill the time hole. She began to visit her grandparents on a weekly basis, helping around their home, and practised her handicrafts by herself, finding calm in techniques that she knew by heart. Her father also introduced her to a beginners painting class outside of school for another pastime to occupy her mind, and she began to carry around a small sketchbook to doodle whenever the frustration began to get too much at school. Her mother also began to spend time with her at a home laughing about the trashy novels that they enjoyed.
Her style, in regards to art in general, tended towards the traditional. Her sewing pieces were animals and flowers, whereas her painting and drawing were more expressive; a more direct way of getting out her emotions, though she did quite enjoy still life from her classes. Taking walks also became a regular thing during school hours rather than confront bullies aggressively on a daily basis. It was during one such walk that she overexerted herself by powerwalking two laps of the schools field, and ended up leaning against a wall near the gym for support when Tyler Yazzie came across her.
To her surprise he asked if he could help and by the end of the conversation Bernadette actually felt better physically because of his assistance with giving her medication, but more notably emotionally. He, contrary to her belief, had put aside any ire that he might have felt for her to help her like a decent person, rather than mocking her difficulty. They talked about why they had fought so heatedly, and when she suggested that they try being friends instead he agreed.
It was just like before, but instead of yelling at him, they spent a lot of time together learning about each others interests and each other in general, particularly over the summer between grades eleven and twelve. She marvelled at the change in him, how much calmer he seemed these days, and at how less frustrated she herself had become about her condition as a result of their friendship. Tyler never made her feel weak despite his awareness that she was ill, but instead made her feel strong for battling through adversity. She thinks of him as a symbol of inspiration, especially after coming to terms with the truth of his home life, and the way he had been raised to believe that the weak should stay down. The ignorance to the meaning with which he originally gave her the Star Sapphire Power Ring only cemented her belief that he was, at heart, a good person who really wanted to try and be better than he had been before. This was something she tried to show that she saw in him with her gift to him of a Blue Power Ring, from the group who relied on hope for their strength.
It became a friendship that, less than a month into the new term, is turning into a blossoming romantic relationship, and she has begun to take a casual interest in wrestling, attending his practices and some matches when she can. Her role in the backstage crew with the theatre club is much more involved than it used to be, and she is a quieter but still visible member of the anti-bullying committee. She also still exercises regularly, though to nowhere near the same extent she did whilst she was actively involved in dancing.
Bernadette has not applied to any colleges, and plans to get a job directly out of high school and try and make a living from making and selling her handicrafts.
Advantages: Bernadette has many good friends in Cochise, creating a wealth of allies to draw from in adverse situations. She is also willing to stand her ground, which may work to her advantage against weak-willed people seeking to take advantage of others, especially as she does not immediately come across as a threat at first glance.
Disadvantages: Although in reasonably good shape Bernadettes illness can flare up. The pain, caused by bursts of intense exertion and emotional upheaval, would cause immediate problems that need to be medicated. Without the methods she uses to deal with her frustration, Bernadettes difficulty processing this could put strain on tense situations and sabotage potential alliances. Finally, her period of deliberately antagonising bullies has gained her a few enemies that might take advantage of a situation in which they can get back at her with little to no repercussions.
Hey Ime! I'll be critiquing Bernadette for you! She's looking pretty good right now but is Denied as there are a couple of details that require expansion.
What drove Bernadette to step in to help people being bullied? I ask because it appears to be a major part of her character and personality but there doesn't seem to be any reason given as to why.
When Bernadette became more active in the bullying incidents she got involved with did this lead to any response from the school? As in my experience normally if there's a shouting match both people can be punished for it.
That's literally it though, so post back here when you have those done and I'll take another look at Bernadette for you!