“She’s so weird”
“Why is she so ugly?”
“Who would want to talk to her?”
“Are you contagious?”
This doesn’t even begin to touch the words that I would hear on a daily bases. While most people were excited about the first day of school, plotting their new outfits, or excited to reunite with old friends and make new ones, the beginning of the school year was always just the first day to a 180 day nightmare I would live every day at school.
Things started at a young age, as far back as second grade. I can remember the teacher having to move my desk next to hers so that no one else could pick on me after a boy pulled my chair out from under me just to see me cry. I can remember in middle school, walking down hallways and having to walk over legs being stuck out to trip me, or dodge objects like wet paper towels, pencils, and pennies being thrown at me. During my seventh grade year when my purse got missing and the janitor had to retrieve my purse from the car port where the buses were parked so I could use my key to get in the house that afternoon. In High School, girls would go up to guys, point to me and tell them I wanted their number, and I would have to act like I didn’t see the face or hear the comments of disgust the guy would make, and the laughter of the reaction. During my Sophomore year I remember while I was in the bathroom, the lights went out and I was terrified, thinking that I was about to be jumped. Upon emerging from the bathroom, I came to the realization that it was just a group of kids waiting outside the door to point and laugh at me. These are just a few accounts of the everyday acts of bullying that I would have to deal with every single school day.
I’ve always kept quiet about the bullying that I went through during my school days to my family and friends outside of the school. I often thought of those places as my get away. The only people who truly knew what I was going through are the friends of mine that I was in school with that saw me go through these things every day. I had a best friend and a guy that I was dating at other schools but I never told them anything about the everyday battle I had. At that age I knew that your opinions can change according to the company that you keep. I loved the person they saw me as and I didn’t want to change that, and I was very thankful that other kids couldn’t change that either. I certainly didn’t tell my parents because that last thing I needed was for one or both of them to come up to the school and make a scene, and that become the topic of the week and yet another thing for me to have to deal with once they left.
I can say that halfway through High School and towards graduation, school life got a lot easier. Once these people got to know me, they began to like me and the bullying came less and less. By my Junior year of High School, I had enough and started standing up for myself, putting bullies in their place and letting them know that I was not taking it anymore. I would let a teacher know after class if a person was bothering me during the lesson. In the halls and after school, I would finally shoot back at the names and comments being made. I thought if I ended up in a fight as a result, I’m going down punching. I had remained quiet for so long, after they saw that I was finally taking up for myself, they seemed to back off. After a couple of conversations with me, a few even became my friend. Later on, thanks to Facebook and other social media, I have actually had a few people that have, as adults, reached out to me and apologized to me for the way they treated me during those school years and stated that they admired my courage, and how it didn’t seem to let it bother me.
One great lesson that I have learned from being bullied every day is how to be strong in situations where you feel like you are at your worst. My sister went through some forms of bullying at one point and she told me something at a young age that I could carry with me even into my adult life. Her advice was this:
“The things they say may hurt you, tear you down and even lead you to tears, but the words that hurt worst are the ones that you believe are true.”