First of all, excuse my crappy english. Not my first language!
The bullying started when I was 12 or 13, I think. I’ve always been an insecure, shy perspon. It’s who I am and something I cannot change about myself, no matter how hard I tried.. so high school was… hell. It really was. I suppose the first two years weren’t too bad when I compare them to later years to be honest. There would be the occasional name calling like ugly, fat, stupid, nerd, geek. You know, things like that. They made a habit out of hiding my stuff after gym class.
I was what people would call an ‘easy target’. Too scared to stand up for myself, afraid of people’s reactions. But you know, I was shy, I don’t make friends easily so it wasn’t easy for me to fit in with the rest. Most of the time I would blame myself, I really felt like it was all my fault. Some days I thought that if I ‘tried harder to fit in’ people would like me more so I started acting differently but in the end it didn’t matter. I would always be their easy target.
I changed schools when I was 15, I couldn’t handle the name calling anymore so I begged my mom to let me make the switch. That was something that took a long time for her to agree on. During that summer, I was convinced everything was going to change. Things would get better. New year, new group, new friends, new start.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
That new school & my group turned out to be even worse than my previous school. The thing you have to know is that I went there to study hairdressing. I ended up in a group of a lot of pretty girls who are not afraid to speak their mind. Then there was awkward, shy me, a girl who had no idea what to do with her life and got herself talked into choosing hairdressing as her main subject. At the time it felt right, but I think I realized very early on that I would never truly fit in with these girls. They were the kind of girls who went out a lot, who had a different boyfriend every week, they had no speaking filter whatsoever. They did what they wanted and were not afraid to speak up to teachers. On top of all that, they were pretty girls. I mean, we were future hairdressers so a lot of those girls spent 99% of the day in front of their mirrors fixing their hair and make-up. I wasn’t pretty, or skinny. So that alone made me stand out from them. There was not a single person I really got along with. I’m actually easy to talk to, but I will not take the first step into getting to know a person when I’m not comfortable around them.
My socially awkwardness kept me from making friends, and I really hated that. I have this really annoying filter in my head which always makes me think a couple of times before actually saying something, and most of the times I can’t even come up with a witty response. So when people would laugh at me or say something awful about me, I couldn’t even come up with anything to say. It wouldn’t be until ages after I got home that I would think of something and be all like ‘Oh I should have said this or that. That would’ve shut her up’.
There was this one girl in particular who always made me look bad. Let’s call her A. Okay so A. would call me terrible, terrible names. Not just in private, but in front of our class and in front of our teachers. She even yelled things at me while we were on both opposite sides of the hallways. A. was constantly humiliating and making fun of me. The rest of our class didn’t really know how to react when the bullying first started, they just kind of went along with it and never really reached out to me or stood up for me. It didn’t take long before she had the entire group working together to make my life a living hell. I remember us having these water sprays and she’d actually pour water over my head. Nobody wanted to work with me when we were allowed to work in pairs or groups, I was forever the last choice. I always ended up sitting alone. They would throw stuff at me, I got hit in the head with water bottles several times. They would steal things from teachers & students and hide them in my locker/bag so I would be punished, they would steal stuff from me (mostly hairdressing supplies).. I had clothes stolen, one time A. actually tried to take my backpack with her but I caught her just in time. Hiding my stuff was a daily activity for them. It pissed me off so bad but there never was any proof strong enough for teachers to call them out, even though they believed me. There just wasn’t much they could do. All of this happened when I was about 15 or 16 years old and are just a few examples of the things I had to endure, really. There was so, so much more.
What I hated most of all, is the fact that I was afraid to speak up. I was not courageous, not at all. I had a very low self-esteem and just tried to make myself invisible. Some of the girls were violent. They weren’t afraid to throw a punch, I’m pretty sure I’ve witnessed more fights than I can count on my fingers when I was in High School. So I was afraid. Afraid because I knew what they were capable of. One time, a girl got in between a fight and received a punch in her face that broke her nose. Several people showed up to class with black eyes. One girl even ended up in the hospital. Yeah, I was terrified.
There was this one time when I actually found the courage to stand up for myself. It was after they’d done something nasty and I said something back. A. had her fist up my face within seconds, ready to punch me. I was terrified.
I walked around school in constant fear. I also remember one time another girl from my class came up to me, she said she had a message from A. Apparently I had to watch my back because I had done something A. didn’t like and she’d be waiting for me at the school gates with some of her ‘friends’ at the end of the day. She hinted that they would be there to beat me up. Of course I had no idea as to what I had done wrong, probably nothing, they were just messing with me again. I doubted that they would actually be there, but I was so scared, so afraid that I made up an excuse & stayed in school for an extra hour. I wandered around the halls and eventually left, but took a different exit.
Over the years people left and new faces joined our group. Nothing had gotten better. I was still letting my shyness get in the way of communicating with most people in my group. Things went from bad to worse, not physically but mentally.
One time, I got this email from a girl from my class. She didn’t know I recognized her email address but I did (I’m very observant so I knew most of my classmates’ emails even though I never added them on MSN or anything) The email said some horrible things about me, most of which I can’t really remember. There was one sentence though, that up untill this day has never left my thoughts. “The world would be so much better off without you. You’re not worthy of being here”.
Can you ever imagine having a person say this to you? It’s the worst feeling ever. I was at the bottom of everything by then.
I was depressed, or at least that’s how I felt. I felt rejected, misunderstood, not good enough, nobody liked me, I was confused, ashamed, afraid but most of all I was alone. I didn’t understand why nobody liked me. I know I wasn’t really ‘popular’ material.. I was chubby and I was shy. They KNEW they could mess with me and get a good laugh out of it. Sure, it wasn’t like the days went by with me not saying a word to anyone, I talked when people asked me things but that was it. I had no friends. The one friend I had left school at age 17 so I was left alone with no one to talk to, or anyone who understood me.
In the end I spent 5 years with those girls. I still don’t know how I made it through, I really, really don’t. Only during my last year of high school things went slightly better. They seemed to bully me less, but they would still make fun of me though.. just less intensely. A. had left our school by then, so felt a bit relieved, more at ease.
There’s only one girl from our class I talk to regularly these days, she’s one of the few girls who never teased or bullied me which I am grateful for. I don’t blame her for not standing up for me back then. I’m not sure if I would have had the courage to do so if the roles had been reversed. I was weak and I understand that some of them didn’t want to bully me, but went along with it because they were afraid of being bullied themselves. I run into my bullies from time to time these days and they just act like nothing happened. The thing is, to them nothing happened. I’m sure they don’t even remember or realize how bad they made me feel. It was all a big joke to them. I just smile and walk off as soon as I can. I have no desire to talk to them at all.
Now, I’ve never really been bullied for being gay, because I’m straight. People have called me a lesbian though. They thought because I’ve never had a boyfriend I must be lesbian. I just,.. I don’t get it? Oh okay, I must like girls because I never had a boyfriend. Well excuse me for not getting it on with the first random guy I cross paths with like most of those girls in my group did. I have issues, okay? I don’t let people in easily so it takes more than a pretty face to get in my good book.
And even if I were gay, would it matter? We are ALL THE SAME. We’re no different from each other. A person does not deserve to be given crap for liking a person of the same gender. I do not give my brothers crap for liking boys. No, I support them, because I love them and they’re just as much a human beings as we are.They, and all of you, deserve to be treated as equals.
There are SO many people who are being bullied but aren’t telling anyone. People who are afraid to share their story, afraid of what people might say or are just worrying too much about disappointing the ones they love. You shouldn’t. I made the mistake of not telling anyone and it tore me down. I felt like if I would tell people about my problems, they would look at me differently. I hate coming of as weak, even if that’s exactly what I am. To me, telling my parents about my bullying was something that never even crossed my mind, because it would cause the worst feeling ever. I absolutely hate disappointing people. I didn’t want to tell my parents that they had a weak daughter who couldn’t even stand up for herself… So in the end, because of not telling anyone of my problems, I had no one to turn to when I needed it the most. I told myself to suck it up and get through it. I was all alone in this.
So my advice for all of you out there who are being bullied in any way, talk about it. You don’t want to be going through this by yourself, it’s unbearable. Just, take it from me.. even though it’s hard to talk about it, you’ll feel SO much better when you confide in the right person. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. No one should be.
I am now 22 years old. My high school time is long behind me, thankfully. There are still people who talk behind my back, but I’ve learned to look past it. I would be lying though if I said that kind of behavior doesn’t affect me, but I truly believe my high school experience has made me a stronger person. I’m not letting it affect me in the same way as I did back in high school cause then I would be back at 0. I’m still rather shy, but I can socialize a lot better now, mostly because I just wasn’t surrounded by the right people back then. Having the right group of friends really makes a difference.
I’ve learned that I don’t have to care about people who don’t care about me. There used to be a time when I went to school in fear of what they might say or think of me, but that time is behind me. I am who I am and that’s not going to change, no matter what they say or do. I will never make the mistake again of being someone they want me to be. I live by my own rules.
Just remember, if you are different in one way or another.. if you are shy or outgoing, gay or straight, too thin or too thick, too tall or too short, whatever the case may be: DON’T FORGET WHO YOU ARE. Stay true to yourself and don’t let anyone get you down. Show the world you are the stronger person. Just be yourself, you are not alone, IT WILL GET BETTER.
Love is louder.