Bullying

I remember my first bully. She lived a few doors down, and for some reason, just hated me the second I moved in the neighborhood. It created some really awkward moments in the neighborhood. Most afternoons, a bunch of neighborhood kids would come to my house to play basketball or wall-ball (does ANYONE remember wall-ball??), but sometimes this bully would tell some kids not to come to my house or else they won’t be “cool” anymore. This bully was considered a “cool” kid back in the day, so no one wanted to get on her bad side. Honestly, it really hurt that I was being isolated when I never did anything to her.

Well, it started to escalate in middle school. In middle school, they combined the bus stop to where it was at her house, and at some points, I’d watch from my house until the bus was in sight and I’d RUN to the stop to make sure I got on the bus. I just figured not being at the stop was the best thing I could do to avoid being hurt. Well, one year, I had a huge project to bring to school (yay science fair), so I had to take my time to get to the stop. When I got there, I dropped my backpack full of books on the sidewalk and sort of stared at the ground. Next thing you know, a neighborhood kid ran up to me, took my backpack and plopped it in the bully’s yard. I didn’t think it was a big deal  until I picked up my backpack. He put my backpack in a pile of dog surprises. The bully then told me that this would teach me that I don’t belong at HER bus stop. I’ll never forget how much the kids made fun of me on the bus ride to school. I can’t say I don’t blame them. I smelled like crap to them. The usual 5 minute ride from the bus stop to the school felt like an eternity, and the 20 minutes I spent in the bathroom cleaning and drying my backpack was a much larger pill to swallow. I ended up with a ::fun:: nickname after that day that didn’t really go away until high school.

I also remember another bully in high school. He hated how fat I was, so he made it a point to tell me how fat I was everytime he saw me. I was able to try to ignore this guy, because I had my friends in school to hang out with and they would cheer me up afterwards. However, after school during the usual rush to the bus, he screamed “Hey Fat (insert last name)…I got something for you!” So, stupid me. I walked towards him. He then decided that the “something” would be a huge wad of spit on my jacket. Well, actually it was my Dad’s jacket that I accidentally took that morning in a rush. I got spit on for no reason. So, I ended up sneaking the jacket in the washing machine before my Dad knew about it. My thoughts leaned towards worrying that my Dad would be mad that I got his jacket spit on. I don’t think I ever told my Dad about that day, but in hindsight, if I told my Dad, I know the jacket wouldn’t have been on his mind at all.

Bullying sucks. I know it first hand. I never was a popular kid in school. Sure, I had a few friends, but most of the popular girls and almost all boys weren’t very nice to me. I was a class A dork: frizzy hair, glasses, fat, band dork, smart. I guess I was a moving target for the bullies, and boy oh boy, did they strike!

It’s been about 10 years since I graduated from high school. Since I left the bullies. The bullies never followed me to college. I guess bullies didn’t belong in college, and I was thankful for that. I actually sort of forgot about the bullies until last week. Last week, one of those bullies tried to add me on Facebook.

Of course, a good chunk of those bad memories came back. The taunting…the jokes…the pranks. It’s amazing how much I remember, and how much I tear up just thinking about it. I’m just relieved that those bullies aren’t a part of my life anymore, and I’m surrounded by amazing people who really make me happy. :-) Oh, and no…that bully is NOT my friend on Facebook. I guess I hold a grudge…

As much as bullying sucks though, I think I have to thank those bullies. Those bullies made me a nicer person. They made me realize just how much words and actions can really hurt. Now, I’m not perfect…I do get snarky, but overall, I’d like to think that I’m a nice person. Bullies also made me realize how amazing friendships and family are. Whenever a bully pushed me down (verbally, physically, however), my friends and family were there. I could hide in my group of friends and have a good cry over it. I know they would always be there for me when things got tough, and for that, I’m so thankful for them. I was never a depressed person, but I know that without my friends, I probably wouldn’t be who I am today or where I am today. So, my friends/family (you know who you are), thank you so much. Thanks for the hugs, the kleenex and the after-school bike rides to the Icee store. :-)

Did you have bullies in school? Do you think you’re a different person because of them?

Comments

  1. I was bullied in middle school and high school, but of a different nature than yours. I was sexually harassed on a daily basis. In middle school, a young man would grab my butt every day. He made it a point to do so. And his locker being next to mine made me a target. I started carrying every single book I needed all day long (which gave me awesome back problems), just so I didn’t have to go near him. When I reported him, I was told he was developmentally slow and not to take it personally. (Yeah, great school management there.)

    In high school, I was a walking target. I’d get groped just walking along the halls. It was humiliating and degrading. I was a piece of meat. Bad face, but boobs good enough to grab apparently. I started to wear baggy clothes and shrink from anyone touching me, ever. It’s a habit I still have. My first instinct is still to make myself smaller and invisible. The high school sent me to counseling. That was there solution. Nothing was done to the kids that touched me. Why? Well, because they were the basketball and football team, of course. And me? I was little ol’ nothing.

    I felt so small and insignificant. I wish I had stood up for myself more back then. I wish I had thought I was worth more. Worth standing up for and all I can hope is that my son grows up knowing he’s always worth it.

  2. I had a similar experience. I wrote a column about it for my local paper over a year ago. I re-posted it on my blog the other day.

    http://fatthenfitnow.wordpress.com/2011/04/02/bullying-and-childhood-obesity/

    Joe

  3. This is a great post – thank you for sharing. I had a bully on my school bus too. It wasn’t that bad, but I still remember how she used to tease me and whenever I go home to visit my parents I think of her at least once when I drive by the house where she lived. It’s amazing how those things stick with you…

    I’m glad you ignored the bully on Facebook! No need to add that crap to your life.

  4. Oh wow, thank you for sharing this my dear. It breaks my heart that anyone has to go through bullying. Why must people be so cruel?

    This comes at such an interesting time. I live across the street from a middle school, and on Monday when I got home from work I had to have a police escort into our complex, because the road was completely blocked off by the police. When I turned on the news, I found out that a 7th grader had stabbed a student resource officer in the stomach. Apparently, he had been getting bullied by kids constantly for wearing his Boy Scouts uniform, and he had brought 16oz bottles of gasoline in a duffel bag to threaten these boys with. When he went to hide the bag, the officer walked into the bathroom and caught him, and apparently the response was to stab him? Anyway…all I can think about is HOW IN THE WORLD did it get to this point for this boy…that he would bring gasoline bottles to school to threaten his bullies with? Did this boy not have the support of friends and family? It breaks my little heart to think that he felt the need to go to those lengths…and now he’s in juvenile detention.

  5. I know I am so, so late to this…but just wanted to say how sorry I am that you had to go through this!

    Did you end up saying anything to the person that had the audacity to send you a friend request? I would love to see you put him/her in their place!

    • No, I was a wuss haha. I friended them to see if they ended up being a bum and quickly unfriended after that.

      For the record, from his profile, he seems like he ended up being a lazy bum. :-P

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