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?