Bullied before it was "mainstream"

Hey, I am 23 years old now, but I remember being bullied quite extremely verbally and some physically when I was little. It got really bad in 4th grade.

I was the youngest and smallest in my class. I always got picked on, and to top it off I was nerdy (I really liked books, and still do). I also wore glasses and during that time the style was the big round frames. I cried easily, I was very sensitive. So I was basically your classic target to be picked on.

I remember on girl in particular would torture me in my 4th grade class. Over the years I was called, "Freaky Four Eyes", "Nerd", "Geek" and every name in the book. The insults got more creative and personal as I got older.

4th grade was when the physical bullying started I was getting punched in the stomach, hit in the head with chairs, and lots of the usual pushed around. I always told my parents what was happening, and my older sister went to my school and saw it too. My parents talked to the teachers, and the principal and nothing was ever really done.

The final straw was one day my dad dropped me off at school, and he saw a girl spit a candy cane that had been in her mouth into my face. My parents had enough, and they pulled me out of public school.

My mother worked at a Christian school, so to go there you had to take a placement exam. I repeated 4th grade to go there, and that was the best thing that my parents ever did for me.

 My first 2 years there I was bullied a little, but because the classes were so much smaller the incidents could be isolated and stopped before they escalated too far. Then in 5th grade I will never forget. My mom had just had a conference with my teacher about the bullying. I still cried very easily. My mom just looked at me and she told me straight up, "You need to toughen up and grow a thicker skin, or these kids will never leave you alone." And she was right.

That's when I realized my sarcastic sense of humor could be a shield. I still use it to this day. It helped me get through school a lot, and kids began to leave me alone once I stopped reacting the way they wanted me to.

I will admit, at times I did bully a kid or 2. I even bullied a kid 2 years ahead of me in. What's ironic is I am now friends with that person, and so much more. The other kids I did bully I apologized to them. It was in 8th grade that I did that, and I realized I didn't like who I was becoming.

Through high school I decided to be nice to everyone, and I sat with the so called "outcasts" at lunch. I became their friend. I remembered what it was like to be in their position, so I basically exiled myself from the popular crowd at school.

I remember my senior year I got the biggest shock of my life. At homecoming I was so sure the popular mean girl was going to get Homecoming Queen. She had always won court princess and all that other stuff. BUT because I had been nice to all the underclassmen, and everyone else. I had been voted the Queen over the mean girl.

I am so thankful to my parents for doing something when the school wouldn't. Private school didn't fix all of my problems. I had to learn to stand up for myself, and grow a backbone. I did, and I was one of the lucky ones. My life wasn't perfect the popular kids still liked to pick on me, but I learned what I was worth. And I didn't let those kids define who I was.

Its funny because 5 years after high school, I am now friends with one of my biggest tormentors at the private school. For the kids still in school please remember something. There is life outside of high school, and no one in the real world cares who you were then. Your time to be who you want to be will come. I know school can be the worst place on Earth, but there is life after it, and it is an amazing adventure. So hang in there, and don't give up. :)

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