Being born a little before the word ''Bullying'' was described as a social problem, kids like me did have a hard time. It was back in the 90s when little was known about this (at least in my country) about the whole huge thing that bullying involves. If we happened to go and tell an adult that some kids at school called us names or threatened to hurt us physically, most of them would let it slip and say ''It's kids stuff, love'' or something along those lines. I was also told, by a teacher, that providing that maybe I was unlucky to be more mature than the rest of my classmates, I would have to either be like them or accept that my life was going to be rough. I think you're kind of getting an idea now of how it was like.
I had always been a lively kid. I was never told otherwhise. I made my parents happy and proud, teachers were happy with my behaviour and I thought that I had friends who liked me. Mistaken as I was, those kids did not want anything but harm and unhappiness to me, and yes, some kids think this way, whatever the reason may be. Before they really showed their intentions directly to me, they had bullied another girl in class. I defended her, argumenting that there was not reason why she should be an outsider. Same with my gay best friend. It was the begging of it all. If I was not loved by my classmates, I was back then hated for standing up for the victims (I would do that again even if I knew the consequences). I was 8 years old by then and it continued until I was 17 and finished high school. Everyday, the moment I crossed the threshold of my class, that group, THAT group, stared at me, threw things at me, called me a monster, a hideous being, shouting that I was disgusting and that I would never be loved by anyone. And they would always point out that I had a weight problem. Well, they never said a weight problem, they called me fat, whale, cow, chubby, fat bag. They talked about my hair, my acne, my clothes. Everything was a reason to make me feel bad with my self... Sometimes I wanted to kill myself, others I wanted to kill them. My brain wasn't working properly anymore, I couldn't physically bear to wear anything that wasn't black or a non bright colour so I wouldn't get their attention. It was rather rough to live with that, to live with at least 20 eyes scorting your every move from 8 am to 5 pm. I had to run home, I didn't want to stay after that time. Neither wait outside before the entrance was scheduled.
And whoever reads this may wonder... why you never stood up? Why did you not tell a teacher? Well, teachers and my parents found out the worst possible way. One day, my friend decided to stand up for himself and tell them that they were being unfair and terrible to us, we were human beings and we were being treated like rubbish. They laughed. They laughed for a long time. Every laugh made every single inch of my body burn with intense anger. I told them that they were horrible people. They told us they would be waiting outside to beat us up. I was not ready for that, I was not ready to be humiliated in public to be BEATEN UP. That did not fit in my schemes, it just did not fit in my definition of normal behaviour. I went out and he came to us. My teacher grabbed his arm. Then a long process of talks and psychologists started. And yes, we were called the weak and exaggerated, but they were telling us they were there to help. I became hermetic, I would not want to talk about that again ever to any of those people. Only one teacher tried to help, and although she did a lot for us, her help was lost in an ocean of indifference coming from the principal's office. It did not stop there, but it got easier to handle. I'm not sure if it is because I built an armour or because it actually got easier.
I left school for university. I couldn't be more excited! I thought it had all finished, that it was a fresh start, a new life, away from those people who thought that our pain was their healing. I was right in that, there were never more bullies. But there was the ghost of the bulling I had been suffering through my entire childhood and early teenage years. The words fat, disgusting, weirdo still echoed in my head. And they lived and live with me. As if they were codified in my DNA. Everytime I do something that someone normal would do without problems I have to think mnay times what the situation to come will be like, what people will be there, etc. It was not until a year ago that I could talk to my Uni classmates. I simple couldn't speak to people of my same age so all my friends were either bully victims or people way older than me. In relationships, I went through abusive, nonsense relationships because after all that's what I thought that I deserved. I was ashamed of my body and didn't go to the beach for YEARS. I didn't wear skirts or shorts for YEARS. I hid myself for YEARS. Oh, and I had an eating disorder with several episodes that repit once in a while. Stress, OCD and anorexia was what bullying gave me. But it gave me something more.
Bullying made me realise who are the people worth having in your life. It taught me that popularity is not a synonim to kindness. It taught me the worst of society and the best of those who helped me through. It killed my self esteem, but I am building it back with the help of amazing people around me who won't judge me when I'm down. I don't know if I will go back to those sordid, dark thoughts that have accompanied me in life. Being realistic, they will never leave me, but I can either make a victim of myself or use that as a lesson. And I chose the second. I may have trust issues, I may go mental sometimes, but it's me after all. And I wouldn't have made it without my parents, my friends and the most especial person I've ever met who I'm more than deeply in love with.
You can fight bullying, claim your rights and make it all end talking to teachers and your parents. Make them listen to your problems, it's their job afterall. But most importantly, their words DO NOT DEFINE WHO YOU ARE, it defines what do they lack. The fact that someone has the inhability to see how amazing you are doesn't mean that you aren't wonderful right?.
By writing some words below, you are showing your support and letting everyone know they're not alone.