Like most kids, I was often picked on all throughout middle school and high school. Although I became used to it once I reached 7th grade, a situation arose that year that made the bullying more than I could handle.
One of my best friends, Stefanie, was considered to be a "popular" kid, along with whatever that meek description meant back in middle school. I had been tutoring her in math because she was struggling - on the latest exam we had taken, I had scored higher than she had. For some unknown reason, she got extremely angry with me. From that moment on, she began to pick on me relentlessly.
I was an extremely overweight kid, and that was the focal point of Stefanie's teasing. I just never seemed to shed my baby fat until I reached high school. Stefanie would throw my books on the ground, pinch me, call me names, write things in the bathroom about me. It was honestly the worst experience of my life, even though I was so young. It impacted me immensely, and still does to this day. I developed severe depression, along with anorexia. I dropped from 250 pounds to 90 pounds within a year. I always wore baggy clothes because I was convinced that no matter how much weight I lost, I would always be known as the fat girl.
My mother took it upon herself to contact the school authorities - to our surprise, they did absolutely nothing about it. They claimed to have talked to my bully, but nothing changed. My mother spent endless hours calling my school district. She finally got fed up, and called the New York State Board of Education, and let them know about my situation. Because of that phone call, Stefanie's schedule was changed so that I would not be in any of her classes. Her locker was moved into a different hall so it would be difficult for her to see me. I thought things would get better with this new found change, and for a while, they did.
But unfortunately, high school came, and the administration seemed to think Stefanie would stop bullying me on her own. She didn't. MySpace had been really popular back then, and I had a secret profile hidden from my parents, because they hadn't wanted me to make one. Stefanie found me on there, and posted my pictures all over the Internet saying horrible, untrue things about me. About how many people I had supposedly slept with (mind you, I was a freshmen in high school, and was literally the most meek and prude girl to ever roam the Earth). I handled the cyber-bullying as best as I could - I blocked Stefanie off of MySpace, and eventually just deleted my profile all together. I had told my parents, and, to my relief, they weren't angry, but they had contacted my high school's administration and informed them that they would file charges as well as a restraining order if Stefanie continued to bother me. I made a FaceBook with my first and middle name so she would not be able to find me, and added only my family members and extremely close friends that were not friendly with Stefanie.
For a while, things were really good. I was getting back on track with my weight - I became a healthy 135 pounds, and I was happy with that. I was doing well in school, and had found my passion and hobby in art. I enrolled in all the art classes possible, and found my solace in that. Then came the day of the art show when I was a junior in high school. Stefanie hadn't bothered me for well over a year, so I figured everything was over, that she had grown up. I had all of my art work displayed from the past two years that I had worked a lot on, and was proud of. There were going to be college scouts from art schools, along with scholarship sponsors, at the art show to view the art scout out potential future students.
The morning of the art show, I came in early along with the other art students to begin to set up. As I walked into my art class, I went over to my work, and all of my art was destroyed. Completely ripped apart, or with holes in it, or paint splashed on it. That was the worst memory that I have. Everything I had worked so hard on was destroyed for absolutely no reason at all. Luckily, after watching the surveillance videos, it was discovered that Stefanie, along with two of her other friends that had picked on me, had snuck in the art room during their softball practice and destroyed my art work. Intentionally. To hurt me, to show that Stefanie still had the power. Well, those girls finally got expelled, and I finished my last year of high school with minimal trouble.
I graduated high school and moved away to go to college, which is a completely different world. I realized that not everybody is going to bully you, that there are truly, genuinely, good people out there. Now, I'm going on to my junior year of undergraduate school. I look back at those times I had suffered through, and I can't believe the administration was not providing more help or support than it did. Stefanie was an awful person who did awful things, but I finally have the ability to forgive her. I realized how horrible her life must have been in order to take out all of her stress, anger, and hurt feelings on me, when I had just tried to help her. I will never fully understand why bullies do what they do - I could never, ever, intentionally hurt another person, it's not who I am and it's not how I was raised. Although my bullying experience has definitely impacted my life, I try to no longer let it weigh me down and cloud my vision to the good things in life. I fully support The Bully Project and pledge to be an advocate for children and adults who are bullied.
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