When you're bullied, you never forget it.

I'm 21 years old and I'm just starting to become comfortable with who I am. When I was in middle school, I was bullied - people would trip me, spit gum in my hair, grab me, and make fun of my appearance. They would call me "Elvis" because I had more hair than usual. I was even picked on by kids that I considered my best friends. They would leave notes in my locker teasing me, making me believe they were from someone else and laugh at me when I would talk to them about it. My closest friend started following a more popular girl and they both started a hurtful school-wide rumor about me and a guy. When I broke down in front of one of the deans, they suspended my friend and the other girl from school. It hurt because I felt like I couldn't trust my best friend because of what she did. But I didn't have many friends, so I forgave her when she told me that she made a mistake and apologized. Even though I haven't forgotten what she did, it's been 10 years and we're still friends to this day.

I was really shy and insecure until my senior year in high school, when a teacher helped me start to open up and be myself. Since graduating, he's become one of my closest friends. I've come back as part of his staff and now I see bullying happen right in front of me from an adult's point of view. It's terrible seeing the students that I work with go through some of the same things I went through when I was younger. But in some ways it helps me connect with them and help them through it.

Reading the stories on this site and seeing Bully really moved me. It's overwhelming how many people have been bullied at some point in their life. And it's crazy how some people can still say that bullying isn't a problem or believe that there's nothing we can do. It IS a problem. And it's got to change.

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