If you fall..don't ever stay down.

My name is Björn, for you who can't pronounce that it's all good with saying "Bjorn". I'm from Sweden and i just turned 20 a few months back.

I was bullied from the very first year of school, i was 6 years old at the time. I don't remember at all how it started, it just did. I got bullied because i was different than everybody else, atleast that is what i think was the "problem".

You see, i didn't grow up in the same neighbourhood as everybody else, I lived more or less isolated from the other kids because the public transports was so bad if i wanted to go to their town. All the other kids atleast knew 2-3 from before school started, i guess i didn't fit in in their standards. I come from a family of farmers so that was the life i was living at the time, we had all kinds of animals and therefore duties to take care of both before and after school, wether it was a hot summerday or a freezing winterday we had to do them. And because we were farmers i couldn't really do whatever i wished during the summers even if it was a perfect day to go swimming with kids because we always had stuff to do, harvest, feed the animals, clean after them, mow the grass etc.

Anyway, if you translate my name directly to english it says "bear", the animal. It means the same in Swedish. People thought it was fun telling me that the huntingseason for bears soon was here, that i should watch out not being shot going to school. They told me I was a loser because i'm scared of doing a flip ("somersault" if google is correct with the translation?) because i think I'm gonna break my neck all the time. I also had big feet, another problem according to them, no idea why, they never really told me (i wear size 42, European size).

I also was bigger than any of them, lengthwise and widewise so to speak. I wasn't fat but i wasn't slim either, I was big, as espected by being a farmer. But they thought it was fun trying to wrestle with them, each and every break we had at school they came asking me to fight them and each and everytime i told them i didn't want to. And then they started to call me coward, that i was weaker then they were and that i was scared of them.
So after many times of saying "no" i said "yes", that happened a few times because i got so tired of them asking and that i thought that they maybe would like me better if they'd fight me as they seemed like they'd like that.
Each and everytime i said "yes", I won, they never stood a chance against me. I never hit them though, i always pushed them or wrestled them down because i'm not the person who want to hurt others in any way. They realized they couldn't beat me so they started going at me 2 at a time, then 3 at a time and then 4, suddenly they were 5 kids fighting/wrestling with me at once. All this happened close to a hill, not a very steep one, maybe 45% angle and 15-20 meters before it leveled off.
But they could not make me go down, not even 5 people could do it. The thing was that if i said "no" to a fight they bullied me, if i said "yes" they went crying to the teachers afterwards telling them that i was hitting them and using to much force when we were "playing" so that they got hurt, so then the teacher told me it was my fault. Whatever i did it was wrong, whatever i said i was always wrong.

The fighting stopped when i was about 8 maybe, but everything else kept going. I was picked as one of the last kids in gymnastics everytime, i was not allowed joining a football-game or any other type of activity during breaks because my class didn't want me to, and they always had a reason why i couldn't join in; "you're to strong""you're not fast enough""you can't be careful""we're already full" etc etc.

I found my own way of having fun, i stayed alone in a corner where i wouldn't be bothered by anyone, somewhere where i didn't have to realize how much i was missing out. Somewhere where i had peace and could talk to myself or whatever.

My parents helped me out, they tried talking to the school, teachers and parents of the children but nothing really changed. During 3 years there was one in our class especially that i every morning i woke up in my bed hoped would be sick or that he had died so i didn't have to see him in school, that's how bad it was.

This kept going for a long time, it all stopped when i was 16, and i changed to high-school (gymnasium it's called in sweden) where not any of my old "friends", so i could start fresh.

When i was around 13 and thereabout "my" bulliers bullied other kids too, younger kids and even my younger brother. At that time i couldn't stand it anymore. I'm "fine" if everybody hates me for some reason/s but i will never accept another kid or person being bullied as i was. So when i saw these bulliers bully some random kid i school i went straight there, and i'm not kidding, if somebody had videotaped my face at this moment they would have seen a red fire burning. I was soooo angry... I told them to back off while i moved in between them and this random kid because they would regret if they tried doing anything.
They didn't back off, rather the opposite, they saw it as a challenge i guess. These 4 guys jumped me all at once, all i could do was to take "out" their leader, the guy who always trigged the others so bully people, the same guy i had hoped to die or to be sick when i was 6-8 years old..the same guy. I took my left hand just over one of his knees and the other one in his armpit and lifted him up over my head, i threw him about 1,5-2 meters forward so he hit the ground pretty hard (i was then as tall as i am now, 178cm.), he didn't say anything, but i could see he was scared, he stood up and he left without saying a word. And the other 3 kids just stood there, they had been standing like frozen statues right away when i pick their leader up like he was nothing.

That kind of stopped the worst of the bullying for me, i was still an outcast but people seemed to respect me more. They saw me atleast, and probably they knew better than make me that angry again. After that i always do what i can when i see someone getting bullied, not with physical power, but by standing my and the other persons ground against the bullies telling them to stop doing what they're doing.

There is alot more to say, alot of good and bad stories but this is my time in school when I had a rough time.

Today..well today I love myself for what i am and who I am, everything that has happened and what is happening is making me the one that I am.
Today i feel good, today i'm stronger, because everytime that i get pushed down I push myself right back up again stronger than ever.

/ Björn Rödin, Sweden.
contact: [email protected]

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