"Images in the review mirror may appear closer than they are." The words were written across the mirror of my drivers side mirror on my car. How true that saying is now looking back 24 years later. Growing up, I had an occasional bully in elementary school but nothing to really become concerned about. I went to a good school and they had "zero tolerance" for such behavior. I was also free to be myself in elementary school. I could respond in class without fear of being attacked. Then I went to middle school and the 7th grade. It was almost an 180 degrees in the opposite direction. Two people who I thought were my friends, began a physical bullying campaign that made everyday a chore. They were in my cluster system and went to the same classes everyday. The school was very violent with fights everyday which made the atmosphere there very tense. Everyone wanted to fight for some reason. My two "friends" would hit me in the back of the neck hard during class constantly. The incident would draw the occasional "don't do that" from the teacher but that was it. During lunch, we would have outside free time. They would tear my jacket and give me huge bruises on my arms. One of them, who later was diagnosed with mental issues, would hold both my arms to stop me from hitting him. I never told my parents because I was too ashamed. My father had severe mood swings and would fly into a rage at the smallest incident and refuse to speak to my mother and me for days. The rest of the class I was with would say mean hateful things as well. It was as if they sensed I was weak and I needed to be eliminated. This lasted everyday. I prayed for rain everyday because when it rained, we had to stay inside for lunch and my homeroom class didn't include the two guys. I felt so humiliated all the time. When I returned home everyday, I just wanted to scream for frustration. If my dad was in one of his moods and I didn't respond to him with a smile or if he thought I didn't appreciate him, I got screamed at. In a way, I would receive it from both ends; school and home. One day in school a bunch of girls in math class placed a tampon in my coat pocket during class. When class ended, they got everyones attention and asked what was in my pocket. When I pulled it out, everyone laughed. I felt shattered inside and humiliated. When I got home that day, I went to my room and I pulled the covers over my head and didn't moved for four hours. I guess I was in shock because I didn't realize that I was sweating profusely due to the early spring/summer heat. This continued until the 11th grade. I would go to class and never speak or ask questions. If you asked questions, you became a target. My personality basically vanished by this time. I was very solemn in behavior and constantly fearful. I didn't like the idea of even going to stores in town with the possibility of running into them. I even became fearful for my parents when they went to the grocery store, etc as illogical as they sounds. They would in front of the whole student body at lunch, punch and hunt me down. I started going to the library at lunch and using fake library passes to hide from them. One day they got wise and found me. They ran into the library, and took a seat at the table I was at and started laughing as they anticipated how they were going to harass me. The librarian that day, got their attention because they were making noise. When they weren't looking, I ran out the side exit into the hallway. I could hear them running out into the empty hall as they tried to find me. I hide in the men's room until lunch was over. On some days when I couldn't go to the library, I would hide out in front of the school so no one would find me until lunch was over. Sometimes they would find me and hit me and throw my books everywhere. It was a constant search for shelter on a daily basis. I remember watching cars drive by on the road and think to myself how wonderful it would be to get into one and start driving and never stop until you ran out of road. For some reason, they lost interest in me and ignored me until I graduated. I never spoke to them again. When I was 17, I started to finally after five years, to heal emotionally. I began to feel like my old self as well for the first time since elementary school. I never had another issue again. Looking back, I see that I became a very savvy person. I developed a thicker skin so to speak because of my incident after I realized that it wasn't my fault. If this is happening to you, find something you enjoy doing. Take up a new hobby. After my bullies abandoned me in high school, I joined the debate team and began going to speech meets on the weekends at other high schools. I felt angry but I channeled that anger into public speaking. 20 years later, I was driving past a old house near my community. Who did I see in the front yard? But one of my old bullies from years ago. He was overweight and living on welfare. I learned from others near him that he had a long record of drug use and had been arrested many times. His brother was basically supporting him. One day, something in my head said "go talk to him." I cringed at the thought. I hadn't spoken or seen him for years. I resisted the notion and it was about two months later I noticed that he wasn't there anymore. I did an online search for him and found an article with a picture of a wrecked truck. He had been killed instantly after moving an old electric stove for an elderly lady. I wasn't sure how I felt at that point. Two days passed and one night as I arrived home from work, I sat on the couch and it was very quiet. I started to cry very hard for some reason. Almost as hard as I did for my father's passing a few years prior. 20 year prior, if you told me that I would mourn terribly for my tormentor, I would have told you that you were crazy. Time wounds all heels and this wasnt any exception. On his eulogy page, I read a comment that was left from the other guy I knew that had tormented me. He said that he was sorry that he was killed. He went on to say what a big heart he had and that he would do anything to help anyone in trouble. I wondered at that point if I really knew my tormentors. Perhaps they were really human after all once the hard edges created by life had been worn away. He concluded his paragraph by saying, "see you one day in heaven." I hope the two of them do make it to heaven. If I could speak to the two of them I would tell them, "I forgive you." If you take steps and take care of yourself mentally, you will develop into a very strong emotional person. I turned my anger and frustration into something positive. People tell me that I am a very strong person with a very old soul. What they don't realize is what I overcame to become the person I am today. Many would be shocked to learn of my story. Be strong and take time to heal.
By writing some words below, you are showing your support and letting everyone know they're not alone.