It lasted eight years, but will affect me forever

Hello reader. So here's the story of me from the past eight years until the present day. It all starts with the transition from 4th grade in elementary school to 5th grade in middle school. It always seemed to be like just a simple move to another school. It turns out that for many like me, we have found out that this is not nearly the case. In actuality, changing locations from one school to another was the most minor change. Instead, the people I knew and thought were friends made the most change to their own personalities and in turn, myself.

The first four months of this new building with all the same and new people (since my district had two elementary schools that fed into one middle school at 5th grade), life was as normal as could be. I had all the same friends and some new ones from the other school who combined with us. I continued to do well in my academics and I thought socially as well. By December of that same year, I had no real friends and absurd rumors were spreading throughout my fellow classmates about me. I really don't like talking about the rumors these kids spread about me, but it dealt with someone's idea that "hey, I think he may be gay" at lunch in that fifth-grade December day - the rumor also turned out to be and still is completely false. I digress, but as spring rolled around, found myself sitting and eating lunch with people I used to be friends with and would hope they would change again. I stood outside by myself at recess like the outcast I was perceived to be and even had to do group projects in classes by myself (even when we had assigned groups from the teacher) because of fellow classmates' absurd beliefs but was never questioned why I never had a partner for the four years I had to deal with this.

These issues continued and grew into some of the ones saw in Bully.  The bullying transpired through different classmates and different mediums, through the different names and sub-rumors, I still found some sort of courage to push through the names and attacks. From having to walk home with sharpie and highlighter marks across the back of my neck and shirts to sometimes crying myself to sleep at night in fear of going to school the next day for what kids - fellow classmates and even people I considered close friends just a year prior - would do or say to me the next day. My guidance counselor at the time was quite lazy in pursuing the main perpetrators and I soon lost hope in having the school end what has been happening to me within its walls for four years. As these kids slowly matured (behind the rest of us non-bullies), the physical bullying slowly ended. The bullying, however, didn't just span this rumor, it manifested into a tormenting entity that affected me in all aspects - from my academics, to music and playing the Horn, making friends, joining clubs and activities.

It was only after joining Facebook late into eighth grade that I learned about a new side to this bullying. It turned out that there were pictures of me from recess in fifth, sixth, seventh, and earlier in eighth grade year with sickening tags and comments put in about me; these photos and comments came up on my newsfeed as the first post on Facebook I had ever saw. The photos were all reported and the owner of the photos cleared all the tags and comments, later deleting the photos themselves. At the end of the year, getting yearbooks should be a fun and enjoyable time, but turned out for me instead to be a painful one. In both fifth and eighth grade, I had bought a yearbook to have friends sign them. Those yearbooks instead, were unknowingly taken by unwanted signers after a friend had signed it. Those yearbooks are either stowed away somewhere in my house or are rotting away in a dumpster; I haven't the slightest clue or concern about it thought. Sadly, the pain and torment followed me both outside of school and to high school.

I had joined the Boy Scouts in 6th grade to help my friend meet a requirement for an upcoming rank he was attempting to obtain. It turned out that several of the kids in that troop were also from my school (and other schools in our area). Sadly, like middle school, those kids had spread the rumors throughout the boys in our troop and made my time there miserable. The old scoutmasters at the time were too lazy to be able to take care of stopping such events for it seemed commonplace among young boys to them they would tell me. I lost interest in scouting and stopped early on in eighth grade, only moving up two ranks in the two-and-a-half years I was there

Moving to high school was a transition I had dreamed of since fifth grade, but also dreaded. My perspective on the new move was tainted like that of the move to middle school four years prior. I had found myself also beginning to become conflicted with other personal issues, like my parents attempting to work out a divorce during eighth grade, among others. The funny thing, recalling on these events approximately four years later now, is that no matter how hard I tried, it took eight years for my bullying to stop and I had to do try to stop it all on my own like many others.High school was an interesting time for me. Since I kept up my really good grades through all of the bullying and other issues, I am fortunate enough to be placed into honors and higher-level courses with smarter and more intelligent kids who could see beyond four-year-old rumors.

High school is the place where everything slowly came to a crawl with the bulling. Ninth grade was a haven for me, but I still faced several issues and problems each week - but was nothing like in middle school. Tenth and eleventh grade years went by just the same, but I had still lost connection with all my past elementary and middle school friends caught up in the lunchtime rumors. It doesn't matter though, it's been eight years since that rumor started and they still haven't matured since fifth grade. Anyway, in high school I had begun to finally pursue my passions fully - the sciences and music. The bullying I faced coming off playing the Horn and just the general rumors about me had really affected my interests in music during middle school, but I also pushed through that too. I ended up being one of just a select few kids from my school to ever attend three district bands (like an honors band where students are hand-selected) in 6-8th grade, but the bullying never stopped that. If anything, the bullying is what helped me push myself to show that I'm better than what those kids say about me. Anywho (I promise to stay on track from now on :P), my passions that I had started to become interested in during middle school had taken off once I got the chance to explore them in high school. I joined an academic club in 7th grade and have pursued my interests in the sciences with it. I have faced bullying from that too, but that can be another story [when it comes down to it, a fellow member tried putting down research I was conducting with world-renowned laboratories because her project on horse sperm wasn't working out as she planned and I think she was just jealous of what I was doing and had no way of expressing it than by being negative].

So here we are, in the present day. By now, some of the title may make sense. It's been eight years after my first real bullying incident began and took off, but sadly, the effects of eight years of constant bullying have taken its toll on me. Like a non-invasive surgery, someone on the outside can't see all of what's been done and the damage that I've sustained. From all the bullying and problems stemming from it, I am now extremely socially awkward; I am that guy who doesn't go to parties or other social activities that much (or if at all) and can't make new friends easily, along with other social-related things. In addition to that, it's led to the development of quite bad anxiety and sometimes depression. It's gotten to the point of having to control it medically because of what kids had said and done and how the long-term effects are still ongoing.

Bullying really is a serious issue and by no means can be ignore. I stand by this campaign and what it stands up for and fights against; I stand up for those like me who are or have been bullied in any way, shape, or form, because it truly is an unacceptable thing to be doing at such a crucial point in our lives. It's ruined and has even stopped lives from continuing just because of what people think they can say and do to someone. Some may think bullying just affects a person in the present and it's possible to overcome, but as seen in Bully and in my own life and many others out here on this sight, it's a horrible turning point in many lives and it needs to be changed.

P.S. Thanks for reading this in all its entirety if you did! It really does mean a lot to me.

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