I'm a 35 year old survivor. I was bullied every day for over 2 years when I was in middle school. We were 30 in class, not all of my classmates bullied me, but they never helped and they called me names just to fit in with the bullies. I got beat up, almost every day. I had to hide the bruises from my family, and when they asked I told them I got them playing. I was not ready to tell anyone. I did not want my parents to suffer. I tried telling my teachers, but did not care, the principal did not care either. I tried telling them but they would not listen. On my last year of middle school, in mid October, the two kids that bullied me pulled a knife in the middle of a computer class, he said "if you don't do what I say, we'll cut your throat". While one of them pulled an eraser from his pocket and told me to eat it, the other one kept switching the knife between my throat and my wrist. No one around us did anything. No one told the teacher. No one told them to stop. They just looked at us and laughed. I decided to tell the teachers, and with my class mates it made it worse. They said that I was a snitch and a coward. The teachers didn't want to listen to the story and they sent us to see the principal. At first, his decision was to kick the three of us out of school for a week for fighting. When my parents stormed into his office to find out what happened, he decided to kick out one of the two kids out for a week and his friend 3 days. A week for one of them and three days for the other one after they threatened somebody with a knife in the middle of a class.
The next day, the principal called me to his office to tell me that if I beat up the bullies he would buy me lunch. I think I didn't mention that the principal was a priest. Yes, I attended a private catholic school, not some school in the ghetto. And yes, the principal, a priest told me to beat up the kids. I didn't do it. I didn't go to the police. Why you may think, well, if just by telling the teacher I got the rest of the class against me, what could happen if I told the police? I would probably be dead by now.
Things got better for a week, but after a while it was all the same, I was cornered every day by the two guys and some of their friends, I was beat up almost every day. I had no one to trust. Only my family. No friends or anyone to protect me in school.
Did I think about ending it all? Of course. I didn't think about becoming a school shooter, I live in Spain, we don't have such a gun culture like in the US. For two years and some after that I thought I was the scum of the earth, that's how they made me feel. Why live? why go through life like this? My family told me that it was going to get better. Movies told me the same. But I didn't see it. Then why did I continue living? Why didn't I just find a weapon and kill the bully? Because that would have ruined not only my life but my family's life. How did I make it though, I told my self, just keep going, prove them wrong, show the world you are not a failure like they tell you, that's the best revenge, keep living and be happy. Sounds stupid, but that's what kept me alive. I wanted to piss them off by being happy and alive. I so far I've done it.
I have seen some of my school mates years after. We've gone out for drinks, and we've had fun. Some of them apologized and told me they were sorry for what they did. I accepted their apology. I forgive, but I don't forget. And it felt great looking in their eyes and saying "You know what? f**k you, I'm alive, and I'm happy". The look on their face was priceless. To this day, I haven't seen the two bullies, I know they are alive and at least one of them lives in the same city as me. What would I do if we see each other. I've thought about it a few times. Yes for years the thought of revenge crossed my mind. More than once. Slow and painful revenge. But then I think, for what? is it going to restore anything? is it going to make me feel better? No, it's only going to ruin my life. Let life take it's course. Maybe one day they will realize what they did. Maybe they already know and it's eating them inside. Maybe they don't care and feel proud of it. The truth is, I don't care. I have my life now. I'm happy, I'm married and all of that is in the past. It has made me who I am, and in some strange way, I think I am a better person.
I know that when you are bullied, nothing is going to make you feel better. There is no shortcut. But life goes on, and for as much as someone tells you the opposite, everybody counts. You mean something to somebody, your family, the friends that you might not know you have. There is always someone that cares for you, and that makes life worth living, because if you become a school shooter, or you decide to end it all, the pain you are going to cause your loved ones is going to be greater than the one you feel.
Bullies leave scars. Physical and mental. But scars are just a reminder of who we are. As they say, what doesn't kill you makes you stronger. Just keep going, prove the world wrong, that's the best revenge.
Ps: I was bullied for no reason. I was a normal kid. The only thing that made me different was that I wore glasses and I was skinny. That's all. I was just a target like anyone could have been.
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