By David Boddy
They say that the most important years in someone’s life is their younger years, specifically up to the age of 8 yrs old. These are the years where you start to develop your personality, where you are vulnerable the most to not understanding yourself. Well, this is the story of how my most valuable years were lived, and how it is that I adjusted and adapted to become who I am today.
I grew up without my mom in my life, this in itself was paramount to why I acted how I did, it also was a reason to my anger issues growing up. The fact that I was without my mother at a very young age disallowed me the reassurance to feeling complete. Growing up with only a father was hard to accept for me, especially when my family members had both their parents. This made me jealous and very unpredictable.
I missed my mom so much growing up, truly I did. What child wouldn’t miss their parent(s)? it was hard for me going to school, it was hard for me to even adjust every morning waking up knowing I will not experience the mothers touch. However, I still went to school. I still faced the days, some were good, however, most were bad.
I was the easy vulnerable target for my bullies growing up, the reason for this was simple. I did not have confidence or self-respect. Not having my mother in my life made me feel that I was unwanted, and not worthy of love.
I guess other children sensed my vulnerability as my first week in school was very rough. I recall being thrown to the ground and having gravel kicked into my face, all while being called a “loser”. I remember I wore sweat pants, and T-shirts. I guess at the time this wear was not deemed “cool”.
This is how it was for me all throughout elementary, kicked, pushed, punched, yelled at, and it seemed that if I just took it that it would eventually stop. I was wrong, very wrong. The only change that occurred was the names in which I was called, it went from just loser to “piece of ****, worthless, fatty, and moron”.
I was slowly becoming a celebrity in my school, one would’ve assumed it would be an interesting experience to be a celebrity. Although, as my experience showed, its not always as it may seem. Every youth dreams of celebrity status, although, different from this. I was a celebrity with everyone knowing who I was by the names I was called, not as Dave Boddy.
It became official that I had no respect from my fellow students when I was held down and had razor blades thrown at me, that was the most degrading and embarrassing experience in my life. It brought me right down, how could I see myself in a positive light after this? It destroyed my self confidence, my reassurance to knowing I was liked and respected. I missed my mom very much at this point. I needed love, I needed support, however, I did not find the courage to speak up to anyone. I just held it all in.
Soon enough I learned this was the wrong solution to this problem. In junior high it just got worse, the students got bigger and more aggressive. The names got worse, the self respect got worse. How was I supposed to become a man, when I was always being treated like this? How was I supposed to grow into who I was to become when I had so many names?
I contemplated suicide in grade 9, this will be a shocker to many. I saw no reason for me to want to carry on. Can you imagine being a grade 9 student contemplating suicide, ending your life even before you even truly lived one?
I wanted people to know me for who I was, however, I myself did not know who I was. Eventually the words they called me lead me to believe them. A incident happened in grade 7 that also assisted in my suicide contemplation. I refused marijuana while hanging with some fellow students, upon my refusal I had a ashtray thrown at my face. The ashtray busted up my lip, and severely depleted my confidence more. What was worse is my anger grew.
I was getting to the breaking point, and this was proven with my first fight. A youth called me a name, and all I recall is I released all my anger, and I am not proud to say that I hurt this male, but I did. Going into high school I had some friends that carried from junior high. One person named Ryan, he never bullied me. He always backed me up. It was cause of him I choose to join the football team.
The best decision I could have ever made, as joining the football team gave me an outlet to release my anger safely. I was encouraged to let it loose. High school was showing to be the change to me, as I was changing. A lot. More confident, I had more self-respect. Thank you Ryan.
The good of course changed to bad later on. While I was in grade 12 a very close friend of mine ended his life due to being bullied. Losing one of my closest friends changed my mindset for good. I vowed to NEVER allow someone bully me or anyone else ever again, ever.
I learned that self respect like respect needs to be earned. I started to stand up for myself, started to learn my self worth, and learned to never settle for anything less of what I deserved. This self respect allowed me to grow to who I am today. I learned that no matter what, I am the only person who defines who I am.
I grew to be who I wanted and needed to be, not who everyone else felt I needed to be. I now speak to youth with a campaign known as “We Can Rise Up”. I am also a founder of a foundation known as “Boddyguards Against Bullying Foundation” where I speak about depression, suicide, gang intervention, narcotic intervention, and bullying.
This is Dave Boddy, this is who I am, who I was meant to be, and who I will always be proud to be. Always be proud of who you are, and be afraid of becoming who you are not.
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