Someone brought to my attention that October is the month to stand up against bullying.
It’s bullying awareness and prevention month.
The story I am about to share with you is my own and although it is a while ago, I still find it hard to talk about this.
*I apologize to my family members who might read this and never knew about this. I am sorry I kept my mouth shut all this time.*
But I write this for the people who still believe that bullying is harmless. Just a bit of name calling, a little push here and there. Nothing to worry about right? Wrong…
Some people believe that bullying is something that kids bring upon themselves. That it’s a matter of how you look, that you are maybe not strong enough, that you don’t fight back, that you are too weak to fight back. Wrong again…
To those people I would like to say, put aside what you think you know and read my story.
It all started when I got into high school. I managed to piss off someone who became popular later on. Maybe because I didn’t bow my head, maybe because I have an opinion of my own. I don’t know, but I do know that the very first day I stepped inside that school everything changed.
At first, it was just a bit of name calling. People laughing behind my back, a bit of whispering. That’s not that bad. It isn’t pleasant, but I can’t really get upset about it either. I have a big mouth, so I talk back. And I am smart enough to make a fool out of someone who tries to make a fool out of me. So no, I am not weak.
It got worse every day. I got beat up, locked up, humiliated, threatened and embarrassed all the time.
And I did fought back, all the time. But when a group of 5 to 6 kids corner you, there is not much you can do. One wasn’t a problem, two wasn’t either. That’s why they came at larger groups.
Then the abuse began. Guys pinned me down and touched me at places they should have kept their damn hands off. They grabbed and squeezed. When I fought back, they strangled me until I almost passed out.
They corned me in the shower at the gym, pouring water in my mouth and nose until I felt like drowning. When I kicked one of them so his head hit the wall pretty hard, they beat me up and did it again. And again. And again.
This was all around the time that my big brother died. My family was grieving and I didn’t want to burden them with my problems. So I kept my bruises hidden and my mouth shut. I have an undeniable urge to protect my family and to fight my fights alone.
Now, I can hear some of you think: ‘Why didn’t you go to a teacher?’
Well, trust me, I tried. But since abuse isn’t a thing you talk about easy, the kids who bullied me came off with a warning and I had to pay for the consequences. More bruises, more strangling, more abuse, more breaking and hiding my stuff.
And then there is my character, I am stubborn as hell. I didn’t want to change schools because in my mind, that would make them winners. Especially after I beat one of them up so bad, they left me alone for a couple of weeks.
But then they started to bully others. Kids who I saw breaking under their pressure.
Now, I have always been a savior. I need to save people for some reason. So when I saw other kids going down the same road I did, I stood up for them. What basically meant that I got the bruises and they would be left alone.
This lasted for 4 years. The abuse, physically, mentally and sexual lasted for 4 years.
In the meantime we lost my brother and my little niece who was only 2 years old. I watched my grandpa die and lost my best friend to an illness. Altogether, you could say that it was a bit much to handle.
But the thing about bullying is that it doesn’t end. Even after it stops, it doesn’t end.
I am still startled when someone suddenly touches me. I get aggressive and anxious when there are a lot of strange people around me. I never want to sit with my back to an empty space. I don’t like to get the water from the shower on my face. I am still insecure and at times I am convinced that I am not worth a damn thing. I have flashbacks, panic attacks and trust issues.
And I still fight for whoever needs my help or protection.
Bullying and abuse last a lifetime.
Remember that next time when you think: ‘Can’t be that bad. The kid isn’t even crying.’
I didn’t cry, I became numb.
My tears were all dried up from the losses I had to face. I didn’t have any left.
Besides, it’s kind of hard to hide your scars within when your pain flows out of your eyes.
So pay attention. Take bullying seriously, take the children who are going through it seriously, even when they don’t talk about it. Keep your eyes open and stand up, speak up!
You could make a difference.
To the ones who are going through bullying right now, or have suffered from it before, listen to me. You Are Worth It! You Will Get Past This! You Are Strong Enough!
And you are NOT alone. Not ever. I am here.
Don’t Judge, Just Care.
Lots of Love,