“Sticks and stones may break your bones, but words can hurt you in a different way”. Words hurt. Or at least they used to.
Who else has been bullied that is reading this? I bet a great deal of you have at some point. Bullying has followed me from childhood until now and has affected me in different ways through different stages of my life. Why am I such an easy target? Because I’m nice to people? Keep to myself? Who knows. I’ll never really know because I’ve changed a lot since being a child and it still occurs to this day. So there are probably many reasons.
I lived in a small country town for most of my life. The good points were that everyone knew each other but the bad points were that EVERYONE knew each other. There were racists that taught their children racism, alcoholics that made their children drink, poor families that would steal and migrants that would mostly stick to their inner circle.
I had the best of both worlds, my parents migrated here but I was born here. I’m an Aussie who got to experience different cultures. People didn’t see that though. The kids saw a little girl that wasn’t white enough, wasn’t tall enough, looked “funny”, looked “different”. They called me every name under the sun. They would also push and shove and hit and bite. Its ridiculously what kids do when they bully others. It wasn’t just me though, it was my whole family that copped it. My brother and I especially. My parents wouldn’t hear what was being said about them and thank goodness they didn’t.
When it would happen to my brother and I we acted like a team. Whether they were saying hurtful things or being violent, we stuck together. It didn’t matter if we weren’t getting along at the time, if someone would hurt us, we fought back. I was extremely vulnerable on my own because I’d take it all and wouldn’t react out of fear of things getting worse.
My closest friend who I stuck with throughout her chemo treatments turned against me. She had a bogan friend that lived next door and didn’t like me, but we never had a disagreement because we were both looking out for our friend’s best interest. A bogan is pretty much the equivalent of the American “redneck”. My friend had cancer as a child. I would always hang out with her and try to make our visits as fun as possible. Until she thought that it was okay to put my family down. She was cured of cancer and in remission. She started hanging out with her neighbour more, but I didn’t mind, I was just happy that she was okay. We all downloaded MSN on our computers so we could chat whenever we liked. One day she made a racist and incestual remark about my mother and I. I snapped. I didn’t think twice. Showed my mum and she told me to fight back. This is a woman who always taught me to fight evil with good. She told me to fight back, so I did. Something inside me changed. I was no longer a scared little girl. I was a bull ready to take down a target. I was calling this girl, sending her messages on MSN, I was going to her house and hurling abuse at her. I took all the messages to the school and got her expelled. Not letting the school know what I did. I retaliated and wanted to bring her down. I turned into a bully fighting another bully. My mum was pleased that I defended her and I was too. From that point on I never let anyone get away with disrespecting my family.
So Primary School was bad but, High school was worse.
I decided to take on a “take no shit” policy. At this stage kids were bottling and egging our house and yelling out racial slurs when they’d walk past.
If someone started a rumour I’d confront them immediately and if they wanted to throw swings, you best believe I was fighting till someone pulled us off each other. I became extremely angry and violent. I was no longer shy. My brother was the same however he wouldn’t turn to violence, he’d turn to me to be violent for him.
I found friends that had my back, until they didn’t. I now realise I never had any true friends in high school. Maybe 2 if I were lucky but we didn’t run in the same groups. I was a lone wolf fighting for my family and myself. The bullying got worse the more I retaliated. My brother made a few mistakes and those mistakes I had to carry which made everything get out of hand.
I couldn’t handle high school any longer.
I had serious mental health issues, I made one too many suicide attempts and I became anorexic. I was so underweight that the principal and Dr deemed me as being physically unfit and unable to attend regular school. I had to transition to distant education.
That wasn’t any better. Deros everywhere. Other kids that didn’t fit in. I tried fitting in, drinking and smoking like them but, it didn’t work.
I don’t want to skip too many steps in the life of ABD because I already have writing this post, but I can say that I have been bullied at 3 different workplaces also, 1 being life post abuse. I didn’t retaliate because I learnt my lesson from my younger years. Stand up for yourself but don’t ever go down to their level. I’m happy to say that I’m away from those bullies and that their shit doesn’t affect me. I won’t let it.
Bullying isn’t a light subject and shouldn’t be ignored. It has occurred for generations and there is no sign of it stopping any time soon. There are schools and workplaces that have zero tolerance for bullying, yet I still see it happening. I see it happening in the younger generations when I look at my younger relatives not fitting in.
I regret stooping to the same level as these guys but I can’t take those years back.
Next week gets heavy again, see you then.