I’m sorry if your opinion of me was influenced by others and I didn’t step in to stick up for myself. I have mentioned that I have a major fear of offending people. This often gets me left behind in life. I have been bullied for many many years and it has made it difficult for me to stand up for myself. I often try to keep people close to me by not letting them know when they offend me, out of fear of offending them. So far this hasn’t worked out in my favor, but I have taken notice now and I am working on fixing this within myself. I also have far too good of a memory. I remember all the details of the most unpleasant moments in life.
Memories of my childhood begin when I was just 3 years old. I can remember being upset in nursery school with one of my friends. We had round tables that were surrounded by chairs and I pulled out a chair so I could hide under the table. I clearly remember making snacks in the kitchen of the church with my mom. I remember the day we made pictures to turn into plastic plates. My Gran sat across from me showing me how to write my name. I saw it upside down and made the J upside down just as it was. I remember bouncing a ball on the parachute outside after class.
My first memories of bullying started in the first grade. We moved from urban lower middle class Detroit to a wealthy suburb called Grosse Pointe Park. I didn’t fit in. I was the new kid. I was from somewhere else and my teacher was awful to me. As a child, I had no idea why. I just knew I didn’t belong there. It wasn’t long before I was refusing to walk the 3 blocks home and instead went to the far side of the school to hide behind the bushes until my mom picked me up. The bullying continued throughout my entire elementary school experience.
When I went into middle school the bullying gained momentum. More kids were added to the group of bullies. It turned physical. Boys pinned me against my locker. Screamed in my face. Threw food at me. One time I stuck up for myself and poured a Coke all over a boy’s head because he hit me in the face with a piece of food while I ate my lunch. I was scolded by the assistant principal.
Then came high school, where even more bullies were added to the group. I was pushed and shoved often. The name calling, relentless. One day I was walking with headphones on in the hall and two boys started screaming in my face. I can’t remember their exact words, but they were meant to be hurtful. I do remember that one was saying something about “Marilyn Manson”. I said “actually I’m listening to a Christian band”. I was listening to the Insyderz. But it didn’t really matter to them what I was listening to. I went to class and after came back to hateful things written on my locker in black permanent marker. They had also written on my best friend’s locker next to mine. I went to my counselor. Her son was friends with these boys. She told me there was nothing she could do. She scolded me. I was told I should dress more normal. I was sort of on the punk side, with a pixie haircut. The boys weren’t even punished for defacing school property.
So, you see, there are times in my life where I have tried to stick up for myself and it has backfired. This has also been a trend in my friendships. Bullying carried into my adulthood with coworker and friends. It’s one of those cases where people will do what only you allow them to do and I have let people talk bad about me. Walk all over me. I have let friends tell other people what my opinion is or how I would act in a certain situation, when none of it was true. All because I didn’t want to offend the person who was talking about me to someone else?! I know, it sounds crazy. It kind of is. But, I never really knew how to stand up for myself. I never thought I could say “Hey, wait! That’s not true. I wouldn’t act that way. Don’t talk about me. I’m right here! I can speak for myself!” Instead, I would just cock my head to the side and maybe have a bewildered look on my face.
So, that is why I am sorry if you have a poor opinion of me. I ask that you give me another chance. A chance to speak for myself. A chance to get to know me through me and not through what someone else is saying about me. I have a voice that I believe is worth sharing and my heart is always open.
How has bullying changed your life as an adult? What do you do now when you face bullying? I would love to here from you!