Yes, that’s right.
I used to be bullied at school. From Year 5 until Year 10 (so that would be about middle school and junior high school for Americans (I’m not a 100% sure on that for school aged kids from 11-16)). It was bad since it was a small school but bit as bad as the stories you see on the news.
I had people tell me that I was ugly, had gross germs and that I had rabies. They called me names and made use of the fact that I have a hyphenated first name because they had never met someone with a hyphenated first name.
Most classmates wouldn’t sit next to me during class and they wouldn’t talk to me very much. They excluded me from the group. They gossiped about me behind my back and they spread rumours about me, such as I was a lesbian when I wasn’t. I didn’t have a boyfriend until I was 16 and had changed schools because most of the boys I had met previously hadn’t been very nice to me and those who were didn’t want to be associated because they didn’t want to be teased about it.
The peers from my own class weren’t the only ones doing the bullying. There were students up to five years younger than me who were joining in. I even had kids from the other local high school bully me on the school bus. They thought it was all fun and games to pick on me.
I had people say cruel things to my face but they mostly did it behind my back. They all called me ‘Donna-Rabies’ and ‘Donna-X-Ray’ because I wear glasses too and ‘Nanna-Rae’ because I dyed my hair black for a while and they thought my roots were grey, not my natural medium brown hair colour. Those were the only names I knew about. My sisters even had a laugh about the names because they thought they were funny, not something that was made up to hurt or upset me. The other students used to tease me about the fact I prefer to be called Donna-Rae and because I didn’t like being called Donna by itself.
I tried and tried to make friends with them but they kept being mean to me so I gave up. It didn’t help that I felt awkward around them and feeling very suspicious that they were going to use that against me in some way. I decided that they were really mean jerks who weren’t worth getting to know if all they did was find ways to tease me and be mean.
I even got cyber bullied but it wasn’t bad. I just got accused of being a lesbian and a few other things to try and get a bite. I remember just laughing at a former classmate who got annoyed at me for doing that and accused me of laughing because it was true. My reply was I was laughing because it wasn’t true at all. I pretty much blocked most of the class on MSN Messenger to stop it from happening.
Compared to other bullying stories, mine’s quite mild. I chose to ignore it because the teachers weren’t really doing anything about it and keep to myself because they weren’t giving me a reason to be friends with them. All they did was show me how mean and superficial they were. And I wasn’t giving them any reason to be nice to me either because I wasn’t trying to socialise with them.
This in turn has to be one of the reasons why my social and interpersonal skills are the way they are and aren’t very good. I was constantly pushed away (and pushed back to keep them away) and not included in school social situations because they didn’t like me.
My own mother thought that if we hadn’t moved states and that if I had went to the high school in my hometown, I’d get bullied bad enough to commit suicide. I don’t know if it was going to be any worse than what I’d already experienced. Maybe my mother thought that I was softer than what I was.
Like I said, what I went through could be considered mild compared to other bullying stories. There are so many people out there who have had or are having it worse than me.
Just remember it’s not as bad as how it appears. There’s support out there for you if you are getting bullied, even if the help isn’t obvious. There are people out there who love and appreciate you. The bullying isn’t the defining moment of your life. You are going to move into bigger and better things. You are going to turn into a much better and more open-minded person.
There’s lots of help and support out there.
Beyond Blue – http://www.beyondblue.org.au or 1300 22 4636
Kids Helpline – http://www.kidshelp.com.au or 1800 55 1800
ReachOut – http://www.ReachOut.com
Suicide Prevention – http://www.suicidepreventionaust.org
Lifeline – 13 11 14
Suicide Call Back Service – 1309 659 467
Men’s Line – 1300 789 978
Veterans Line – 1800 011 046
* These are all Australian help organisations. If you are from overseas and think you might need help, please PLEASE search for help organisations in your area.