Anytime I have written a blog, I have written an educational piece that was meant to help parents and children. I provided examples, but I stuck to factual evidence and provided experiences that helped me understand what situations would be like.
For this entry, I wanted to get more personal. I wanted to voice my thoughts and feelings through my experience being bullied. Let me be clear, a lot of people (I would like to believe 99% of people) have been bullied. I couldn’t fathom talking about everyone’s possible experiences, so I wanted to talk about mine.
When I moved to Texas, I was in the later year of elementary school. I came in around the end of 3rd grade and I have been in Texas ever since. The neighborhood we moved into was not as diverse as it is now. We had maybe, in total, three Indian families along with a sprinkle of other Asian families across the community.
I remember when I moved into the new neighborhood, there was a girl two houses down who was the same grade as I. She immediately became my closest, and only friend until I started school. The elementary school was extremely accommodating and placed me in the same class as her to help my transition into the new school.
And let me just say this to parents now- moving your child mid-way through the school year can be extremely stressful.
I was standing in front of a foreign class in the middle of the day, and I felt like all these students were looking at me like some sort of prey. For the rest of that year, I was bullied relentlessly. My one friend, who I thought would stick by me, hated that I also became friends with her friends. She singled me out and shouted “I hate you” on our walk home.
Students in class made fun of my hair, or my clothes at any chance they had. I coped with the pressure by drawing, but I often found my drawings stolen and paraded in the class when the teacher was gone. I was labeled “4 eyed Indian girl” and “wannabe artist”. But I came home every day and just let it slide. I was grateful I still had some friends and a place to sit at during lunch.
Fast forward to middle school, I would say it was just as bad. I rode the bus every year, and for me that experience was miserable for my sixth-grade year. My friends I made from elementary school made fun of me in a “joking way.” One of my close friends told me her older brother (who was in 8th grade), heard the 8th graders making fun of my outfits every day when I got on the bus. She said that they were wondering why I didn’t wear jeans like normal kids, and the taunting had gotten so bad I begged my mom for a pair of jeans (even though I hated them).
That same year, a new student joined school and I immediately bonded. We had become very close. We ate at lunch together, we did homework together, and had a lot of the same classes.
The one friend that I had bonded with refused to talk to me because there was apparently a rumor going around that said I had called her “stupid.” My other friends didn’t back me up, and even claimed I had said it. I begged her to listen to me, and eventually told her that I was sorry for something I never did.
That same year, I got kicked out of the lunch table I was sitting at. Mind you, these were the same friends I knew from elementary school. So being alone midway through the year… I cried a lot during lunch time.
By the end of 7th grade, I had made a few friends and I prayed that my 8th grade year would go smoothly, because if I had another year like the one, I had in the 7th grade, I knew I would’ve lost my mind. I concluded that my 7th grade year was the worst!
8th grade went smoothly enough, and I made a great friend group who were all extremely supportive and always had my back. When my old friend group tried telling them I was no good, they stood up for me. They gave me my confidence, but that kind of bullying over the years really did hurt and traumatized. No one deserves to ever feel they are not good enough.
The same old friend group from elementary school and middle also followed me to high school. To sum it up, high school wasn’t great, but it wasn’t horrible either. I had great memories, and I had some that were not so great. Overall, I had a pleasant one but that came with getting the confidence to find people who were like me and who were caring.
As an adult the closest I got to being bullied was maybe my colleagues who talked about me to others, but in most cases they always have apologized. But adult “friends” are not immune to bullying or being bullied. I could go on about what happened, and what my friends have done but it is almost too repetitive to my childhood.
What I learned along the way was one very important thing: you can’t control how people think. You may think you can, but I promise you that you cannot. People are people, and they know exactly what they are doing. They know they are being rude, or unreasonable, but it takes a big person to admit that (FYI: those who are not compassionate may not always admit to it).
My advice? You know if you are in the wrong (and if you don’t know… it’s most likely you), and you also know if you are right too. If you are right, keep your head up and move on. Those people don’t need you and you absolutely do not need them. You are more valuable and that will come to fruition to them on their own time.
The greatest treasure on this planet is YOU. Nobody can take that shine away. Remember, you matter! To those that are reading this, ANY FORM of BULLYING is UNACCEPTABLE! Bullying is someone is your weakness, not the person you’re bullying!