I was bullied in grade school. I can't pinpoint when it started because it was more of a gradual increase of meanness than a specific event. It started with being left out and then it grew to name calling, taunting and teasing. It was so bad that I would fake an illness weekly to get out of school.
My mom was clueless. Up until a few months ago she just thought I just didn't like school. I’m almost forty for goodness sakes! She did not know I was bullied until I admitted it to her while discussing a bully at my son’s school.
My bullies were mostly the boys in my class and the girls seem to go along with them. No one ever stood up for me and certainly not the teachers. I remember one of the boys using his art project to take a dig at me and the teacher asked for him to explain what he had drawn because the joke was lost on her – but not the rest of the class. I will never forget the helpless look on her face because she had no clue of what to do with him and what he did but the whole class was in on the joke. It seemed innocent enough but she knew it wasn't and she did nothing.
I guess my teachers and parents figured since no one was physically hurting me it would eventually stop but it didn't at least not until we went to high school where I was blissfully lost in the great big high school.
There was only one instance of bullying in high school and it was physical. I remember that moment so clearly. I was sitting on the edge of the pool and a boy from grade school tried to push me into the pool screaming, “Save the whales!”
Sometimes when I think of that moment I want to cry and other times I want to thank them. Don't get wrong, I would prefer that I was never bullied and while it was happening I thought it would never end. But, as much as I hate to admit it, the bullies made me a stronger person.
I never came forward because it was a humiliating experience. There was no outreach. No plan or committee to help those of us who were affected. There was just hope that it would not last forever and one day it would end. Luckily for me and aside from that one incident in high school, my experience ended with out major incident but the effects that it had on me defined me, good and bad. Also, I had some very good friends who could relate and we bonded together to get through high school.
I hope that my children are never bullied but if they are I hope that they know what it is like to stand up for themselves against their bullies in a way that I never did. I hope that they know what it is like to have others stand up for them, be it their teachers or their classmates and I hope that they find allies in their school career to help them through. I also hope that through their experiences they will learn humility, humor and a strong sense of self. But, mostly, I hope that they never go through it or worse, are the bully.
Here is a chance to take a stand.
Know the signs of a child that is being bullied. I wish the adults in my life knew.
• Unexplainable injuries
• Lost or destroyed clothing, books, electronics, or jewelry
• Frequent headaches or stomach aches, feeling sick or faking illness
• Changes in eating habits, like suddenly skipping meals or binge eating. Kids may come home from school hungry because they did not eat lunch.
• Difficulty sleeping or frequent nightmares
• Declining grades, loss of interest in schoolwork, or not wanting to go to school
• Sudden loss of friends or avoidance of social situations
• Feelings of helplessness or decreased self esteem
• Self-destructive behaviors such as running away from home, harming themselves, or talking about suicide.
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— MryJhnsn (@mryjhnsn) April 10, 2013