I have been incredibly hesitant to open up about my own personal issues on this blog, which I know seems so counterintuitive and hypocritical. But it’s incredibly hard for me to relive all the painful memories that I worked so hard to block out and repress throughout the years. But I know I owe it to my readers. And, really, I owe it to myself. So, bear with me, as this is not an easy process.
Each post will be somewhat of a story, pointing at one specific instance in which I can recall feeling extremely alone, unworthy and unwanted because of bullying.
I was in sixth grade, in that period of in-between. Not quite a teen, not quite a youngster, completely unsure of who I was and who I wanted to be in future years.
I attended a small, private school on Long Island. There were only thirty or so kids in my class. And everyone seemed to have a group, but me. At recess, all of the boys played sports and all of the girls sat under trees in the grass and gossiped about the boys nearby… and me. I usually sat alone and read. It didn’t pay to try and sit with the other girls, because I knew from past experiences that if I did walk over to them, they would call me a nerd, a loser, a freak and then continue to whisper and giggle to each other as I sat there feeling uncomfortable, knowing that their hushed words were about me.
But I got through recess. After all, it was only half an hour, and I loved reading. If I had to spend half an hour outside, sitting under a tree, reading one of my favorite books, then so be it.
But when it was time to go inside and eat in the cafeteria, that’s when the real teasing would begin. All of the individual classes were to sit at assigned tables, and boys were separated from girls, so you could imagine my discomfort.
I remember one day was particularly bad. I sat towards the end of the table, trying to keep to myself and eat my sandwich in quiet solitude, as I waited for lunch to be over, so we could all return to classes, where the only focus was to learn and there was not much time to tease. The girls continuously looked over at me, and then looked at each other with a devious smile. The whispering quickly ensued. I was just a young girl. I didn’t need to know what they were saying; just imaging the horrific ways in which they could have been insulting me was enough to push me over the edge.
I remember I wanted to cry, and I was trying to hard to mask my tears from my peers. I didn’t want to give them another reason to tear me down; I didn’t want to add more fuel to the fire. I quickly grabbed my water bottle and guzzled down huge gulps to try to confine my tears and keep my chin from quivering. But the girls saw that I was on the verge of hysterics, and they used that to their advantage. They smiled and “sweetly” asked if I was all right, subtly taking jabs at me, as the rest of her posse snickered. I mumbled, “Of course” and haphazardly threw out my uneaten lunch and ran to the bathroom. Anything to get away from the stares, the laughter, the cruelty.
The worst part was wondering what was wrong with me. Why was I a target? Why did they think I was so horrible to be around? Why did they want to hurt me?
This whole incident seems so naïve and anticlimactic, now that I am the older, wiser version of myself. But when I was in sixth grade and experiencing this taunting on a daily basis, for no apparent reason, it took a real toll on my psyche. I had to go home every day and wonder why I wasn’t enough—why I wasn’t good enough, why I wasn’t pretty enough, you name it.
Thankfully I had a wonderful support system in my family, and thankfully I was, and still am, incredibly close with my mom, who helped me through a lot of this. But there were a lot of days when even my family could not give me the solace I needed, because they never experienced it. The little sixth grade version of myself thought that they could never possibly understand. And, in some aspects, they couldn’t.
But it was still good to have someone there to constantly tell me to pick my head up and learn to realize that I was more than enough. I was more than worthy. The bullies were the insecure ones. And that is why I started BelittletheBullies. And why I am slowly opening up about my own experiences within the virtual pages of this blog. I want to be that support system for someone who doesn’t think that they have one, who thinks that no one can possibly understand what they’re going through. Because I do understand. I experienced it, too. And I am here to help.
Song to Pair with this Post: Bullet in My Hand
Thank you all for being so patient, and I will continue to open up about all of my own bullying experiences within future posts.