This week it is Bullying Awareness Week, which is in itself a bit strange because every week should be bullying awareness week. It still happens too often and that is not cool, yo. Bullying can destroy so much with all consequences that brings along.
I have been bullied. A lot. From when I was an innocent girl at elementary school throughout my entire high school. I was bullied not by a single person but by whole groups, because I was the weird kid. I did not conform to the group pressure. I liked music that was deemed uncool. I wore clothes that did not match. I was vulnerable and all in all a great victim for bullies because for a long time I did not know how to defend myself.
I survived. Somehow. I have my scars and sometimes it still bothers me. But there are too many kids out there who can’t take the bullying and end their lives because of depression and the effects of bullying. And that is something that should never happen. Ever.
You could say that bullying is something humans do. I mean, bullies try to protect themselves and protect their status in a group and mostly not become the victim themselves. All very nice of course, but in the meantime they do so much damage because believe it or not, bullies don’t make you stronger. They destroy you.
And for a long time, years after I left school, I was still consumed by hatred for my bullies. One in particular. It was the guy who said something that hurt me so much that I have never forgotten it, unlike all the other mean comments. He said: “No one will ever love you.” I believed him then. My self-confidence was non-existent back then. I believed whatever they said because they kept repeating it so often. And as I left school I became more confident and I realised that I did have value. But whenever I saw a picture of the people who bullied me, or worse when I met them in real life, I felt bad again. I wished them ill. And that made me unhappy because negative thoughts have negative consequences.
The change came a few months ago. I was cycling home when the boy who had said that horrible thing to me passed me. He looked me right into the eye..and he did not recognise me. That was a turning point for me. Why would I spend so much time hating someone who does not even remember that I exist? Why would I let him have so much effect on my life when I have none on his? Why do I still think about what he has done to me when he probably doesn’t even remember?
I let go. And it has worked out for the better because I am not as restless anymore. I look at the world in a more positive way and most importantly, I have learned to not be as vulnerable anymore. I wish that I could go back and tell my 12-year old self to fight back. I wish that I would not have let them walk all over me. But I was a different person then and I am all grown up now.
To all kids out there who do get bullied, there are some things that are crucial to remember. First of all, do not change who you are to conform to whoever they want you to be. They will always find something wrong with you. It’s best to stay who you are because that makes you the happiest. If you like to do ballet, then do ballet. If you like to listen to ‘uncool’ music, then listen to that music. You have to live your life for you and not for others. Secondly, speak up about it. I know it is hard when you are shy but you have to let them know that they can’t get to you. Maybe it helps to do a special training or maybe a combatsport. Just try to protect yourself. And also, don’t believe what they say. Know that they are insecure about themselves and are jealous of the fact that you dare to be free. Don’t hate them but pity them and keep your head held high.
So that was my input for Bullying awareness week. It is longer than I was planning it to be but I hope that it helps someone out there.
Until next time!