“If you’re alive, there’s a purpose for your life.” -Rick Warren
To the Bullied Kid,
You are not alone. In fact, they say that one out of every five students is reported as being bullied, and those are just the “reported” cases. Which they say only 36% of children report being bullied, leading a whopping 64% unnoticed.
I was one of those kids. I was just like you. You may have a hard time believing it, but it’s true. It still brings up bad memories of school. My husband and I recently started talking about it again after watching a very provocative show called “13 Reasons Why.” It is a Netflix original about a high school student who commits suicide, but before she does, she leaves behind 13 tapes for each person she felt had some responsibility in her death. The show was emotionally intense. It made me think about my own experiences in school and how I made it out alive and well, which I will get to a bit later. But it also made me realize that whatever I did experience, the times have only gotten worse. With youth being able to access so much at just the tips of their fingers, it makes a parents job even harder.
So how can we protect you? My parents couldn’t keep me from being bullied. It first started in the 7th grade for me. Girls were mean. One stupid rumor about me kissing another girl spread ramped throughout the entire school. I might add this was before Katy Perry’s song “I kissed a girl.” Before it was ok, or dare I say even cool, for a girl to be kissing another girl. I went home that day and cried my eyes out. My reputation was ruined. I felt as though I had no friends that were willing to stand up for me, or to even stand next to me. I felt alone, just like you.
The teasing continued, as it usually does and the wounds grew deeper. Girls with boyfriends often talked about their make-out sessions in front of me laughing that I didn’t know the sexual terms they were using. Once even telling me the definition of a “B.J.” then snickering and chaffing me because of my ignorance. Maybe I was nieve, but at that age wasn’t I supposed to be? Do you ever wonder why these kids know so much so soon? And why do they feel like it’s their job to make others feel intimidated by their lack of “worldly exposure?”
That wasn’t the end of my bullying. My story goes on, just as I’m sure yours does as well. In the beginning I was able to talk to my mom about things, but as time went on I no longer felt like anyone could really understand what it was like in my shoes. No one walked the halls as me. No one hid in the bathroom during lunch with me. I hid it all pretty well; a stellar student academically, active in my community, extra curricular activities with dance, drama and singing. And yet, alone.
Once in high school I realized I didn’t fit into one particular group, I wasn’t a “jock” or a “computer nerd,” I wasn’t a cheerleader and definitely not popular enough to be nominated for the homecoming court. I never had the courage to run for student office, in fact, I reveled in the once a month drama meetings at lunch just so I would have somewhere to go.How to overcome being bullied...click to read more #stopbullying #endsuicide Click To Tweet
So how did I manage? How did I make it out alive? I am not 100% sure, but I do know this, because I had a passion, which was performing, I think it saved me from a lot of bad decisions. Not that I was ever invited to any parties in High School, but I suppose I could have found my way there, invite or not. My dancing was everything to me. It was my ticket out of our little town that held no promise for me. It was my light at the end of the tunnel. I also had a supportive family, which can make a world of difference to a young teen. I was able to stick out High School (barely) and leave on a one way flight to dance school. I was given a fresh start, a do-over. No one knew who I was or what my past had been. Would I be exempt from being bullied ever again, no, but I had hope. Hope that God would lead me in the direction where my story would help others.
And that is where I am today, right now. I am here to tell you life isn’t perfect, nor is it promised it would be without its bumps and bruises. I was still bullied in college by another very mean girl, a roommate in fact, that made me fear to come home. You may be looking for this magical ending, but it’s not always about the destination but the journey. If I had never gone through those experiences I would never be able to write to you from the heart of someone who had been bullied. I am a living, breathing example that what people say or do to you doesn’t make you who you are. One day I will be able to share these stories with my own children and teach them compassion and understanding for all kinds of people. Just because you may not be the person being the bully doesn’t mean you are not contributing to the bullying. As we saw in “13 Reasons Why” sometimes not doing anything at all is JUST AS BAD.
“We are products of our past, but we don’t have to be prisoners of it.” -Rick Warren
So to you, the bullied kid, know this; you are SPECIAL, you are LOVED and you are NOT ALONE. If you don’t know where to go or who to talk to, start with just writing down your feelings. I know for me it always helps to gain clarity on a situation. Try to include a list of all the things you love; a sport, art, writing, a musical instrument, fashion, photography, whatever it may be, try to focus your attention on the positive things you have in your life. Once you have your thoughts think about sharing it with someone, anyone, even if its an anonymous hotline (1-800-273-8255 – The National Suicide Prevention Hotline). Consider an adult, a teacher you might trust, a coach, a pastor, or I know this might sound crazy, but maybe even your parents, because guess what, we love you more than you will ever realize.
Know that where you are in life in just the beginning. Weather you are in elementary school, jr. high, high school, college, or even in the work force, your life is only at the beginning credits. Your movie is yet to be played out. Don’t let the bully write your movie for you, it is far too great of a story to be ruined by someone that may just be insecure themselves. Go write your movie and make it epic, one that you will be proud to share with your own children some day.
A Bullied Survivor