Thursday, October 6, 2011

Bullied Berea

If I wasn't going to an awesome college to get what I think is an awesome degree to have an awesome career, I would highly reconsider my future. I would spend time being an advocate for bullied kids. If I could save one kid from the torment I went through, I would in a heartbeat.
I am very passionate about the topic of bullied kids.....because I've been there. I've never talked about it in much detail because part of me believed it was all my fault and I've tried blocking the memories, but some things don't fade. Here's my story:

Until high school, I was the ugly duckling, the runt, the scapegoat. It started in kindergarten, from what I remember. I was 5-6 years old. I lived in a rural Oklahoma town of less than 1,500 people and 1 sq mile. I wasn't born there, so I was the new girl, a new face, competition. I was judged from the beginning by my 5 and 6 year old classmates.

The Spice Girls came out with their hit song "Wannabe" in 1996, my kindergarten year. My classmates idolized them. They began to pretend they were the Spice girls, the 5 popular girls that is. I wanted to be cool and fit in and be friends with these girls that were bratty little 5 year olds. So, I wanted to be a Spice Girl, but there was no one left to be. In consequence, they thought it would be a great idea for me to be their maid. They would pretend I was a sink, and spit on me and make me carry their things. They would call me the ugly one because I was the maid and couldn't be as pretty as them. I wouldn't get to play with them 'cause they said the maid couldn't do that. I would push them on the marry-go-round and be the last to go down the slide. Ya, stupid childish things, but at that point in my life, those were the important things. It continued through second grade and I somewhat got used to the agony. I would still cry most nights..
For the third grade, my dad took a job in Kansas. Another rural town, a step up from Oklahoma in the sense the population was 2,500 and a little over 3 sq. miles. I was excited to start new. New people that didn't know of my past being bullied or knew I was an easy target. It didn't take too long for them to catch on. It was mostly them making fun of my clothes or who I talked to. I had a little bit better of a reputation because my brother was loved by all and my mom worked in the school district. I gained a couple close friends that didn't make fun of me, but I was still vulnerable and got harassed. I remember multiple occasions wanting to move, crying after school, hating my classmates SO much. It was simple things like not getting invited to birthday parties or getting Christmas presents or sitting by certain people at lunch. Small things, but as a kid those are important in daily life. I would lie if I said I never wanted to kill one of them or kill myself so they wouldn't have to deal with me like I was a huge pain in their life. We slowly grew up and I could stand up for myself or talk back with the same nastiness they used on me. I realized those kids weren't my real friends but I always worried about what they thought of me. I became self conscious.

My freshman year of high school my dad took a job in Wisconsin. It tore me apart to know I'd have to start the process all over and leave some people that had really helped me grow up and stay strong. Sheboygan Falls, WI was about 7,000 people and right next to the much bigger town of Sheboygan. My freshman year was rough because I became friends with not the best crowd. The school was bigger and I had already missed half a year of sports so I didn't meet people through sports teams. The best thing was the kids going to high school there had come from a few different middle schools so even they didn't all know each other. I went through some road bumps of finding my friends and fitting in, but it all came together. Girls being girls, I still wasn't invited to all the fun sleepovers or shopping trips, but I had a closer group of friends I could do stuff with. I was happier. High school ended and I couldn't have been happier. I'd done a lot of growing. I had a great background of friends. Some people I'd never have to see again. I left with a boyfriend. I was seen as a young woman, not an ugly runt. No one knew my brother and still liked me for me. And I still am thankful for my best friend from high school, she gets me through a lot.

Point of the story: I was bullied and understand what the kids that have killed themselves went through. I HATE that the teachers stood around as if nothing was wrong. The kids that bully are the popular kids who never get in trouble. I hated school for the reason of knowing that each day would bring new criticism. I'm partly mad at my parents for seeing my struggle and not knowing what to do.

Moving might have been the best thing emotionally for me.

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