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My story of bullying -
In elementary school, life was lived as a fairytale. School was exciting, I looked forward to going each day. Especially when I met my first grade teacher. She was, and still is my inspiration for being a teacher. She tought us everything from the alphabet to forming small words, to even teaching us that school is a place that kids should feel safe, respected, and be able to learn. Every grade up from there was still great. I made good grades, due to the fact that the school would do anything to make sure that every kid was taken care of one hundred percent. I was also involved in girl scouts and cheerleading. Life was care-free. Of course, now and then, kids would be mean. Learning how to take an insult or a rude remark from a classmate is just a part of life that everyone will have to face eventually.
The summer after graduating from elementary school, my parents were faced with a decision. They were unsure of what middle school I would attend. Of course all of my friends were going to the town's middle school, however my sister had attended that middle school, and had quite a few problems. Nothing too major though. The school just did not have the best reputation for taking care of problems between students. They weighed out the decision of which school I would go to, and we decided on the middle school that everyone else was going to because of the high cost of private schools.
The first week of middle school, I quickly realized that I just simply did not fit in with the same group of friends from elementary school any longer. I don't know why, we just lost the connection that we've had for most of our lives. I started to break free of them, and I found a new
group of friends. Their style of clothing was just a little bit different then what I was used to wearing. Basiclly, gothic. I quickly changed my style to this, simply just to fit in. My family hated it. I felt as if they were embaressed of me, as if they didn't like me anymore, but school seemed more important. In reality, it's basiclly your second home. You need to fit in. I disreguarded my family's concerns. They soonly met my new friends. I could see the look of fear on my mother's face. She knew these weren't the people I should be hanging out with. She knew, my dad knew, and so did the rest of my family. Did I listen? Not at all. All it led to was fighting with my parents, telling them that these were the only people who will accept me. My parents did allow me to see and hang out with my friends, although I knew that they were keeping a very close eye on me. I grew close with a few girls in particular. Especially one friend. We became extremely close. I'd spend most days with her, and we'd have a lot of fun together. Looking back at it now, I know why my parents worried, we would walk around on the streets for hours and hang out at corner stores. It seems rediculous now, but we had nothing better to do. It was quite obvious that our family's were from different places. Our house was kept together, and our family had few problems. Her's and the rest of my friends had different styles of living. For the most part, their families had many problems. Some of my friends were smokers and some worse. Some friends would smoke marijuana to escape from problems. We were from two different worlds but in the same town.
I then entered seventh grade, with no problems under my belt. Althought my friends were not up to my parents expectations, everything was going smoothly. Seventh grade began like sixth, it was fine. I was having good times with friends, going to the mall and the movies like all other teenagers. and I hadn't picked up bad habits that I believe my parents had expected me to, no smoking, no drugs or drinking. I was a perfectly good kid. I still had no regrets about going to school there and I thought I had really great friends.
This may seem like a small detail to most people, but it becamebigger deal then a typical teenage relationship. I met one of my guy friend's brothers. He was a grade ahead of me and he seemed so nice. We quickly became friends and then started "going out". I loved spending time with him because I always had such a good time, and all of my friends were also his friends. Everything was going perfect, way too perfect. About six month months into this relationship, I was out to dinner with my family, and i received a phone call from one of my girl friends. She said that she saw one of my close friends kissing my boyfriend earlier that day. I felt heartbroken. I asked her about it about two days later because she had been avoiding me. She said it was true and that she was sorry. I forgave her because I didn't want drama to arise. Then, a few weeks later, with no talking, my boyfriend, or ex boyfriend, I'm not sure what we were concidered at that time, he asked me if I was okay and if I wanted to continue with the relationship. I said yes, as long as he cut off communication with my friend. He told me that he couldn't do that because she was one of his best friends. Little did I know, that would be only the first time that I would go to guidance, crying and calling my mom to come pick me up. I decided that I could no longer be friends with the girl because she had proved to me that I was not important to her and that she was a bad friend. I then decided to break free of the clothing choices I had been making for the past two years, which aggrivated people to begin with. The fact that I was no longer just like them.
The next day I went to school, thinking that it would be just a regular day at school. I couldn't be more wrong. My friends were no longer my friends. They were all Brittany's friend, the girl who I decided not to be friends with any longer because of the boyfriend situation. My friends were gone. I sat alone at lunch that day, which made me feel more than pathetic. I thought it would blow over in a day or two, because to be honest, I had no idea what I had done wrong. I went home and acted like nothing had happened because I was so sure that things would return to normal soon enough. The ignorance continued for a few more days. I finally went home and told my mom. I was crying. I didn't know what I had done to make everyone hate me. A few days ago I thought everything was perfect. My mom then tought me one of the most important things that she ever tought me, and it was that you don't always have to do something. It was about a week and a half before school ended when the name-calling and threatening would begin. I went into school, greatful that their was about seven days until summer, when walking down the hallway turned into hell. I got mean glares and cruel names. There was also about three horrible rumors going around the school about me, that I had no idea about. These were the most hurtful things that I had ever heard. I went to the principal and told him what was going on, even though I wasn't very comfortable talking to him about what the rumor concerned. I was basiclly told to get over it. After that, I went to the nurse that day and said that I needed to go home. My mom left work, and came to pick me up.
I cried for hours that night. My family and I were basiclly greatful that school was almost over for the year. My mom's job at the time was caring for a wonderful lady who had cancer. She was in very critical condition at the time and needed my moms undivided attention. However, every day for the rest of the school year, my mom needed to come get me at school because I simply couldn't handle it. I would come home and their would be threats and insults on my instant messenger. Myself, my dogs, and my family were being threatened. I was told to watch my dogs because they would be killed. I began not sleeping at night and always crying. The school year was over. My parents called every private school in the area but every school was full. There was no way out.
It was by far the lonliest summer I ever lived. I had no friends. As companionship, my parents got me a boxer puppy, Billy, who became my baby and best friend. He occupied most of my summer because he required so much care. We honestly believe that he was the hardest puppy in the world to train, he ate two couches, part of a wall and everything else. He was all I had besides my family and I was okay with that.
I even went to the mall with one of the last friends I had. It was a disaster. I got names screamed at me there as well. While in a store with my friend, I saw two of the girls outside and they began to scream horrible things, like in school. I went home and cried because I felt so trapped. I was embarresed and scared. I felt so hated.
When the time for school rolled around again, I was dreading it and so were my parents. They didn't want to send me back. I cried every night as it got closer and closer. The threats were not subsiding. We scheduled and appointment at the school and we brought print outs of the instant messaging attacks. The school read them over and appeared to be appauled that students were capable of saying these things at age 13 and 14. We talked for about an hour. My parents told the principals that my self-esteem couldn't take this torment anymore and that it was necassary to stop. The school told us that nothing could be done through the school with the online bullying, and that we could take them to the police department. Although, the school assured us that I wouldn't be hurt or harrassed in school any longer and that I would be kept seperate from these girls. On the way home, we did stop at the police department. There, we got the same useless answer that we got from the school. That nothing could be done, however the police officer suggested that my parents stop by the main bully' house, and show her parents the print-outs of threats.
I remember sitting in the car infront of the house, terrified that this would make everything worse, that I would be concidered a complete wimp for having my parents do this, but I don't think the decision was up to me anyway, they were going to do this. They knew that this needed to stop. My dad got out of the car and my mom stayed with me. There was three cars in the driveway. I watched my dad walk up to the door and knock. Nothing. I watched him knock again and wait. And wait. He gave up. There was obviously people home but no one would answer. It makes you wonder if these parents don't care about their kids that much.
We then drove to the next girl's house, my ex best friend. One car was there, which was typical of the family as I remembered. My mom tried to knock and my dad stayed with me. No one answered, however my mom left the print-outs in the mailbox. No one ever responded to the obvious message. That answered my question, these parents really didn't care about their kids that much.
I went to school on the first day, with the outlook that I would try to make new friends and talk to as many people as I could. I did, and before I knew it, the torment broke out again. The girls made sure that everyone hated me so that it was impossible to make new friends. People I didn't even know, knew things about me that had never happened or that I had never said. The online torment got worse. It soon spread to phone harrassment, and before I knew it, they were looking for me outside of my house. I no longer felt safe going to school because I was told that I was going to get jumped or worse. I would leave early almost every day. When I would get home, it would be just as bad because I always felt depressed.
This went on from September to the middle of November. I couldn't endure it anymore. We needed to do something. My parents took me to our family doctor, and I was declared as depressed. My mom took me by surprise, and asked the doctor for a note to be taught from home because she knew her daughter couldn't take anymore. We got turned down. Many people said "Taking her out of the school is only teaching her to run away." What else could I do? I was hated by everyone and I never knew if I was going to come home okay. I went to school on a Tuesday, not knowing that this would be my last day at school. My old best friend that I mentioned earlier in the book, confronted me at my locker. I forget the exact words that were said, but before I knew it, I was shoved on the ground being punched and kicked. There was a ton of people around but not one helped or called for help. They liked it. When it was finally over, a bracket had been knocked out of my braces and my neck hurt really bad. I was instructed to go to guidance. While walking down the hallway, I was pointed and laughed at. One girl said "Wheres your mom now, she can't protect you now, huh?" Instead of going to guidance, because that had been no help before, I went to my seventh grade english teacher. I cried to her and told her what had happened. She took me down to guidance and from there I was put in a room for about three hours, with no phone to call my parents, and I had no cell phone service. They said this was because they liked to get the story straight before parents were called. Who were they to not let me call my mom? I needed her. Finally, after the principal heard "their side" of the story, they let me call her. I told my mom that it finally happened, that they finally got me. As strange as it sounds, I was relieved. I was relieved that I no longer had to worry about what was going to happen at school, because it happened, it was done. My mom came and picked me up, of course flipping out at the school because of that "promise" that I would never be hurt in school. She took me to the police department to file another complaint. We were basiclly told that we could have a peer mediation with the girls, but nothing more. We didn't bother.
I remember sitting by the basement door that night, listening to my parent's conversation. All I kept hearing was "We can't send her back there. It's not right" or "What t we do? There's no other options. When they concluded, they told me that I didn't have to to school the next day. I knew I had to, everyone would know I was scared. Plus, how much worse could it of gotten? I had already been beaten up, mentally and physically. I went to school the next day, and my mom hugged me and told me to call her if I needed her, which she would do every day, and every day I would call her.
My parents kept me home the next week or so, picking up my work at school so that I didn't fall behind. We decided that there was no going back. By this point, I was having such bad headaches from stress that I didn't sleep at night and I was always dizzy and sick. We scheduled an appointment at a neurologist. We talked to that doctor, he also took me in a seperate room, asked me questions, then concluded that I was depressed. He decided that it wasn't fair to send me back to school because I would only become more depressed and that the headaches would not subside . He is my hero. For the rest of the year, from November on, I was homeschooled. A teacher from my school would come three times a week, for one hour, and bring me work from school. This is the year of my life that I say I lost. When the other kids were going to the eighth grade dance and graduation, I couldnt. I can't lie, I love spending the extra time with my mom, but it got old really fast. After about two weeks of not going to school, it became frustrating. I had no desire to go back, trust me. But I desired normalness. Nothing was normal anymore.
I was still getting internet torment and prank phone calls, but the worst was over. I knew that there no going back there. And to be honest, they had tore me down as much as they could. I knew my parents were taking me to a better place soon and this would all be a part of the past. I even got a part time job at a pizza place to keep me busy. It was great interacting with some other people. Life was improving.
In April of my eighth grade year, my parents put the house up for sale. We thought it would sell quickly because we had a beautiful house. My parents already knew where we wanted to move, it was about fourty minutes away. I couldn't wait. We would go through open houses and showings so many times, but the house just wouldn't sell. My parents didn't know what to do if the house didn't sell by September. A few months went by, and we had a few offers that came through, but every single one of them fell through. We were devistated. In August, we knew we were in trouble. I had no where to go to school. I had two options, go to the highschool with the people who tormented me in middle school, or move in with my aunt and uncle in the school district that I needed to be in. They agreed to let me stay there for part of the week. When I was there, I missed my family and my dogs. When I'd go home, I would drive with my dad to my bus stop, having to leave an hour early in the morning. My mom would have to come pick me up at school at the end of the day and wasted a ton of money on gas. She worked a job that she hated just to pay for gas to pick me up and then drive me to friend's houses on the weekends. I felt horrible but there was nothing we could do, I was already in school and loving it. It was wonderful going to a new school, being involved in clubs, and meeting the greatest friends ever. I love(ed) all of my teachers, too. My english teacher that I have had for the past two years in highschool has been another inspiration that I want to become a teacher, and also who will help me write this book.
So yes, as of right now, I concider myself to be at one of the best highschools in the state, and I sincerely believe that to get to where I am now, I needed to go through all of that. I believe that the people who put me through all of that, even though it was hard, have changed me for the better. Each and every one of them had torn me down but my parents, my new friends, and even myself, have built me back up. I'm a stronger person now because of all this and I feel so incredibly sorry for anyone who has to endure being tortured by kids their own age.
I want to get it out there that when you make a hurtful comment to someone, you may go home and live your life as you normally would, not even thinking about what you said, but there is a chance that the person on the other side went home and cried, cut themselves or worse. You don't know the impact you can have on people.
I feel as though a year and a half of my life was completely stolen by this group of people. I have no happy memories from this time period, however I'm sure they do. I'm sure that they do not know the impact they had on my life, and until now I was not ready to give them the , satisfaction of knowing it.
In my opinion, internet bullying is one of the worst kinds of bulliying, why would you want to send someone something, that when they open it, you could make them want to die? Why would you want to make someone wish they were dead, just by typing one sentence? I would also get the same advice and it would be this, "Just don't read anything they send you." On instant messangers, which is what most people use, it just pops up right on your screen. You have no choice of what comes up on there, and yes, you read it. You don't want to, but you do. If you can't say anything nice online, don't say anything at all, because you don't see the crying reaction of the person on the other side.
As for in school bullying, don't let it happen. It's the most stomach-turning feeling I've ever experienced. In school, people shouldn't be worried about walking through the hallway next period, thinking about what name they'll be called next. Kids should be able to learn and have a good time in. In school, you should be able to excel, test yourself of what your maximum goals can be. My advice to anyone that is being bullyed in school, find one teacher who you feel really comfortable talking to, and let them know what's going on. Whenever anything happens, tell them. Listen to their advice. If they tell you to go to guidance, do it. Tell people what's going on. It won't always get better, fix it before it gets worse. Talking to someone won't make the situation worse, it will help, even if it gets worse before it gets better, it will get better.
If at any time in your life, you do feel as though you are unnaccepted by the people around you, something that I do not advise you to do is to try to find someone or people that do accept you. Chances are, if you try to find someone that in your mind, accepts you, you will probably be lowering your standards and possibly putting your guard down. Don't put yourself into a situation that you aren't completely comfortable with. People can sense vulnerability in people, and can try to use that to their advantage.
Another subject that I'd like to touch on is what I said early in the book. It's what my mom tells me time and time again. She gave me this answer quite frequently during all of this, and still gives me this answer time to time. It's the answer to the question of "What did I do to deserve this?" Her answer is "You don't always have to do something." Its the truth. I did nothing to deserve the hell that I went through. People don't always have a reason, and sometimes they have a stupid reason, like over a boyfried or a girlfriend, or over jealousy or even or something as simple as clothing. It doesn't always have to be your fault, and from experience, I know that you blame yourself sometimes for things that are out of your control.
As mentioned in the previous paragraph, jealousy could be a vengeance towards cruelity. What I mean by that is people will be mean if they are jealous of you or one of your friends. Expect it and embrace it. Jealousy could range from any type of thing from your house, family, friends, dating a guy that someone else likes, your hair, ANYTHING. Some people can get jealous and keep it to themselves, but other people get jealous, get mad, and try to make you miserable. You can't let them win. Be confident and stick to your roots.
If I had a chance to give a teenager one piece of advice, I would choose to say this, "Be yourself and don't change for anybody." Once you change yourself, whether it be to impress someone or to fit in, you lose yourself. You can easily lose who you were before you changed yourself to fit in. Trust me, it's really hard to find the person underneath the fakeness, and it takes a lot of braveness to get back to yourself, and it can create drama. If you dress in trendy, pretty clothes, and you meet a guy you really like that dresses more like a skater, don't change yourself to a skater, that's not you. People aren't blind, they will see why you changed and they will use it against you.