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I Was Bullied (And So Were You)

I was bullied pretty heavily in middle school. Words like fatass, freak, midget, uni (short for unibrow... they weren’t too original), and worse weren’t new to my ears. These girls convinced me they were my friends. They convinced me that they were making me stronger. By high school I grew into my nose, waxed my eyebrows, lost some weight, and grew a few inches. They began to leave me alone, and I found friends in high school who, like myself, were bullied. They understood me, and that’s how we bonded. So I haven’t been bullied since high school started, and I’m entering my junior year.

Being a non-victim in high school, I've learned a few things.

1. Being the non-victim is second best. Be the person who steps in. Non-victim, person who steps in, bystander, bully, victim. That’s the hierarchy.
2. If you don't stand up for yourself, you're not only the victim, you're the bystander too.
3. Bullying doesn't just happen in schools. Bullying happens in government. If you're the bystander, you're as bad as the bully.
4. Make sure people remember your name: for stepping in. Do you remember the names of all the people who have bullied you? First and last? Of course you do. We'll never forget those names. They're etched into our minds. They made fun of us and gave us black eyes. They sent us home in tears and we had to make up excuses so our moms didn’t know we were being bullied. Stephanie and Amy made me feel awful. Stella stood idly by. And eventually, Carrie helped me realize that I should have, and could have, stood up for myself. When I step in, and believe me I do, I only hope my name will be remembered as that girl who stepped in.
5. Even though bullying extends far from the hallways, so does being the bigger person. That's me, that's you, and that's what you can teach the people around you. We're all equal, and no one deserves the pain of being bullied.
6. Stand up, speak out. Always.



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