Dictionary.com defines bullying: to hurt, intimidate, or persecute (a weaker or smaller person). I was -and maybe still am - a weaker smaller person. I was bullied in school. I realized this weekend that I'm still being bullied.
I moved to Apache Junction during 5th grade. I was a petite, very nerdy little girl who loved school. I was that kid that drew sad faces on the calendar on school holidays. I didn’t have cool clothes. I was shy. I was one of the poorer students. Of course I got picked on. But it didn’t turn into full on bullying until eighth grade.
Eighth grade had been a good year. I was a cheerleader. I had a great best friend. And then it all fell to pieces. My memory has huge gaps (side effect of all the meds I’ve tried for my bipolar disorder over the years?), but unfortunately I remember the fear. My best friend was hanging out with someone new a lot. Boys were in the picture. She asked me if I thought she was a slut. I told her no, but she was starting to act like one of the more slutty girls we knew. That somehow turned into I’d said she was a slut like the triplets – the most popular (and mean) girls in school. I was so afraid to go to school I made a very juvenile attempt to slit my wrists. I went to the principal. Nothing changed. The next two years of my life were hell.
The bullying didn’t stop completely, but I was no longer afraid to leave my house. I was done crying between classes, rushing and trying to find the shortest distance away from my bullies. My junior year I was confronted at the mall. I blacked out again. I’m not really sure what happened, although I apparently responded with some not very nice things that resulted in her punching me. That was the final straw for me and I packed up and moved to California to live with my mom.
I'm 38 years old now. Up to about a year ago I still had nightmares at least twice a month. I'd wake up filled with fear and have to remind myself it's been over for a long time. This weekend the nightmares came back. And that, I'm afraid, is a blog for another day...