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Thursday, July 5, 2012

Bullied Teen; Bullied Adult


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.


What the hell was I thinking?! Yes, let's chop off all my hair, wear dorky glasses and take a picture
wearing a t-shirt, where something looks very wrong with my legs. 

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.

OMFG. Really?! How did I have any friends - or a boyfriend, ever?
My freshmen year was a nightmare, and the beginning of my sophomore year wasn’t much better. I was bullied everywhere I went.  If I walked home from school, people threw things out bus windows at me. If I rode the bus, they’d walk by my seat and slam my head against the window. I was picked on in the locker room during PE. They made me cry between classes. Lunch was the worst as I tried to find a place to hide and be left alone.  I was deemed a slut before I’d ever even had sex. If by chance I found a guy interested despite their best intentions to ruin my life, he was quickly persuaded away by one of their group.  A boyfriend even got me to a dance so the girls could corner me while he dumped me and left with one of them.  At the movies I was chased into a nearby store where the employees were nice enough to let me call my parents to pick me up.  Going to school officials was useless.  Most “friends” I trusted were persuaded to join the band wagon and betray and hurt me.  All I had ever wanted was to be like them. Smart, pretty, funny, popular – and not afraid all the time.

Nerdy high school me. I'm pretty sure I had a perm in this picture.
The majority of the bullying ended my sophomore year when enough was enough.  The bus drove by, one of the main bullies yelling out the window, and I yelled back! Doesn’t sound like much, but I hadn’t done it before. I’d always just quietly taken the abuse, usually in tears. I went home, told my dad I was likely getting in a fight the next day, and went to bed. The next day, sure enough, she came up and got in my face. But this time I didn’t cry. I didn’t back down. I didn’t run away. I talked back. She swung at me. That’s the last thing I remember of the “fight”.  I blacked out. The next thing I knew, we were each being held back by teachers and our parents were on their way. My dad took me to the doctor since she’d slammed my head against the metal door guard. The school tried to expel me and my dad went off on them for letting me go through years of hell and for trying to punish a straight A student with no incidents before this who had finally stood up for herself.  

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...

And here is me today. Still kinda nerdy. Hair kinda messy.


9 comments:

  1. Living well is the best revenge. And you look beautiful. High school was probably the high point of the bullies' lives. I firmly believe in Karma - they will get theirs in the end.

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    1. I do, too. Part of me wants to go to the reunion just to see them!

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  2. *sigh!* Oh, Sweetie, big hugs... You didn't deserve it. You still don't deserve it. Stand tall, head held high...

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  3. Short Nerd in HSJuly 5, 2012 at 7:33 PM

    Sounds like my HS life, just mine wasn't quite as bad. Always the shortest one innuendo class, never a girlfriend(they liked me as a "friend").

    I was lucky in that I was pretty good in the sorts I played(nerdy sports soccer and tennis) but never ever ever would I go back to HS.

    Luckily you turned out like you are, smart and beautiful. Guarantee those chicks are on welfare with their seven kids

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    1. Lol! Thanks for the comment. Things were much better when I moved. I became a cheerleader again, joined student council,etc. I wasn't popular,but I wasn't bullied. I wasn't afraid to go to school or leave the house. A lot of people thought I was a snob, though, because I was pretty shy and still afraid to talk to people. Kind of still am that way, in person! A few of the girls -not the meanest ones but the ones who I thought were my friends and who I really just wanted to be like - apologized eventually.

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  4. wow. kids...kids can be mean. and ugly. but, just like adults, they're lashing out at what they are insecure about within themselves. that by no means makes it right, just...maybe takes the personal aspect out of it a little.

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    1. Kids can really be awful - if I had the opportunity to be in school again, I wouldn't take it.

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  5. I was bullied mercilessly in school. I was a military brat and always had such hope in the prospect of moving away from those kids. Luck would usually have that at least one of them moved to the same post at the same time. From there it would start again. Bullying leaves marks forever. It seems that those who have never been through it think we should just be over it. That the kids behaved that way for some reason. That it doesn't have a lasting effect. I sometimes wonder if maybe those people were the ones doing the bullying during their own childhood. Kudos to you for sticking up for yourself and sharing your story with us. You inspire. :)

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    1. I'm so sorry you also had to deal with bullying! I was lucky that for me moving did mean a fresh start - it was probably one of the best decisions I ever made in my life. Thank you for your comment - it means a lot to me.

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