Last week Louisa from Everything Is Edible wrote this heartfelt post called Unwelcome about her personal experience with bullying and her fears for her children. It was something that spoke loudly to me and before I knew it I had a very long comment that had turned into my own story. A story I am going to share with you today.
Growing up I was bullied pretty badly.
I was the person that people would invite into their friendship group only to pick on or to get something from.
I remember times where people would ask me to sit with them at lunch, I would feel really excited to not have to sit by myself, only for them to all stare at me and ask me a million questions and laugh at my answers. To bait me to make a fool of myself basically. Only I wasn't. I was being me, and they just decided that whatever "me" was, would be the most daggy thing of the moment. Or they would only talk to me if they wanted something, answers to the homework, or someone to do something for them, I even recall times where people would ask me to spend my canteen money on them so I could be their friend for the day.
Much like my adulthood I wasn't an emotional child. I held it all in hoping that eventually I would "pass their tests", that I would be deemed "friend worthy". I said nothing to anyone and it broke me in many ways.
People don't see those cracks on the inside though.
I have a wicked sense of humour so it got a little better in high school. I had to turn a blind eye to a lot, but my younger years had trained me for that. I learnt to be a chameleon.
The sad thing is that at 14 I realised that all these people, they weren't "friends" just faces in my life, and I completely disconnected. I became reckless and mysterious.
Now I don't know how to make friends. I don't know how to be a friend. I basically have no social awareness. I say the wrong things, I do the wrong things, even though I'm trying so hard to get it right.
For me, I am honest, I am trustworthy, I am loyal, but I am also unfiltered, intense, and impulsive.
I have never admitted aloud to anyone the sheer relief I feel in being the mother of boys.
Bullying does still scare me because I know it can happen to boys too. Like when it was happening to Bluey earlier this year I was dying on the inside. I wanted to go down to the school and shake that kid and shout "What the fuck do you think you are doing hurting another child!"
Still it takes the edge off to think that I don't have a daughter who will have exactly the same experience. An experience I wouldn't be able to guide her in because I don't know what to do.
I am all to aware of bullying though, and I am hard on my kids about being kind to others. I feel utter despair to think that they may make someone else feel how I was made to feel.
That they may have to go through what I did.
That they may be told to "toughen up" or to "get over it" like I have many times.
Bullying it scars. Scars don't heal, they only fade.