Bullying comes in many different forms. Emotional. Physical. Verbal. Cyber. Mental. The list goes on and on. At one point or another, we will all have felt like we have been effected by at least one of these types of bullying. I for sure know I have, at least 4 of these categories.
But first, before we get onto my experience, let me ask. What do you, personally, class as “bullying”. Is it something as simple as saying a small harmless insult at someone? Or is it something more extreme, like throwing a punch? Of course, if it is at the stage of physical violence, then it is, at least in my eyes, 100% classed as bullying. However, when it comes to emotional/verbal/cyber/mental bullying, the answer is there is no right answer. Everyone is different. You might not class saying a certain thing as bullying, but the person its being said too, or really anyone around at the time, might class it as bullying. Its such a thin yet vast vail as tho what is and isn’t bullying, some people don’t really realise how/if what they’re saying will affect someone.
It goes without saying that everyones experience is different, and can either affect them for a day, or the rest of their lives. To this day I still think about my experience, but, I try to think about how it changed me positively, making me a stronger person.
When I was a kid, I wasn’t the most popular, despite how much I strived to be, because at that age, I thought all the crap mattered. News flash, it doesn’t. I was, and still am, a bit of a geek. I don’t conform to how society things I should act or display myself. Looking back at my younger self, I never have, and for that I was ridiculed.
I was laughed at for being an outcast, and I do genuinely believe thats why I was so scared to come out as gay in high school, because of not only the city I lived in, but the people I was surrounded by constantly. Sure, I had an amazing group of friends in high school, and I still value their friendship, regardless if I’m still close to them or not.
But, back to my experience of bullying. There are a few incidents I remember very vividly. My first memory is probably my first month or so of high school. I had my friends from primary school but obviously there was new people in my classes etc. I was in french class, and was walking to my table and someone was walking to the front of the class and barged past me saying “get out my way you f*****g geek”. I really don’t know why that particular instance has stayed in my mind, but it did, and I can’t believe that 1 – I let someone speak to me like that and not defend myself, and 2 – Someone just said that for absolutely no reason, especially cause we were like 11/12 years old at the time.
The most, I guess the best word for it is memorable, the most memorable time of getting bullied is probably when I was around 15 years old, or maybe just turned 16, it was around that time anyways. But yeah, here’s what happened, let me paint you a picture.
This was back when I was still living at home, in Dundee, and I had just been bowling with my friends, and I get a message on MSN (msn… what a throwback) from this girl and she’s like “So my friend said they seen you kissing a guy on Saturday in Fintry”. Now I was still very much in the closet at this point, and I remember my heart pounding when she said this, but, I wasn’t even in my hometown when this had allegedly occurred, so I immediately dismissed it, which then cause the girl to get really defensive. Said I was calling her friend a liar and this, that and the next thing, all because I said it wasn’t me, which it wasn’t. After some more back and forth of saying it wasn’t me and the girl getting defensive, she then proceeded to say something I will NEVER FORGET.
“Yeah whatever, you’re just a loser with only one ball hahahahah absolute freak”
Earlier that year I had been diagnosed with testicular cancer, and had had surgery to remove the tumour, which also meant removing the testicle. This had only happened about 3 months previously so I still wasn’t in the best emotional state about the whole situation, so this comment just sent my emotions pretty much into disarray.
What possesses someone to say something like that? Safe to say, that at that moment, I lost my absolute s**t. I think it was at that moment that I realised that I couldn’t let people walk all over me, treat me like a piece of trash any more. I needed to stand up for myself, and I did, and have continued too every day since.
In a way, I am glad that this was said to me. It made me a much stronger person, and is probably one of the most defining moments of my entire life. Sure, being able to stick up for myself completely took time, and there were times were I just let things slide or didn’t react because I just didn’t know how, but now, 7 years later, I can honestly say that I take no crap from anyone, no one gets the opportunity to walk over me.
I think that what is such a big issue with bullying, is that people don’t really know how to stand up for themselves, or are too scared too. I’m not gonna be condescending and say its a simple thing to just stand up against someone thats bullying you, cause it isn’t, it takes work to build up the courage to say “you know what, f**k you, I’m not someone you can just speak to like a piece of trash”.
I know people that are my age, or even a little older, that still allow this to happen to them, and let me tell you, NO ONE, I repeat, NO ONE, has the permission to bully you in any way shape or form. The best advice I can give anyone who is too scared to stand up and say no, is to find someone you are close with, someone you trust, and just practice. It sounds so stupid, but, practicing and imagining standing up for yourself, will help when the real time comes.
If you stand up for yourself, show the bullies that you are a force to be reckoned with, they will eventually leave you alone. Parents and adults probably say “just don’t pay attention to the, and they will go away” and that is utterly false. Unless you stand up for yourself its going to keep happening, again and again. It will never stop.
I know thats one of the biggest reasons as to why my dad is a hero to me. He takes absolutely no crap from anyone, ever, and I think seeing him like that is what helped shape me into the man I am. I honestly would not be the strong, confident person I am today if it wasn’t for the bullying I endured.
With that being said, sometimes isn’t actually noticeable that you’re being bullied. It sounds insane, but its true. Some people have a way of working into your subconscious, saying the odd comment here or there that, at the time, seem really insignificant, but they linger. They work their way into your mind and make you, in a way, bully yourself. This is a type of bullying, that, is extremely hard to overcome, and honestly, in a situation like that, its very hard to distinguish who is to blame, and it is all based on confidence and self worth, because the comment made could just be a general comment, and you have just dwelled on it, and related it to you because of how you see yourself. When it comes to those sorts of situations, the person you need to stand up to, is you. If you don’t start to value yourself, you’ll never feel worthy and will continue to be plagued with negative thoughts. That is something I still to this day have trouble with, but, its a lot less frequent than it has been, because I know my worth, and I’ve surrounded myself with amazing people, removing all the toxic people and thoughts along with them from my life.
If you are getting bullied in any way shape or form, do not be to scared to ask someone for help. Reach out to anyone, whether it be a friend, a parent, anyone you know, when if you barely know them, talking will definitely help and is the first step.
Know your worth. You are a beautiful and amazing person. Don’t let anyone, ever, tell you different.