My bestie posted on her blog about October is Bully Prevention Month. She was a victim of bullying, as you can read here.
It got me thinking about bullying… when I was in middle school and high school, I didn’t bear witness to a ton of bullying. Very little, if at all. Maybe it was the people I surrounded myself with or the school I went to, I’m not sure. I read all these horrible stories about bullying and think to myself, “wow. I didn’t know that it was that bad…”
I had no idea.
Ignorance is bliss…
Well, I am stepping forward to say this – when I was in elementary school – I was a bully.
Not in the “normal” sense though. I bullied MY FRIENDS. My very best friends to be exact. I was much nicer to the underdogs, outcasts, loners, and “losers” than I was to my own friends. If there was a new kid, I always introduced myself and tried to make them feel less alone. If I saw someone standing/hanging out by themselves, I would go up to them and try and get them to join my group. If my friends made fun of someone, I was the one that told them to knock it off and that it was mean.
Oh but MY friends? If they said something stupid, I would elbow them in the stomach. Yes – you read that right. I would elbow them. I would tell them they were fat or tell them to shut up because they sounded stupid. I would say they couldn’t hang out with me and my friends because I didn’t like something about them (clothes, appearance, etc). I even made a comment about a friend’s glasses. The comment was truly not meant to be rude, I made a comment about the shape of them not that she was wearing them or looked funny, but still – it hurt her feelings. I had no problem “putting people in their place.”
You're thinking, "gah, how did she have friends?!" aren't you? It's ok... I wonder the same thing myself.
I was a bully. I was a mean girl. I was everything I can’t stand, no, everything I hate now.
I don’t know why I was so mean but it wasn’t until after my dad’s death that I seemed to mellow out. I started pushing people away just to see if they would fight to stay. Being popular wasn’t important anymore. Being happy and having good friends was.
You may be thinking I am a hypocrite for writing this post but I lived through bullying as a bully. I am more attached to this epidemic than most and I was one of the fortunate to snap out of the habit by middle school. Who knows what kind of pain I could have inflicted if I would not have changed. It is never too late.
My husband, was on the receiving end of the bullying. He is a beautiful, quiet soul, and some jerks back in school didn’t appreciate that. He is now a strong, smart, and damn-fine looking man. He has bounced back from a life changing injury and he works everyday to better himself. He didn’t let the bullies get the best of him and ruin the rest of his life. He was able to rise about it and shine through it all. He is a survivor. He is proof that life does get better after school.
I am no longer friends with any of the girls I knew in elementary school, and for good reason. When I see them out and about or on Facebook, I can’t help but think about how much I missed out on. The beauty of whom they have become and a friendship I killed. I have even had some of these girls tell me that what I said or did still affects them and it hurts my heart. I am not the same person and I am so sorry.
Am I perfect? Gosh no. Do I still say or do mean things? Yes - I am human. But I try everyday to be a positive addition to society and to the people around me. I try to be kind and sweet. I try to be polite and not condescending. I try to be understanding and considerate. I try to not judge. I am trying. I think that if each of us at least tried to be good, the world would be a much better place.
If I bullied you, I am so sorry. I never want to cause someone emotional and mental pain. If what I said or did to you has haunted you to this day, I am sorry. I am not that mean little girl I was 14 years ago and I would do anything to rectify the situation.
I am a former mean girl.
I am not a bully.
I am not a bully.
It is my prayer, that when we have children, Vincent and I will be able to use our past as a lesson and will be able to prevent our children from being bullied or becoming bullies.
Those bullied - don't ever think that you are weak for stepping forward. Know that you are not alone and that someone out there loves you and will help you get through it. If you are struggling and need someone to talk to, contact the CyberBully helpline or School Violence Helpline. You can also message me, I am here for you.
And bullies - don't think that what you say or do is just "for fun" or you were "just playing around." You should never play around with people’s emotions. Your words carry more weight than you can ever imagine and you cannot take back harsh words once they are spoken. If you need some help or someone to talk to, you can talk to me too. I am here for you too.
Check out these stories - you will see you aren't alone.