“I survived bullying. Let’s work together so no one else has to declare this again. Unite to end bullying.”-Unknown
Bullying can happen at any point in life; at any age. Bullies come in all shapes and sizes. Being bullied is truly something that can leave you feeling damaged beyond repair. Useless. Worthless. Insecure. Confused. Wondering what you did to make people treat you so badly. If only I knew when I was younger that it doesn’t matter what people think of you, it only matters what you think about yourself..which seems like an obvious thing but when you are in the formative years of your life and don’t have a strong sense of self or any self-love, you tend to believe the things people say to you, about you, or do to you. You think you must deserve it, or it must be true, or I must be ugly because Jimmy Joe said I was. Let me be the one to tell you, If nobody has already.. How other people treat you is about them, NOT YOU. You don’t deserve it. You deserve to be treated with kindness. Sometimes, that kindness has to come from yourself first. It isn’t going to stop you from being bullied or encountering an adult bully sometime in your life.. but when you can stand strong in yourself and know who you are, It won’t matter what anyone says. I wish I could have learned that back then, but I don’t regret not fitting in at any of the 3 schools I’ve been to in my life, because I might have went down a different path, instead of focusing on growth. Plus I made friends at all schools, I didn’t have nobody. If you don’t know, I’m 29 now and long past my bullying history as far as what used to be said about me and who said it. I just know that my experience, it is the exact reason I want to spread positivity in this world. I let bullying affect me long after I graduated in 2011 and it took me years after to finally start to work on myself and build myself up and find my own happiness, but I still struggle with anxiety and insecurity to this day. I just have way more control now than I ever did in my life.
I really hope that my story will help in any way. All in all, it’s just my story, and we all have one. (most of us have a story of being bullied, even the bully themselves probably does.) Be resilient. Be brave. Be happy. Be YOU. Let out your feelings. Work on self love and self respect. Don’t just ‘get over it’, don’t even allow it. Now a days, I shut it down really quick. I don’t care if people think i’m about goals and good vibes, I am also anti-bullying and if I notice it being done (I mostly see it on social media), I will probably say something. Too many people just let it happen to me, I won’t sit on the sidelines like they did. Ok.. this is my story. I’ve been reluctant to share it until now. I used to be embarassed by it, but I’m not anymore.
I was bullied verbally, never physically. For years, and by multiple different people. The reason was always about the way I looked. The first bully I remember was a boy in my class and he called me “quarters” because I had a gap in my two front teeth that was pretty spacious. I can admit that. Kids are cruel. I got braces, and continued to have teeth problems ever since. The gap closed, and it made my top teeth go behind my bottom ones, leaving me with an ‘underbite’. For those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s when your bottom jaw grows past your top jaw. Your teeth don’t touch when you bite down or smile. It caused me to talk with a lisp, have a hard time eating, caused me to cover my mouth when I laughed or talked to people and my orthodontist said if I didnt have it corrected I could end up with lock jaw. I had to move schools my sophomore year. I started getting called really bad names. Just felt like a very dehumanizing experience. People called me things like; Jaws, the crimson chin, Jay Leno. If the character or person had a big chin, you can bet your bottom dollar that I was called it.
I wasn’t a very social person, I was lucky to already know someone there. My childhood neighbor/best friend that I haven’t seen since I was 6 , she showed me around and atleast I had someone to sit by at lunch. I Also ended up meeting my best friend Tia and we became really quick friends. I’m still friends with both of them to this day. I used to be considered “too nice” or “too sensitive” I never stood up for myself, I pretty much tried to act like it didn’t bother me as much as it did. I didn’t talk much about it to my family because I was embarassed, ashamed, and angry. I know now, I should have talked to someone about how it was making me feel. I felt like less of a person back then..because out of all the people I knew, I didn’t know anyone else with an underbite, and the names people called me really hit home. I already had an issue with how I looked before anyone ever told me ‘what was wrong with me’, the bullying had me picking myself apart more and in every way possible. I’d obess over my nose shape, nostrils, my eyebrow shape, my hair part, my height, and my skinny body. I found a reason to hate everything about myself.
So my senior year, I moved to another school district and started late because I got corrective jaw surgery when school actually started. My dad tried to talk me out of it, because he watched a video of what they do in the surgery. I didn’t care to see it, I just googled other people in the world who have underbites and had the surgery and they were so much happier and it didn’t matter what had to be done, I was doing it. My insecurities didn’t change after getting the surgery, I still felt like ‘The crimson chin’. I started my new school with a still swollen chubby face, and I’m so glad I don’t remember that much of my senior year. I do remember not many people liked me at that school either or tried to befriend me, except some good people who I met and one girl specifically I won’t name but I’ve known her before I started there as well. I atleast always knew someone before I started at each new school. That saved me a lot I think. My story may not seem like the worst one out there, but it was sadly very damaging to my spirit, because I was always a happy person and I never understood what I did. Now I know I did literally nothing. I’m obviously doing way better now, and on a constant journey of self-love.
If you’re getting bullied, please don’t think there is anything wrong with you. I have had plenty of negative, dark, bad thoughts from being bullied to tell you IT GETS BETTER. Just hold on. Don’t let it change who you are. Stay strong <3