As you know, It’s anti-bully week and we here at YakkityYaks that have stories to tell are letting them rip! Along with Big Brother 13′s Shelly Moore, we here at The Yak are taking a headstrong stand against bullying and the life torment it creates. (Be sure to follow Shelly on Twitter HERE and follow us HERE.) It’s a hard, hard road on the other side of the bullying, and it’s time for those of us that have had this experience speak out and unite! We are NOT alone, and it does get better. Yes, the actions of others seem to stick with you forever, as you will learn with my own personal story below, but they don’t have to rule your life. You can overcome it, you can grow from it, and hey just maybe, we can make friends out of it. I think Shelly put it best when she compared the bullied to a piece of crumpled up paper. No matter how hard you try to straighten it out, even put a heavy book on it for years, the creases will never go away. It does “take a village” to protect our youth, and I for one am happy to be a part of that village. So, without further adieu, here is the story that I have, that since I was a kid, liked to always keep to myself… But today, for you, I will lay it all out there. Scary, but here we go.
When I was a young, about 4th grade, I was transferred into a private school because of busing. The school district where I lived wanted to take me out of my local public school which was just right around the corner and transfer me to a school miles away. To combat that, my mother moved me to a local private school.
I was the new kid in a school where everyone had already grown up best friends. It was hard to adjust. I was also the kid that got into the private school because my dad did some construction work for them in exchange for part of my schooling there. The other kids, many of them, had parents that were loaded. Yep, the ‘ol rich kid/poor kid cliche. Well, I wouldn’t call us poor by any means, but by these kids standards, yeah, we were “without.” There were no uniforms at the school, so between me being the new kid and not wearing the designer outfits and shoes that most of the kids there had, I was pretty doomed socially from the start. I attended this school through the 8th grade.
I eventually made a few friends, not many, but the friends I did have were great ones. We met at what the majority of the students called “The Loser Table”… you know, where the “losers” sat to eat lunch. We were the misfits and at the very least, had others to share our woes with and boy, there were woes to be had.
All of us were taunted daily. Kids said the most ridiculous and mean things. I was chosen last for any games at P.E. even though I was pretty athletic and better at the games than most kids. In the changing room before P.E. they would make fun of me, my clothes, anything they could think of. I remember once being told that my bra was too high on my back… and they all would laugh. (So much for ever changing in the locker room again.) They used me to be mean to other people, singing that stupid K-I-S-S-I-N-G song if I would speak to a boy, only to have the boy get angry. (That felt great.) They called me a lesbian since I only hung out with my “loser” girlfriends. It was constant ridicule. I couldn’t even imagine how that would have felt if I actually were Gay and how kids today that are must feel.
When I would get invited back then to someone’s b-day party who wasn’t a part of the “loser table”, I would always believe it was sinister in some way. That maybe they wanted me to come just to be the entertainment. To poke fun at me. That never happened at the few I did go to, but now that I’m older, I realize I was invited probably because a parent made them invite everyone. Who knows. The ridicule made me paranoid of everyone’s motives.
High School changed EVERYTHING. I transferred to my local public High School where there were a lot more kids, kids that didn’t know me. I was a very, very pretty girl and had a lot of the boys attention. A LOT. The girls that tortured me daily were there, but at that point, they didn’t bother with me too much. Heck, I was getting more of the boys attention then they were at that point. I think they were actually a little jealous. That felt nice.
However, I wasn’t prepared for the attention I did get, and didn’t know what to do with it. For me, a girl with very low self-esteem at that point, attention was great. The problem became understanding that attention and what to do with it. Let’s just say, for a time, I had a hard time saying the word “no”, even when I wanted to. The one time I did actually say no, it didn’t matter, it wasn’t heard… or was heard and ignored, if you know what I mean. I won’t get into that here, but I’m guessing most will read between the lines on that one.
I did earn a nickname as a “tease” (which is better than some other nicknames that could have transpired, like slut or prude for instance.) I embraced the nickname. Damn right I was a tease! Now that I look back on it all, a tease keeps those boys on their toes now doesn’t it? You aren’t a prude, so they think they have a shot, but you aren’t a slut so they know they will have to put in some hard work to get it LOL! Looking back, I’m not real sure if that thought process was a good one or bad, but it did get me through it all.
The ridicule gave me self-doubt that followed me through-out my life, you know, the “creases in the paper” as mentioned above. Although I am much, much better today, a lot stronger, and a lot less caring of what others think, it still haunts me. There are days I still feel just not up to snuff. I don’t have many friends, mainly because I don’t let too many close. I like to call it self-preservation. However the friends I do have are great ones. I have encapsulated myself in my little world. There is safety within these walls, or is there? Yes, bullying affected me to my core and although the bullies are gone, I have carried their ridiculous words in my soul. It really sucks.
Needless to say, now that I am older and look back on all of it, it was a very hard time. I see pictures of myself back then and realize just how pretty I really was. (That sounds stuck up, doesn’t it?) Too bad I realized that a bit late. Self-esteem issues have plagued me all my life since then. It’s hard to let go of those, REALLY hard. You never really feel whole. There are times, even now, that I fall back into that hole and it doesn’t take much.
I learned a lot though. I try and treat others the way I would like to be treated. You know, what Grandma always said. I also overcame the “no” syndrome, able to not let people just walk all over me in the pursuit of acceptance. I have learned that what general “people” say really doesn’t matter. People that are strangers to me can think what they want. It’s their energy they are wasting. I have learned that It actually does get better. People who say that are right. It may not feel like it, but it truly does.
These people, these school mates, these assholes (for lack of a better (or worse) term) just don’t matter in the scheme of things. They are forced into your life now, but will be gone in a flash. I know, in this day and age, it’s hard. See, when I was a kid, home was my safe place, my sanctuary. Now, with Social Media, (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) the bullying can continue after school, on weekends, into the night… It’s hard to escape from. But again, those people will be gone in a FLASH. It seems like forever now, but it’s just a small snippet of your life. You CAN get through it. For all the rotten kids that talk smack, there are many, many more that you haven’t met yet that will be lost without you here. Plus, there are MILLIONS out there to talk to, have gone through it and can help. Hey, you always have a safe place to talk here at YakkityYaks. In fact, we are currently developing a place here just for that purpose, so stay tuned!
…And… let’s all hope Karma nails these jerky bullies to the wall. Yeah, I said it.
If you too have a story you would like to share, you can contact us at JDMontgomery@yakkityyaks.com or firstname.lastname@example.org. We would gladly get yours up here to share with everyone. We would also happily remove your name from the story if you would like. Just let us know in the e-mail. Also, you can come join us in the Forum HERE where we are all discussing Anti-Bully week!