Posts Tagged ‘Bullying’

In the honour of one of my friends from back home(one of the guys attending Swansea University now), who is participating in campaigns against bullying, I will tell you my story.

WARNING! THIS WILL BE A VERY, VERY LONG TEXT, AND IT’LL PROBABLY BORE YOU ALL!!
(I ended up taking a trip down memory lane o_O)

I’ve always been a chubby girl. Fat, even. Specially now. But when I was younger, it was more determining, the status of you BMI that is. It’s not like they calculated my BMI, we were only kids, but it’s more prominent when we’re younger. The others hadn’t developed a pattern of eating-habits, and couldn’t really determine how I was wrong. But I was different, I stood out, and that was enough. For the first 6-7 years of my life, this wasn’t a problem, but fall/winter 1998, my mum and I moved. Here they noticed. I can’t remember exactly how it all started, I think it was a gradual process. They wanted to give me a chance, but they didn’t know how. And I was alone and new, so how could I reach out for them? I remember being scared. But I also remember being a tomboy. At my previous school, I’d hung out with girls as well as boys, with the girls I played “husband, wife and child” and with the boys I did all the “action hero” stuff and got into fights. At my first school, an older student had tried bullying me, but I’d jumped up on some box, grabbed his ear and twisted it around until he apologized and left me alone. I had my friends there. At the new school, I had no one to support me. So when the older students started to notice the new, fat girl, I didn’t have the courage to do the same. All I could do was run, or stay silent. Both the villages I’d lived in were quite small and rural, but the first was a little more “developed” and “urban” than the other. Thinking back now, I realise that this was probably of quite the importance to what was to come.

Not only did I come from another village, with slightly different language habits and dialect, but I was new, and fat and stubborn. And I didn’t talk much. Plus, I was a bookworm. I loved school. They easily bullied me out of my dialect the first few months or so, and with this, they noticed how reluctant I was to defend myself or give them any fight. I don’t blame the other kids, not at all, but I do wish they had approached me, because I think this might have given me the courage to fight back. But this is all in the past, and what was done was done. For the years to come, my classmates stayed the same. They didn’t quite know how to be my friend, some did, but mostly not. And all though some of them played with me from time to time, I think they also noticed that something was going on around me, which they didn’t want to be a part of. Throughout our time at elementary school (2.-7. grade, age 7/8 – 12/13) things slowly developed to the worst. After taking away my dialect and security, they started calling me names. Doing nasty stuff and blaming it on me. Surrounding me and telling me how awful I was, how ugly and mundane and boring and stupid and fat. They liked calling me fat. When they got tired of just name calling, they started pushing me. As they walked by, or deliberately walking up to me to push me. I was sort of a fragile child, and I had a reoccurring family condition of random nosebleeds, which the slightest shake could set off. For almost two years, I had to go in from recess and go to the principals office to sit still until the nosebleed stopped. And I could easily blame it on my family condition. As soon as winter came, I became the living target for snowball fights. Specially those with a little bit of gravel or ice in them. So dangerous. But I learned how to avoid them(I suppose I should thank them for my later discovered dodgeball skills xD), and in stead got dragged into “King of the world” games, where we climb a little mountain of snow, and fight off each other, and the one standing of the top without being fought off of it, would be the king. It was a nice, fun thing to do in the beginning. But yet again, the older kids started to meddle. And soon, I was the little mountain they had to climb. I was pushed down in the snow, kicked and slapped, pulled and pushed and stepped on. If a teacher stepped in, it was always the same excuse “we’re all playing together, she fought the king, fell and we had to go for the king ourselves, so we forgot to help her up”. But this was all just in the schoolgrounds. At my spare time, I usually stayed at home, inside, or in our yard, to avoid others. Other times, I tried go out to the soccer field or to the hills to have some fun on my own, but as soon as I was detected, I was ‘dead beat’. I can’t count the amount of times gangs gathered around me and beat me up. But they were careful not to inflict any damage to my face, so that it wouldn’t be discovered. Kids are evil and calculating. And I always told my mother I was playing in the hills, and fell to the ground, or I played action hero and so on and so forth, always an excuse for my injuries if they were discovered.

Some time in the upper elementary school years, we got a new student. A large boy, who’d been bullied a lot. I felt like talking to him, but he picked up my “bully victim vibes” and instead of talking to me, it was almost as he was set on taking out his anger on me, taking revenge for his bullying, by bullying me. Because he was a big and broken kid, he could use it to his advantage. I remember seeing it as though he took control of the class, and became some sort of a leader. And all though he didn’t lay down any rules, everyone knew they weren’t allowed to be friends with me. Not even after school. Except from on other girl in our class. Not that she was being bullied as well (at least not to my knowledge), but she didn’t have any specific significance to the ‘group’, so she was allowed to play with me. I don’t know if it was out of pity, or what the deal was, but she did play with me. After school. Because of the bullying, I didn’t like to be around the others at school, so for the recesses, I found excuses to stay inside, or I simply went along by myself. I developed the habit of looking at the ground when I walk, making sure not to notice others or making eye-contact, as well as learning where I could and couldn’t go. I became calculating and mastered the task of avoiding the others while still being in their presence. And I started hanging out with the teachers. Whenever they had a teacher walking around on ‘duty’ in the school grounds, I would tag along with them, having long discussions and debates. I was quite a bright kid for my age. A kid none the less, and it’s not like I was very intelligent or anything, but I did a lot of homework and read a lot of books, so for a kid at my age, I was seen as a bit more clever when I could have debates with adults on topics my classmates had no interest in. During the years at elementary school, I also became depressed and suicidal. I cut myself on a regular basis, and I attempted suicide a few times. Now, I have to mention that I was young and inexperienced with death, anatomy and suicide techniques, so trying to force a knife through my heart was how I though would be the best way. Obviously, a child does not have the strength to plunge a knife through their chest, so it was very futile attempts. But even in cases as tragic as this, it’s the thought that counts.

Moving on to secondary school, things got a lot better. Each grade was more specifically divided by the grades, and all the classes was mixed up and divided into new classes. I was separated from my bullies, and I got friends in my class. The first few years were really good, and I was happy. But then, obviously, I developed a new style. I became more of a goth kid. Black make-up, black hair, black clothes. And they started again. The pushing and pulling, kicking and teasing. They even locked me into one of the bathrooms and turned of the lights for some time. And even as black as I was dressed, I am scared of the dark. Really scared. The name-calling came back as well. They started calling me EMOna. Hahaha xD By the end of 10. grade, I was exhausted and worn out. But determined to stay “me” the way I wanted to be me. The students from the other grades and the other classes started seeing me as an alien. But I thought I still had my friends to support me, until I one day overheard them talking about me. It wasn’t nice. I grew distant, but never told them of what I’d heard, so they didn’t understand why I didn’t want to be with them. I felt betrayed.

When we were finally done with the mandatory 10 years of school, most of my classmates and I applied for the same college. And most of us were accepted. But I still felt betrayed and hurt, and since we were going to study different subjects, I changed my attitude. When we started the new school, I acted like I didn’t know them. And I did it so thoroughly, that my whole class almost fell off their chairs when they learned that some of these people used to be my best friends. Ouch. But I kept it up for quite some time, and got new friends at the new school. These friends, are still my friends, and for good reason. Ariana, whom I usually refer to as ‘big sis’, has become one of my most important friends, if not THE most important friend! I love her to bits and pieces, and the her strength and courage and friendship, has probably mended a lot of my broken self. Her cousin is also a very good friend of mine, and her friendship is very special to me. There are others, but these are the most prominent from my newest school. I’ve also mended a few of the broken relationships from elementary/secondary school, but not nearly a percentage. It still feels good to have a few of them back. Even though I still haven’t told them the things I heard them say about me. And now I am in England, far, far away from all of the troubles that had me caught up in Norway. I have worked my way through my experiences, and I have learned and gained from them. I still have some remaining issues, like my anxieties, the fear of being alone mixed with the reluctance to engage in friendships, and I still have the habit of constantly watching the ground when I walk, ignoring everyone around me, and not making eye-contact.

This is my story.
It’s not my one and only, but this is the main part.
It is long and heavy and a little bit reflecting.
It is here to remind me.
And if anyone reads it, I hope it reminds you of something too.

Live long and prosper,
– L A ❤

 

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