I'm sure many of you have already seen this video with La Crosse, WI news anchor Jennifer Livingston. It is a great video. It's worth the watch if you haven't.
What I did not know was that it is National Anti-Bullying Awareness Month. This is an issue that is very near and dear to my heart.
I'm thankful that now bullying is receiving the recognition it deserves. The impact of bullying is far more than a kid getting beat up or a small case of hurt feelings. As we all know now, bullying can be traumatic. We have lost lives to bullying, and we continue to. We also know now that bullying is not just a thing for children, it's in the adult world too. I see it online. I even see it in the nail polish community.
My story with bullying is not a pleasant one. I was severely bullied throughout my childhood. My own grandmother even bullied me. She would tell me how fat I was, how unworthy I was, and how terrible my life would be. Visits to grandma's were not about cookies and warm memories for me needless to say
My worst case of bullying happened to me 8th grade American History class 4th period for an entire semester. These two boys who sat behind me absolutely tormented to me. I was reminded on a daily basis how fat and disgusting I was. I was told I was completely revolting and how no one would ever love me or want to be around me. I had things throw in my hair. These boys poked me, took their pencils and messed with my hair "checking for lice". Apparently, since I was so disgusting I must be covered in lice too. I was told never to have children because they would be as ugly as me. I was made to feel more disgusting than an insect. I believed it all. I tried to pay these boys off with gum. I even stole money from my parents to give to them to get them to stop. It never worked. I never told a soul. My parents did not even know. I hid it very well from them. I was too humiliated. I started to develop panic attacks in that class on a daily basis. I never ate my lunch. I never wanted anyone to see me eat at school and give them any reason to call me fat and gross anymore. That didn't work either.
8th grade passed, and thankfully I was not bullied as severely since. What I did not realize is how much that bulling event traumatized me and affected me. Everything they said to me I held on to. I felt inferior. I felt unworthy, disgusting, worthless, and unlovable. I carried that with me. That is what I began to put out into the world as far as body language. My negative self view rubbed off on everyone else. I was lonely, insecure, and sensitive teenager. I lived my life that way too. I never took risks. I never reached out. I preferred to stay invisible where it was safe. If you keep to yourself and hide from the world, there is not much chance for people to belittle and reject you.
I never realized the impact bullying had on me until I was in a therapist office at the age of 23. I have always experienced some level of anxiety and depression in my life, but it was at an all time high then. The therapist asked me if I had experienced any trauma in life. I told her no, and she brought up bullying. When I told her my story with bullying her first response was "that is trauma". I never recognized bullying for what it was until then. I had just assumed all kids were bullied. You move on. The end. That was not the case. Bullying had completely robbed me of my self worth and of a the fun childhood I deserved.
I have worked through many issues in regards to my past bullying. My social anxiety is so much better than it was before. This blog has helped me a lot too. It's through this blog I realized that not everyone out there is judging me, and that people actually like me! I still have a lot to work on though. I hate having my picture taken. I feel very insecure about that. My physical appearance is very touchy subject for me. I have some skewed view of people. I'll see what I view as "pretty people", and I automatically feel beneath them. I do not want to disturb them, get in their way, or talk to them. I know that sounds crazy, but all I can attribute that too is a lot of those negative messages from the past still sticking around. I still am in fear of people judging me harshly. These are things I am working on, and it may take me a long time to get to a better place with this. I have renewed self confidence, and while somethings are still difficult, I will get there.
That is my story with bullying, and I know my story is far from the worst. There are kids killing themselves over things like this. There are adults suffering in the workplace because of this. I think it is worse now with the internet. I'm sure many people get tired of the word "bullying". Please don't get tired of it. It needs to be acknowledged, recognized, and it needs to be prevented. All I ask from you is to not take part in bullying. You take part in bullying even if you witness it and chose to do nothing. Being a stander-by to bullying does not make you innocent. Stand up to these people, and stand up for someone else in need.
These are websites/people I admire on the anti-bullying front:
ABC Anti-Bullying Coalition
Since the color blue has been used to represent anti-bullying awareness this is one of my favorite blue polishes YSL Bleu Majorelle
If you made it this far thank you for reading. I appreciate it.