Long ago I made a choice to keep drama off the internet as much as possible. I still have to say this, though. I watched the documentary ‘Bully’ on TV just now, and to whomever hasn’t seen it yet, I recommend you watch it. (In NL: het staat waarschijnlijk morgen wel op uitzendinggemist)
Bullying has messed with my life. I was bullied from when I was very young until at least the 3rd year of high school. I’ve only been physically attacked once in this period of time, but the verbal abuse was ever present. These days I have friends, but I didn’t back then. To this day I still think people will up and leave any second, or suddenly turn on me and make fun of me. Some of my worst nightmares still involve standing somewhere in public and being laughed at. One day long ago, making fun of my hair, my clothes, my weight was socially acceptable and apparently good fun. For some people, this may still be the case, though luckily I don’t have to hear about it anymore.
I was amazed back then, and I’m bitter right now, about the fact that so few adults care to do anything about it. Often parents don’t take the time or trouble to educate their kids on how to behave. Teachers are perhaps an even bigger factor here. In the last grade of my primary school, my teacher joined in with the kids and called me names. Every time my parents would try to talk to the principal, things would only get worse for me, not better. At one point I refused to go to that school. I should have persisted. I understand that in some cases kids even get the blame for being bullied, though thank god that didn’t happen to me. I literally yelled at the TV over the injustice of it, when I saw this happening in the documentary.
My ‘rescue’ came in high school, when some people chose to become friends with me. That made me believe I was worth something. Without that, I’m not sure what would have happened to me in the long run. At this point in my life I’m still trying to get rid of the nasty aftereffects: stuttering, low selfesteem, depression, an eating disorder.
Part of me is so angry and sad that this happened to me. I’m still wondering what I did to cause it, even though logic has taught me I was just a target, I did nothing wrong, there just had to be someone, anyone, to pick on. Right now, in the Netherlands and in other countries, bullying has been put back on the agenda after several suicides. I made a resolution for myself: I’m going to contribute to eliminating bullying and the aftereffects of it in whatever way I can. I believe that making myself heard is the first step towards doing so. Even as I write this I’m afraid people will start messing with me over this blog post.
I’m reminded of a school day when I was 11, and my class was playing tag. I joined in for a change. I was the last one left to get tagged, and the entire group homed in on me. They were just trying to tag me, but I’d been used to being bullied, so even that scared the shit out of me. That is still my basic feeling whenever anyone targets me going ‘hey you!’. I wouldn’t wish it on my worst enemy.