I remember a time in fifth grade (the beginning of my bullying experience) when all the guys were discussing girls in the class. “Which girl would you most like to date?” asked the boys. Their answers varied–some preferred Lea or Sue, others liked Lindsay or Beth (names changed for privacy, by the way). When they asked each other, laughing, which girl they’d least like to date, it was unanimous. Me.
I’m not sure why that particular instance sticks out to me–I had worse things said and done to me as the bullying increased. Perhaps it was because this particular instance was one of the first in a long few years of bullying? I don’t know.
Because of all the resulting pain from the bullying, something began stirring in me. Around January of my seventh grade year, I decided to reach out to victims and make a huge difference. Unfortunately, I got away from that plan. Although I don’t usually tell people this, I bullied a few girls that year. It didn’t last long, and one of those girls is now one of my best friends, and the other is a good acquaintance, but it was still unacceptable and wrong.
It’s the cycle of bullying. Due to hurt from the words and actions of others, I wanted to gain control of my own. This control was hurting another in the same way I was hurt. I believe this is so for many other bullying victims. Of course, it’s no excuse, and this is not true for all victims, but it is part of a cycle of pain. A cycle of pain that I am trying to crush.
Many tears and scars later, I’m returning to my plan. I don’t have a specific idea yet, but I know that thought and prayer will carry one to me, and I will most likely put this plan into action in September.
One thing I would like to focus on is eliminating the victim mindset. So many others have had the same burden as I do, but have treated those who have been bullied as helpless sheep that need to be fed mashed peas with a plastic spoon. I want people to know that they are strong, loved, capable, and not defined by their tormentors. I want the bullied and the broken to stop thinking of themselves as victims, but as people who can withstand and bounce back.
And by bounce back, I mean emerge stronger, wiser, and even more capable of helping to eliminate bullying.
Do the words of my bullies still hurt? Yes, they do. However, I recognize them as lies. I can look at myself in the mirror and know that I am beautiful. I am adequate, loved, and talented. Sometimes I have to force my brain to remember these truths, but they are there.
The same goes for you, you beautiful, adequate, loved, and talented person. Hopefully, reading this has inspired you to join my cause, or at least made you more aware of this devastating problem. If you have been or are being bullied, please take some time to take a deep breath and remember the words that I have just written. If I knew you, I’d take you out for a big ole’ Slurpee and talk time. But because I most likely don’t, I hope this post will suffice. Hang in there, okay? Remember that you are capable. You are capable and strong. Don’t strive for revenge.
After all, the best revenge is dusting off your knees, reminding yourself of the truth, and continuing to push through the hardship.