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Being bullied is a strong memory I have from my entire school years. I attended a private school. Most kids, as they were coming from rich families, where brought up feeling important and commanding.
I was always different from my peers in many ways and also, I had a different mentality, even though we were all same nationality. Back then, being different was not accepted you had to do the same things, like the same things, follow the same fashion and act the same way as well.
I was mostly bullied by boys. I only remember boys even though I am sure there was a girl somewhere. I thought girls were not bullied by boys so much, but in my school we were. Adding to my distress, I gained a lot of weight when at around ten years old.
There were different bullying situations during those young years but some occurrences were more severe and I recollect them more. I particularly remember during English class a boy, who nowadays is a boxer and bodybuilder if that says something, was constantly making fun of the way I used to speak English. I think he disliked something in my pronunciation or my voice.
At that time, the teacher was asking us to read, answer questions etc. I did not like to speak aloud since he, and I believe other boys too, made fun of me. It was constant and very annoying. He also commented on the fact that I was wearing tight clothes. In his view, I should dress differently as I was fat, criticizing my weight a lot. Even though I do not remember exactly their words, I know the impact they had on me and my self-confidence. Their remarks hurt, and didn’t make sense.
I was bullied every day multiple times, for different reasons. Once, someone pulled my desk out of place and another time someone carried my bag around pretending he was me. On a different occasion I was told my name indicated “I want to eat more”.
I remember going back home every day and crying. My parents were very supportive and tried hard to protect me from bullying. I remember them speaking to the English teacher, and asking her to intervene while not requesting me to speak during class; but not much changed.
It took me years to feel confident and beautiful in my own skin. Even today, having lost all the weight and not being scared anymore to speak English or any other foreign language, I am overly conscious of my weight and wear clothes to cover-up if I gain a few pounds. I never became fully confidence with boys either.
My parents made me change the school, I lost the extra weight and started exercising. Sadly, I was a victim of bullying in my new school also, but for other reasons, and not as bad. When I went to university things changed, and I changed.
Reflecting on those school years, I believe a reason bullies kept bothering me is that I was very quiet and shy, and I did not defend myself. In a way, by keeping quiet and non-responsive I was giving them a window of opportunity to continue targeting me. I was young, naïve and sensitive and very kind as a person. Through the years, even though I kept these characteristics, which were those that annoyed my bullies more, I became stronger and tougher. I realized that it is okay to be different, and it is great to be unique. That’s the beauty of life.