Bullying: a personal tale
I have never publicly written or really even spoken about a couple of rather traumatic years in my primary school years, where I was bullied to the point of wanting to kill myself.
I guess because the main culprit did indeed apologise profusely (upon having my grandma finally discover what had been going on and confront said person and her mother about it) and then cease and desist from that point onwards. Indeed we’re even – some twenty years later – friends now. Not in the catch-up-every-week sense, but we stay in touch on facebook and when we’ve seen each other in person we’ve been all good.
Moreover, I actually feel like having gone through that has – insert cheese here – made me a better person. I have never, nor will I ever, treat anybody the way I was treated. Who knows? Maybe that wouldn’t be the case hadn’t I experienced the brunt of the popularity-cult-of-acceptable-schoolyard-bullying early on. It was also, I think, a key part in me discovering the funny side of my personality. When I emerged from the bullying phase, I was quick to discover that by cracking jokes I made friends quite easily. Perhaps I even owe some of this early trouble to my comedy career.
That is, I seem to have a happy ending, so to go back and delve into the foulness before happy-times seems unfair. She regretted what happened, and stopped doing it. It was two decades ago. I forgave and moved on.
But now I feel that I HAVE to come out and talk about it, namely cos it contextualises an event that happened yesterday to my own children. An event that makes me SO FREAKING ANGRY, SAD AND UPSET THAT I CAN BARELY TYPE.
So…somewhere in grade 5 or so, my “best friend” and I “broke up”. What followed was nearly two years of being avoided at lunch-times, being prank called at home during this ex-friend’s slumber parties, being told “Jenny, you’re pretty. Pretty ugly!” and seeing my grandmother’s horror when I asked her innocently what a lesbian was. Because they’d told me I was one.
There was more but most of all I remember the thought: “what is so wrong with me that everybody hates me?”
I have diary entries from that exact time where I literally write of wanting to end my life. I was ten.
So yesterday, my 8-year-old and 6-year-old went to check the mail.
What they brought in (and fortunately, proceeded to show us immediately) was two pages of drawings of nude people – with very detailed genitals – labelled with my kids names. And with an extra note saying that they hoped my kids liked them and calling my daughter a bitch.
What do you even do with that?
We are doing what we can. But whatever happens from this point, the thing that makes me so incredibly upset inside is that already, from having seen that, damage has been done. My kids have been hurt and my heart is aching for them. I want to make it right. But even if things are rectified, if the culprit apologises and makes peace, if my kids forgive, the fact remains that damage has been done.
And it makes me sick to my stomach.
Image courtesy of Eddie-S