(TW: Suicide, Depression, Bullying)
I’ve been wanting to write this article for a long time, and recently I saw a fellow classmate being bullied by another student here. I guess I could say that I’m done being silent.
Sorry there’s no gifs or sarcasm here. I promise, I’ll write more of that soon.
Let me start by opening up to you. I have been bullied my entire life. From the age of five to even now. I have been sworn at, have had things thrown at me, left after school activities and have been close to death. I want to share a few memories with you to let you know how I got to where I am now.
In Kindergarten, my family couldn’t figure out what to do with me after school. Both my parents worked and we couldn’t afford a babysitter. So we had worked out a deal with my daycare center: I could keep going for Kindergarten and I would help out with the kids. Reading, making them laugh, stuff like that. Once the kids on my bus found out, they chanted that I was a baby. Imagine a five year old girl getting off the bus every day for weeks to the chant “Baby School”. You see it as a tragedy. I see it as the first domino to fall.
Skip forward to eighth grade. I’m the only one to dress up on Halloween. As I walk outside dressed in a black cloak and mask, kids throw rocks at me. Girls laugh, boys scream and keep throwing things. Nothing happened to those kids as far as I know. Rocks were thrown at my face, my chest. No one cared.
Skip forward to sophomore year. In high school theater, we have a competition show. I was on crew because none of the other actors liked me enough. That’s the problem when shows are cast by chemistry. I’m standing at the top of a tall metal staircase. All I can think as I look down is: “No one would care if I fell. They’d just yell at me for ruining their show.” I sat there for thirty minutes while the show went on. We won that year. I can’t help but feel like I was watching a win, not being part of the team.
Last year when I walked this campus, I was with a friend who was new here. I told him that people instinctively don’t like me. He didn’t believe me. As we walked around, I watched him study the expressions, the interactions and the body language of everyone we talked to. I told him again: “No one likes me.” He replied, “Yeah… I don’t get why.”
Being bullied is not something that happens. No, it is an invisible scar on your face. It’s a permanent change in your walk. It’s a spark in your eye dimmed forever. After years of it, I became depressed, anxious, suicidal, skeptical. No one would find me beautiful. No one would like me. No one would ever see me as special.
Usually, articles like this end with some positive note about friends I’ve made or how I’ve come out a stronger person. I’m not going to let you leave this article thinking this made me a better person. I constantly have a kick me sign on my back. People constantly give me stares and sneers as I walk by. I’m fearful of judgement and hatred by my peers. I think I’m ugly and unloved. I hate that. I want to see what other people see. Hell, I even think my friends and family hate me after one stern word.
That’s what you do when you bully. That’s what you do when you forget to be friendly. That’s what you do when you label. You knock down one more domino.
How long until the last domino falls?