So, today I discovered that a girl from high school who made up nasty rumours about me, threatened and yelled at me without provocation, made fun of my appearance, told lies and tried to steal away my close friends and rub it in my face, who made fun of me on social media, who bought the same graduation dress I told her I was looking at buying and who gave me filthy looks when I said hello, left me out of everything and tried to affect others’ opinions of me to match her own, has been diagnosed with the same eating disorder she made fun of me for having.
This girl is the same girl who I gave a bitchy comment back to once and she had her mother come into my work and bitch to my colleagues about me for bullying and being jealous and a nobody. The girl that the school principal would have private conversations with me about, to tell me that the teachers saw how mean she was to me and that I could take action against her or they could try and keep her away from me. Forever the naive optimist, however, I declined. I hoped one day she would be my friend again.
A girl that I could help if she ever reached out to me. I have been down the same path as her, hating and hurting myself. But she fails to realise that although she is suffering now, she has caused a world of hurt for someone who wanted only to be her friend. I spent a lot of time just pretending it was all good. I didn’t like the icky feeling of all the drama. I hoped it would just disappear. That’s the bullshit we feed kids: just ignore it and it’ll go away/ be nice and they’ll be nice back/ just be the bigger person and they’ll get bored of it. We’re raising kids to be too scared to have their own backs, so they turn inwards with their anger or become desperate people-pleasers: empty.
I tried to see what I could have done to garner so much hate but was not my problem. I had done nothing wrong. I thought if I kept smiling at them that I’d get a smile back. I was a happy, polite, nose-in-her-books kind of kid. Didn’t have an issue with anybody and liked helping people, having fun with friends, working, studying, doing those extra curricular type things. Ill abandon modesty here for a moment to say that academically things did come easy to me. I didn’t ever have to struggle to get top grades or break school records or win writing, debating or speaking awards. It was just something I was good at. Getting some girls – and even some of the more violent kind of boys – my age to warm up to me was another matter. Although I found that it was always the ones who thought they were the “cool kids”, who made fun of anyone who was different or threatening, that was always on the offensive. I suppose if I had shrunk into the background, not standing out at all, they wouldn’t have bothered with me too much. But unfortunately I liked being liked and liked being around people and fun, so I was hardly resigning myself to a wallflower, no matter how introspective I was.
I had to teach myself that my value didn’t count on whatever nasty things were done or said to me. I didn’t deserve it and I certainly couldn’t keep trying to win over people that no matter what, would never accept me. Some people don’t know how to appreciate someone who is a good person. They think they’re fake or weird or they’re threatened by them. Some people just simply don’t like people because they remind them of their own insecurities and make them feel less about themselves. If only they stopped the comparisons, they could gain a friend.
I’m not bothered by my past of bullying, eating disorders, depression, abuse and harassment, because I believe there’s a whole lot more I could be doing with my life than feeling sorry for myself. It’s character building! It made me strong and made me realise that pain can’t hurt you unless you give it power to. Plus I hate doing this whiney shit, but I’m a true journo/writer; I have to get the truth out of me and off my chest. I hope my recollections help others with the same issues and show them how to move on.
There’s nothing uglier than self pity and bitterness. I was so full of self pity after those years that I was just distrustful and withdrawn and less of a person. It was my own fault for being so insecure and letting it get to me. Honestly, I would advise anyone going through bullying to stand up for yourself every single day! Don’t let yourself become a victim because then that’s all you ever are to people and they will continue to kick you when you’re down.
Be unapologetically yourself!
I’ve let all that pain go. It’s ash on the road behind me. I’ve accepted. I don’t like those people who did all that shit to me, let’s be honest. I don’t think there are good or bad people, just people who are more predisposed to act one way than the other. Call it conditioning or environmental factors, but I think we choose the way we treat people. If we were to blame their mean deeds on their pasts then I would be a very cruel person myself. Thankfully, I’m not. I made that choice. You make that choice every day.
They haven’t evolved much from their small town crucifixions to warrant much affection, but I don’t hate them either. They exist in limbo back there in the brief, tumultuous time of their making. You only have to forgive once. To hold onto anger, you have to do it every single day. It’s pointless.
I’m glad I went through a lot of pain early in life, because as a young adult I have compassion and care for others’ problems, a bit of wisdom and strength that I couldn’t have earned without getting myself through it all. I did it on my own. I did it with class and grace. I came out good. Tough kid, right here! I know how to make fun of myself, take criticism, handle negativity and bad times and not be a hurt little thing anymore. Nothing really gets me down.
To hear that one of those people are dealing with something I struggled with, I don’t feel any smugness. I feel pity for the girl I could’ve helped and who I could’ve been there for. I’ve helped some girls with eating disorders and shown them the path to recovery and a happier life. It’s even made me want to pursue psychology as well as my journalism and writing degree.
I would offer to her only my empathy and learned wisdom. I would share how I taught myself to break the shackles of such a crippling burden. I would install in her the same passion for life and endless happiness that I have every day. I would teach her how to see people with only love and compassion, not just herself.
The world is full of so much joy and possibilities, that I practically walk on air with all the pain finally shrugged off my shoulders. There’s so much good to do and to be in this world. There’s so much you can do to add meaning and love and compassion towards others.
If only she had given me a chance.