- Posted September 22, 2013 by
Elkins, West Virginia
This iReport is part of an assignment:
Tell us the Good Stuff!
Adult survior of bullying/peer abuse
As an overweight child. I was called everything from fatty, lard ass, beefalow, heffer, Elizabeef, among other names. I remember being a sophomore in high school and the monumental day when it dawned on me that "hey no one made fun of me today" Over the years of being "bullied" I remember wanting so badly to fit in and be part of popular group, but they were the worst when it came to bullying. I was left out of a lot of things from birthday parties to having just someone to hang out with after school. I remember I hated walking up front in the classroom or even down the street, I didn't realize till much later in life that I remember actually thinking as I would have to get up in front of people and think "oh I hope no one says anything to me" It did create a lot of anxiety in me which I still deal with today as a 47 year old adult.
Today ,I teach in the same community and school system that the bullying took place. I take my students on regular field trips and I use extra care to try and make sure all my student are included because I remember as a 13 year old 7 th grader going on a field trip to Canada and being made to go on the trip by my parents. I rode the 4 day trip on a bus pretty much feeling very alone even though there were 40 some other kids on the bus, I was not included in their conversations or in groups when we got off the bus. One of the memories that sticks out about the trip was free time in downtown Quebec. While all the other student had people to explore with I was left out due to being overweight, which made you an outcast. So I spent time alone on the streets seeing the city, I remember walking a couple blocks one direction and then a couple the other with our hotel in the middle. If the teacher would of know she would of never allowed that. As a 6 year old I remember telling my dad about being picked on and he told me to ignore them and I asked him how and he explained how you ignore people.
Thank goodness for my sister she was probably one of my only friends as a child. I remember in 5th grade being a bigger girl, a bigger boy who was probably 5'10 and 250lbs said if he could hit me and I could take the hit, that he wouldn't call me fat anymore and I could hit him, so I stood up and let him punch me so hard in the arm that my arm actually went numb. It was bruised for several days and of course I didn't let my parents see it. make fun of me anymore. Well needless to say he didn't stop.
As a teen, I made poor choices for friends sometimes because those seemed to be the kids who would accept me. I did things that I knew I shouldn't do such as smoke and drink but that is what the group that were my "friends" were doing at the time. On occasion they would make bully comments but not like the "popular" kids.I did have a couple close, friends growing up and they hold a special place in my heart today. I was raised in a Christian home and would get down, I had one suicidal thought probably in 7th grade. . I just wished that they wouldn't "picking on me" as a child and that I could feel like I belonged. I didn't like school and grades in elementary were alright, but the older I got the lower my grades got. I attribute my academic attitude to the fact that I didn't like school and I didn't want to be there because I was bullied. When high school finally ended I went to college. I had such a desire to be accepted even went into a field of study because those kids accepted me. College was much different and there would be a few times that I would have comments made but nothing like public school. In college, I lost some of the weight and even today, I am a bit of a yoyo dieter but try to eat healthy and am an avid walker. I went to 4 class reunions and by the 25th decided that I have spent the past 20 some years feeling like I had to prove myself to those people who had harassed me daily for years and I was not going to the 25 reunion. Our 30th is this year and I don't know if I am going on not. In my 20's I went to counseling and talked out the bullying part of my life and have made peace with it. It is part of who I am. I think it makes me more sensitive as a teacher to kids who would be or are bullying. I feel that in 2013 even with bullying being an issue, the kids of today are more accepting of other people and their differences than ever. Bullying is wrong and it does affect those who are bullied. I suffer from panic attacks from time to time and attribute those to my childhood and some of the bullying I suffered. Bullying victims need to know that there is so much more to life than those 12 years. They are formative and will be part of who you are for the rest of you life, but your best is yet to come. Life has not even begun. They need to know that there are people out there that were bullied and have gone on to lead successful lives. I have master's degree, I have a wonderful husband, a beautiful daughter, and love life!
- My life