Does this look like the face of a woman who was bullied as a child?
I’m sure many of my friends who don’t know all of the details of my childhood would find it hard to believe that a woman who stands 5’11’, and weighs 255 lbs (I aint shame, I’m CUTE! lol!) was once bullied.
My sister and I were bullied in elementary school. Who knows why. Maybe it was because I was shorter than them. Maybe because my skin was darker. Or maybe it was because of the dark circles under my eyes from asthma.
Whatever the reason on whatever day, I was chased home, screaming and in fear of my life and my sister’s life everyday by two bullies.
My parents did all they could to protect us and eventually, made the decision and sacrifice to no longer allow us to ride the bus to school, where between the bus stop and school bus, the majority of the bullying took place.
As we got older, my sister became more popular and I was protected… a little. That is, until she graduated and left me to face my bullies alone.
And then my bullies became a different sort. They weren’t threatening me with physical violence. How could they? I was over 5’8″ by the end of middle school. Now they were the cliques and clubs who made you feel “less than” because you didn’t wear certain clothes or were from a certain neighborhood. Eventually, I took refuge in the school library where I spent the majority of my lunch breaks.
I didn’t eat lunch.
It wasn’t because I wasn’t hungry.
It was because I’d rather starve than be made fun of again… and again… and again.
So I did.
It wasn’t until my junior year, when I was finally able to go off campus for my art studies that I began to eat lunch again. I felt safe and accepted in my new environment with the fine arts crowd.
And that’s how I survived middle school and high school.
I’m thankful that my story isn’t as traumatic as many young people that I’ve heard in recent months, but the fact is, many of us, and probably even YOU, know what it feels like to be picked on. Or maybe you found yourself defending and befriending someone who was picked on or bullied.
There were a few heroes in my school days who would come and sit with me in the library after they’d eaten their lunch in the cafeteria.
As a mommy to two of the most amazing children in the world, I feel duty bound to do something to try to make the world they’re living in a better place. If that means admitting that I too was once bullied, then so be it.
If it means removing the shame and secrecy off of something that has plagued so many of us for years, then so be it.
As you can see, I’m not the frightened little girl with dark circles under her eyes (I use a GREAT concealer now.. LOL!) who doesn’t have a voice and feels terrified and petrified.
Oh yea, before I go…
One day, a couple of years after being chased by the two bully brothers (they were actually blood brothers, I’m serious) I was riding my bike in the neighborhood and ran into the both of them. I was way taller than them and way bigger than them… WAY bigger. At that moment, staring the source of my torment in the face, I felt an overwhelming sense of empowerment. I wasn’t afraid of him, I was insulted! I was scared of YOU?! Needless to say, they didn’t try to fight me or steal my bike from me.
I was in charge now.
And that’s the truth that bullies don’t want you to know. They try to tear you down because they see you on your way UP. And it rattles their own insecurities to see you shining your light, every single day.
Don’t give up. I know it’s tough being bullied every single day. I found places to hide. I found friends who let me be myself. I found a release in visual arts. Maybe yours is music. Whatever it is, don’t let them dim your light. Please…
Don’t let them.
In a little while, no one will be able to stop your shine.