Were You Bullied in School or Just Picked On
We hear about it all the time. A student is bullied by peers, drops out of school or the ultimate worst thing – commits suicide, but I wonder what was it like for you in school.
I was thinking about school the other day. It’s been 38 years since graduation and 45 years since those important friendship forming days of elementary and junior high. Back then we call it being bullied, we were teased or just picked on, and it wasn’t really cause for alarm or so it was thought.
I was one of those kids. Between sixth and eighth grades, life was hell. I grew up on a farm and was a loner and what some would say an introvert. To this day it is hard for me to open myself up to others and I spend an unusually large amount of time alone or with my animals. I guess I realized at a young age, animals don’t judge and love unconditionally with no strings attached.
From the first day of sixth grade, the name-calling began. I was verbally picked on and I could never understand why. What had I done to make these people dislike me to the point of striping me of my self-esteem and self-worth?
For three long years it went on, relentlessly to the point I would walk home in tears so the pain would be gone when I got home and no one would know and I wouldn’t have to explain anything. I was so good at pretending my life was fine that I started to believe it. I could bottle up the pain and anger I felt and continue as if nothing was wrong. When in reality, everything was wrong.
By the time high school came around, I had thrown myself into basketball and softball. Other than classes, never really associated with others in my grade except for a few. I made friends easily in towns around Ayrshire and other than the casually teasing that friends do with each other, I was accepted for the person I was.
I wonder who did they accept, the person I pretended I was or the person inside? Then it hit me, in a way, I had become just like the people who had bullied me in school. Yes, I had an attitude and a temper to go with it. I don’t remember really verbally abusing anyone but I had an air about me that said, “Don’t mess with me or you will be sorry.” Unfortunately, I kept my promise of someone being sorry and although at the time I was probably not remorseful, today it is something I am extremely ashamed to say I did.
I still find myself not being able to open up to others and find myself pushing people away. I enjoy my time alone because it’s just simpler that explaining that being left out and excluded hurts just as much as those names thrown around.
If you’ve never been on the outside looking in don’t take it for granted and next time someone is one the outskirts of your circle trying including him or her, you both might just be surprised.