The third FutureSelf post, as promised.
Some of you have found creative ways to express yourselves while others choose to shoot straight from the hip in terms of prose. Either way, your stories continue to be powerful and heartfelt.
Spread the word, share this idea and let’s keep them coming.
From I, who writes these supportive words:
People bully and target YOU because of the way you make THEM feel.
All they can think to do is try and make you hate yourself as much as they hate themselves.
I have never met a bully – at school or at work – who was happy in themselves.
It is not about you, it is about them.
Always remember that…and always remember your worth. Remember what it is that you love in your life – be it a mother, father, sister, brother, God, friend, pet, teacher, subject, book, sport or song and always take joy from it.
Bullies exist, but they are the smallest part of life and the smallest part of the world. You can do anything and be anyone with that perspective.
Sadly, bullying doesn’t stop at any age. We need to be aware and be proactive and get talking about it. Every time I see an article on another life destroyed by bullying I think the same thing – “why didn’t I get to listen to them and help them get away from their situation?”
I send my love out in the world to anyone who has been affected and especially to all of the parents missing their children tonight
21, London, England
From S, who’s found a powerful new perspective:
When I was younger, at school mostly, I was bullied mercilessly. For being fat, for being clever, for having a big nose and teeth like bugs bunny. I was 13 years old and out with my first boyfriend going shopping. I was so nervous. He went to hold my hand I didn’t know what to do. I didn’t want him to feel how sweaty my hands were. We were waiting in the queue at a shop to buy a drink and two girls from school walked behind me and one of them smacked me round the back of the head. She hit me really hard and caught me with her ring. I was so ashamed and embarrassed I walked away from my first boyfriend and went home alone. They had ruined everything just by one little gesture.
They pushed me down a flight of stairs. They locked me in a toilet cubicle. They made up stories about me and told everyone. They called me name after name after name. It wasn’t just me but that didn’t make it any easier. My friend had an unfortunate skin condition that made her face grow thick dry patches of skin, so she naturally got the name “Spunk Face.” Another one was accosted by a group of girls who knocked her front teeth out. Another friend was unfortunately quite severely burnt in a house fire as a child, and her moniker was “Cheese on Toast.” We’d smile and say it didn’t bother us, but it did.
Like “Mean Girls” taught us, teasing someone else for their appearance doesn’t make you any prettier, but it still gets done. You feel victimised and hopeless and all you really want is for the person or persons who cause you anguish to go away. I was made to feel small, and hopeless and worthless.
But I needed to tell you this- when I see those girls from school now, and it’s been over ten years, I feel nothing. Nothing. They dominated my whole life at one point, they made me hate myself and they made me believe this was happening to me because I deserved it. But I grew up. I met wonderful friends, I fell in love, and I made my life my own. I don’t hate them, I don’t wish them well. I don’t feel anything. At the time, the words or actions of these people will cut you deeply. But in time, you come to realise, I have enough people around me who love me exactly as I am, and I don’t need you.
Don’t let bullies take away your power. Don’t let them make you feel like you’re worthless. You’re not. You are more special and necessary than you will ever know, and you don’t deserve this. No-one ever deserves this. You cannot help if the words they say or the things they do make you cry, but you should always know that you are loved, and for every cruel word someone says, someone else will say something kind.
I promise you that no matter how bad it feels, it always gets better in time. You just need to stick with us and keep going. We need you in this world, and you’re so much stronger than you think.
Just keep thinking about the day when you’re walking down the street and you see the girl who shoved you over, called you fat or kicked you in the shins, and she’ll be nothing but a tiny speck of dust to you.
Thank you for reading.
From Unknown, who echoes the need to speak out:
For as long as I can remember, bullying has always had a huge impact on my life.
Ever since I was a kid, all my memories from school are about being bullied. Even through to secondary school, which are supposedly meant to be some of the greatest times of you life, which is rubbish. Maybe if you’re the bully, but not for the person on the recieving end.
Even at the older age of 21, when those days of anguish and hurt are nothing but merely painful memories, they sometimes can flood back. It aches, it aches so much. That is the problem, painful memories really do leave an open mental scar which sometimes never truly heal.
I was bullied quite badly, which still to this day continue to haunt the hollow corridors of my mind. I even get it these days. Could be mindlessly walking down the street and someone will shout something at me. It’s easy enough to brush off, just plug my earphones in and blur out the mindless idiots that things its ok. Whilst to them it seems like I’m ignoring them, but in the deep recesses of my brain, the word echoes, continously echoes and repeats, like a broken bloody record on an endless cycle of discomfort.
It cycled through primary school, got bullied by several teachers, many a student and the constant cycle of name calling. And to this day, it does still hurt sometimes. Got into acouple of fights. Someone bullied me for about four years and I just snapped, ended up breaking his nose because of it. (I don’t condon violence in any kind, but the little git bloody deserved it. Imagine, four years of coming into school every day and being at the bane of his torment). Secondary School I believed was doing to be a breath of fresh air, a whole new meaning and start. But Christ was I going to be let in for a disappointment. The name calling tripled, got pushed around a few times. But still continued to stand my ground, not thinking much of it. Until I believed I had made ‘true friends’.
Had a nice friendship group, some I’d known from Primary School. But there was one person whom I didn’t entirely see eye to eye with. (I mean who could see eye to eye with someone who thought it was ok to bully people who are mentally disabled. Who constantly put people down for not agreeing with them, bullying people into become their friend. Who was just an absolutely horrendous person and thought doing all this was ok, that people deserved it. Yeah, I wasn’t about to be siding with a degenerate person such as this). To put a long story short, because I didn’t agree with them. They bullied me constantly until I was nothing, I was isolated by them and they all turnt away from me.
Some of the people I’d helped through everything, I was always there for, I was willing to help them out no matter what. And they isolated me, hurt me behind my back and liked to watch me make a complete fool of myself, because I’d been ignorant the entire time. Their voices continue to echo in my brain, like their haunting me with their insults and torments.
Five years later I still get word from other people that they’re constantly lingering on what happened. They still like to pick at me, that is where the stupidness of social networking comes in. They continue to do it on Twitter, Facebook and other Social Networking sites.
They may not know it, but they left a deep wound in my brain. I now have trust issues and anxiety due to this and it’ll most likely continue into my older adult life.
Funny isn’t it. It’s all fun at the time for them, but it leaves damage. Long lasting damage even when they’ve most likely forgotten they were the catalyst for it in the first place.
I got off lucky though, whilst the bullying left a jagged wound. The name calling and constantly getting asked what gender I am. Just because I happen to dress differently, what even gives people the right to question such a thing. Got pushed around quite alot, but I came out the other side. I came out stronger than what I was going in. Whilst the mental scars are there, they made me stronger in realising not to take it anymore.
I got off lucky in the prospect that I didn’t need to self harm or anything such as that. But there are others out there who do, who bottle up all their sorrow and fear and feel the only way is by doing hurting themselves to relieve it.
Anyone who does end up resorting to this, they’re at their lowest. They need someone, anyone who can offer them a hand and help them up.
In my opinion, someone who has fallen so slow into the darkest depths of despair that they resort to cutting is a harrowing prospect. But it takes an even stronger person to climb out of the deepest despair and overcome it.
So I say to anyone who is being bullied, stand up, scream it from the rooftops or something, tell the world you’re being bullied. Someone will notice and someone will always be there to help, regardless of your position. It’s a disgusting habit which people believe is ok and it shouldn’t be seen as ok. Bullying hurts, it may not be physical, but the mental scars are there. Just because they’re unseen, doesn’t mean it doesn’t exist.
Even now I sometimes feel worthless, constantly questioning myself. Why can’t I be normal? Why can’t I just have friends and carry on? I really did deserve it, didn’t I? No one ever deserves to be bullied. Even at the age of 21 and when I was in college. I made two friends, two friends who mean a huge deal to me. They accepted me for who I am, even with the strange little quirks I have. They’ve done such a great deal for me, more than they’d possibly ever realise. And I’m eternally grateful for them and what they’ve done for me.
I did find friends, real friends. But that doesn’t really let the walls down, they’re still up and they’re not going anywhere. But there are a few who do slowly pass by.
Even in the darkness, there is always that small glimmer of light waiting at the end.
That is my long story put short. If even one person reads it and it helps them, then that is more than enough.
Anyone who has had experiences should really consider writing it. It’ll help others who are in the same position or worst, and could just save someone’s life.
A poem from J:
Can I tell you something,
If you promised not to tell another soul?
I’m circling in a constant ring
Despising myself, despite what I’ve been told.
I’m alone, alone protects me.
I hardly even speak.
So full of despair I can’t see
The tension around me has formed a peak.
I glance at the door,
Hoping that someone will walk through.
I want them to see I can’t take it anymore,
I can’t continue being strong for them, too.
Every breath hurts,
I force a smile anyways.
Even though I feel like dirt,
I always say that I’m okay.
I mean, it’s not fair
That I should depend on those
Who have their own worries and cares,
In a world where anything goes.
I’m the embodiment of things people hate.
A being burdened by untrue stereotypes.
I can’t change what my parents create,
Even though I try with all my might.
These emotions are killing me,
Slowly, but steady as can be.
The wounds aren’t ones that others can physically see,
But my life will be the fee.
I have come so close,
Yet find myself further than before.
Freedom was under my nose.
But the urge became no more.
I’m still here today, as you can see.
Alive and yet still dead.
My world has crumbled around me,
Each day brings me more dread.
He’ll never hand me off,
To the man I may never love.
He’ll never walk again, they scoff.
Oh, don’t they see the pain they caused, in eyes more tender than a dove?
Mama’s made the same promise,
She’s never kept before.
At least the cancerous mist
Is on the other side of the door.
The rate of employment is low,
While the prices are lifted higher.
My sisters ask for work, everyday they go.
Yet it doesn’t stop our pockets from becoming even drier.
I wish that there was something,
I could do to help.
But a girl of bittersweet sixteen,
Is more hindrance than help.
I yearn for things I’ll probably never see.
A healthy mom and dad,
Sisters working merrily.
Maybe if things went right for once, I wouldn’t be so sad.
I’ve tossed aside the chance
Of a stolen bliss,
Because of the slightest glance
From the people I would miss.
I’ve got a family,
It’s a bit broken, but it’s true.
They’re what’s protected me
From the things I sometimes do.
I’m still here today,
No better than before.
“It’s a start.”, I say.
As tears silently make their way to the floor.
From J, who urges those affected to ‘not go through it alone’:
I was 11 or 12 in the mid 1980’s and grew up in a wonderful rural North Yorkshire village, as far as I was concerned I had every thing.
I knew the transition from the small cosy village primary school to the huge High School with 1500 pupils 10 miles away would be a tough one but I never really thought it would be like it turned out.
There were 3 bus stops in the village, I got on at the second stop and 2 sisters got on at the stop by the church. I found my seat next to my friend Joanne. We always sat in the same place. These two girls would get on each morning and PUSH past me with their bags, physically pushing my torso in to Joanne. They then headed to the back seats, you know the types, they dominated the seats and no one else would dare to sit there. Pathetic really.To be honest I never really thought that much of it, that all came later.
I was a chubby little thing, wore a duffle coat and probably looked quite cute to some but for a reason only known to them I was dirt. I had never done anything to them, never. They were older than me I think one was in the lower sixth form and the other in the 4th year.
As the weeks went by the pushing carried on and then the words started, general name calling and emphasising my name so I was aware they were talking about me. Quite a task on a loud noisy school bus, but hey they achieved it.
Then they got others to join in, people who I thought wouldn’t do this, my ‘friends’ sister would join in, taunting and being, well just horrid. They used to get off the bus at different bus stops so they could squeeze a bit more tease at me. I remember I never used to look at the bus window as I walked past as I knew there would be some gesture pointing in my general direction.
There was another girl who lived across from our house, she was less offensive but I still kept my distance. I remember my Dad had been taken very ill and was in hospital, the 3 bitches were busy doing their stuff and the more decent of them said “stop it now, don’t be too awful, her Dad’s in hospital”, why do I think of those words so often? I don’t know. But I do.
This went on twice a day 5 days a week, I had some respite when the elder sister wasn’t there as the younger one wasn’t so tough without her
Let me tell you a bit about them, they lived in the ‘big’ house, their father worked for ICI their mother was a teacher I think. I guess they were middle class. There were 3 sisters, one of them had a good singing voice and was always in the local am dram productions. I loved amateur dramatics and loved the pantomimes thankfully I still went along as I new they’d be in the older groups and our paths wouldnt cross too much, and if they did there would be adults around so she wouldn’t dare be unkind to me
I had been in the Brownies and Mum was keen for me to continue on to Girl Guides, at the age of 11 I remember saying NO NO NO, I don’t want to join. I would never explain why. I knew their mother ran the guides and at least one of them would be there. I missed out. My friends went, my Mum wanted me to go and I wanted to go but no way on earth was I going to go. I only told my Mum why I wouldn’t join a couple of years ago. She had no idea!
Thankfully this particular situation dissipated as one left sixth form then one left 5th year and one of the recruits family moved out of the area. It came to a natural close.
To some this won’t seem much, but it was, let me tell you it really was. I have struggled with confidence and general acceptance of my self. I blame a lot on these sisters and I believe they have a lot to answer to.
Unfortunately they do come back in to my thoughts from time to time. You know what, a few years ago I learnt that the youngest was was getting married……she got stood up on her wedding day, jilted at the alter. I was absolutely elated, and I laughed.
They moved to London many years ago. not sure if I will ever see them again, but believe me if I do, I will say something to them. I want to see the look in their eyes. They were and probably still are very unattractive both physically and in personality, I would like to know they they picked on me?
One of their recruits (my ‘friends’ sister) is on Facebook, the times I have been tempted to mention those bus journeys ….would she remember. Of course she would.
My friend went through a similar experience, she grew up in Scotland, we met through work and it was many years later that I learnt she was bullied, so we spoke about our experiences. She had been visiting family back in Scotland and was out shopping when a woman approached, with her mother and family in tow – all giggly and smiling saying something along the lines of “hiya, great to see you again, how have you been, you are looking fantastic” my friend responded a little cooler ” Don’t you hiya me, you made my life a misery at school. You were a bully” and with that my friend walked off, leaving everyone else with their mouths hanging open. And why not…….
So that’s me, I am 40 now. I still have a lot of self doubt but am generally ok. I understand life is all about experiences but bullying is one that NO one should go through.
If you haven’t been tormented it can be difficult to understand.
If you are being bullied, say some thing – to your Mum or Dad, a teacher or a friend. People will help.
Looking back I wish I had told Mum and Dad as I know my Dad would have sorted it.
Please…don’t go through it alone