I never in my life would have thought of writing my personal teenager bullying story online, and exposing to the world something very personal that I’ve been trying to bury and forget for such a long time, but that over the years kept resurfacing over and over again, because it has always been there, deep inside my memories and my heart. The reason why I want to share my story, it’s because when we suffer from bullying, we probably think we’re the only ones in the world who’ve been hurt in such ways, but we’re far from being the only ones, and if there is someone out there who’s struggling with bullying and all its negative effects, and happens to read this, I hope that my experience can help in the best way I can, by sharing my personal bullying story. First of all, all I can tell you, dear reader, is that you’re not alone.
When I was in primary school I used to have many girl friends, and everybody knew me for being very talkative while being around other kids; I was a normal kid who went to a Catholic School for young girls and after school, I used to play with my many friends in my neighborhood (I used to have two best girl friends -Maggie and Kenny- with whom I have now on facebook but we rarely talk and I haven’t seen in more than ten years, but some of my dearest memories are in company of these two wonderful ladies who were always kind and nice to me). As a normal kid, I grew up among many female and male cousins.
Everything was fine, until once puberty hit, I started getting bullied by other girls from school who used to think too highly of themselves. Of course at first, these were girls that were popular and were always (as they used to say) in parties and had boyfriends and knew about fashion; and of course, I wanted to be their friend. Bottom line, I was so wrong for wanting or even daring to ask them to be part of their group, and I quickly realized how ugly these girls really were on the inside.
What they did to me probably ended up affecting my entire life, of course that is not the only bad experience I’ve had, like everybody else; but I can definitely relate my trust issues towards other women thanks to that specific experience. These were mean girls that used to talk on everyone’s backs, calling them ugly, poor, losers; and probably not just on their backs but also they made sure the other girls knew it too. I don’t think the other girls really minded their comments, I never knew of any one who may have been a direct target of their bullying; but unfortunately, it was me who was their perfect victim. It was my own 14-year old naivety, hunger for attention and popularity, that fed their egos in a monstrous way, and soon I ended up being the biggest victim of their 8th grade popularity power play.
This group was pretty big, a total of eleven or twelve girls in total, who used to control everybody else, even the teachers (I’m not kidding, the teachers used to trust them to run the group and to claim themselves “group presidency” or something like that), who used to claim themselves as the nerdy, smart, pretty and -ahem- rich ones (they were just spoiled girls from middle class families who used to get whatever they wanted from their poor, busy parents), and probably not all of them really did care about messing with me, as some of them were pretty cool and nerdy and they used to care more about getting good grades; but I do remember at least there were four of them whose faces and names I still haven’t forgotten, and I remember them in a specific order, from who made the worst damage, to the one who only laughed in my own face when she witnessed my disgrace.
You have to understand that being called a lesbian, in a Catholic school for young women, in Latin America, and realizing the next day that every girl has stopped talking to me because they were afraid of me, is something pretty heavy (not that I have anything against the LGBT community, in fact, I’m very supportive of this community); but it was the year 2002, and like I mentioned, in a Catholic environment, in Latin America these things are still taboo, and being bullied and mocked for something that I am not, by the girls who I wanted to be friends with; felt like some kind of stabbing in the back (or more likely, paralyzing me, rendering me defenseless and stabbing me in the chest over and over again) and it made me become very depressed for several months afterwards. Not only the L name calling, but being mocked because of the way I spoke, my hair texture, being mocked for not having money (when in fact, I was as much middle class like them, but I was not a spoiled kid who got every new toy in the market, my mother did not replace her love and attention with material things), being called ugly and fat, and they even used to mock my white skin (which was funny because the alpha mean girl used to have pretty much the same skin color as me). It was all utterly ridiculous and silly and they just used to invent all that crap and lies just because they found in me the perfect naive, innocent victim to ridicule as they pleased.
I ended up begging my mom to change me to another school, where girls were normal and not sick in the head and not full of all that telenovela crap those girls used to absorb (because yeah, those girls used to talk about the every day episodes of those popular soap operas about popular high school girls and silly romance and similar crap that I also used to enjoy and that now I realize how wrong of an example those things give to young teenager girls). And right after I changed schools, the girls kept trying to still spread rumors and crap about me, but it was short lived, soon all that was forgotten and in the past; except, I never, ever, but not for one moment forgot.
I lived many years with a lot of hate towards them, and towards the school itself, for being so focused in traditional Catholic lectures but they did a poor example of making sure those teachings were really applied to everyday life, and when my mom reported the bullying to the teacher, nobody, but nobody did nothing.
For many years I used to fantasize about giving each one of those girls the physical beating they deserved, turning into a bully from hell myself, but I was so scared of my mother punishing me afterwards or scared of not being accepted at another school for my misconduct; so I did nothing, and let them bully me, and that’s why I used to fantasize a lot about it in the years after. Honestly, I still think they deserved the beating a 100%; but today, I just feel very sorry for them, and I truly hope they realized how wretched they were, and I truly hope they changed. But if they never changed, or if they never regret what they did to me, well, that’s fine too. I know that those things happen during puberty years, I was no angel either, there were also occasions where I might have been rude or mean to another girl, and now that I’m older I can say that kids are mean sometimes, because they’re influenced by many things in their lives, or probably they’re suffering on the inside. Thing is, I think that two or three of these girls were from families whose parents were going through separation at the time, so I know they were in a way, suffering.
But on the other side, those scars left by bullying sometimes last forever, and they do so much damage, that they can totally reshape our personality and way of thinking or seeing other people. In my case, I completely stopped trusting females, I started having a hard time making and keeping female friends, during all the years after that, until these days, I’ve had female friends here and there, but I have had so many trust issues, and sometimes I’ve acted in ways that I now feel embarrased, because it has made me question myself: “did I turn into a bully myself?”.
Until a few recent years, or even months, I’ve still turned female friendships away from me: I don’t trust them my secrets, I don’t think they’re honest when they call me pretty or when they’re too nice to me. The constant feeling that they’re being hypocritical or that they waiting for the minimum chance to stab me in the back, it’s not a nice feeling. I am not entirely paranoid, of course I’ve had a few dearest friends, and I’ve been betrayed also, but my capacity of making new friends, and keeping them, it’s been greatly reduced, to the point that I had no female friends at all for a few years. Also, the fact that I have episodes of social anxiety doesn’t help either.
All these years I’ve been very judgmental of women, not only criticizing their appearance but also their intentions or their behavior. Saying all this really makes me feel shitty about myself, and I feel like a horrible person for admitting this, but it’s been months that I’ve been trying to leave all that behind, I’ve learned from my mistakes and I realized that this toxic attitude is not good at all, and it really made me feel very unhappy. Now I’m slowly starting to get a little bit closer to people, talk to women from different countries and backgrounds, hear their stories, and I’ve changed my mentality a lot, and I learned that all the negativity came from within myself. It was not those eight grade girls’s fault, but it was my own, for letting it affect me, and not learning from it.
After all, life experiences make us who we are, and it is within ourselves to let those things affect us negatively; or instead, to learn from them and turn those negative experiences into good ones.
Thank you very much for reading, do not hesitate to comment or share your experiences with me. ❤