Growing up curvy, mixed-race with a “big head” and “pancake face” as well as, having “fag dads” meant that I was an easy target for the school bullies. (NB “words bullies used”).
I’d be taunted in the school corridors, I’d be pulled by my hair (although that back fired on them when they tried to pull me down the stairs as I’d learnt self defence), and they’d try to dig at any of the little self-esteem that I had left.
I hated being different.
Why couldn’t I just fit in? I desperately longed to be “normal.”
But I was/am unique, I can see that now, although hindsight is a wonderful thing.
I remember that the bullying got so bad, the bullies sunk so low, that I felt no other option but to walk out of school.
I made my way into Sheffield City Centre and bought hair dye, as I wanted to change who I was, and lots of medication.
I was relieved when I finally got home, my safe place.
I took time off school “ill” but that didn’t stop the bullying. I got text messages and voicemails.
They were intruding my safe place.
I just wanted to die, I couldn’t escape and I hated who I was.
Even the teachers seemed to side with bullies as I was threatened with exclusion for walking out.
School didn’t exclude the bullies, just me, because I couldn’t cope.
Fortunately there was one teacher I could rely on, Mrs Wilson, who pretty much saved my life, just by listening to me.
But sadly, I continued to be harassed at school and at home via text and answerphone.
So my family decided to call the police.
The police were amazing! They took the bullying seriously and they visited me and explained that they could arrest the bullies if I wanted them to.
But I couldn’t stand the thought of them being arrested, in case they came after me even more, and part of me also felt bad for them.
So instead the police cautioned them.
And literally over night the bullying stopped.
Did bullying “toughen” me up?
It’s often said that bullying is just “part of school life” and it can be good for someone.
Well that’s a load of tosh. Yes I came out of being bullied and have now found my voice to share my story.
But was bullying good for me?
It knocked my self-esteem and confidence from a very young age and I’m sure it has been a factor in my mental breakdowns.
Yes, now I love the fact I’m a bit different. I like being unique but that doesn’t mean I’m strong enough to not care what people think.
Any negative remark directed to me, hurts me greatly, it shouldn’t, but it does. I avoid and shudder at any conflict.
Now my own daughter goes to school.
My view on bullying is now stronger than ever.
No, it does not do someone good. Yes, it may shape them but more often than not it’ll have a negative impact on the victim’s life.
No way should we tolerate bullying at school, in the home or at work or anywhere.
So if you witness bullying please don’t just stand back and be quiet, support the victim.
This week marks anti-bullying week which inspired me to write this post.
Tweet me @mamameiblog #antibullyingweek