Bullying – My Story

I have been pretty open about my anti bullying stance. It’s one thing that gets my blood boiling whenever i hear of a bullying instance and it absolutey breaks my heart when i hear of a bullying related suicide. Many are surprised to learn that as a kid in high school i was mercilessly bullied.They cant reconcile my current persona with a bullied kid… I guess its amazing what 20 years can do.

In primary school things were pretty OK as i always hung out with the older kids. I remember in kindergarten we were partnered up with a year 6’er to make sure we felt welcomed at school. I cant remember my year 6’ers name and this is probably the first time since year 1 that i have thought about him but i remember he became my best friend and his friends became mine. This trend of befriending older friends continues to this very day.. The relevance of this will become important later.

IN year 2 the only memory i have is of visiting the classrooms with my sister and asking the teachers if they needed any help. I was just trying to be helpful but apparently this wasnt “cool”. i didnt care because this is what i wanted to do.

In year 4, i became the shadow of my teacher, Mr Robinson. I followed him around on the playground when he was on duty, and did everything he did. I even started taking steps “as long as his”…… my 8 year old legs matching a teachers stride (i remember him being huge but he was probably less than 6 foot)? Wasnt ever going to work, but i do remember this is when i started to walk up stairs 2 at a time. Mr Robinson wrote a play called “The Great South Land”…. of course i had to be in it. I was. AND had a speaking part. I was the writers teachers pet, of course i did. Before i left the school, Mr Robinson left… I was devastated! Until he gave me a copy of his album and Entrepeneur, the card game he invented. The card game got worn out and the record was known word for word rapidly.

Mr Robinson proved one thing to me – teachers could be trusted.

It was around this time that i met a riend who would become (and still is) one of best friends – Danielle came in to our school from somewhere else. Her sister Iysha made friends with my sister (The “Do you need any help Sir” one) and me and Danielle became friends by default (Me and crystal were inseperable). Danielle was a year above me in school and we hung out until she left for high school.

When i finally got the high school, thats when things changed for the worse. Alot of my friends in primary school turned against me for god knows what reason as soon as we went to high school (i was no longer asking the teachers if they needed help), so i followed my usual pattern and became friends with year tenner’s. I felt good hanging with the older guys. But this time it was because i thought i needed their “protection” from my old friends. So i hung out with these year tenners every day at school until one day i remember they said “Lets go to the library and pick on pizza face” . I followed them to the library to find “pizza face” and was about to join in until i found out who it was…. i never hung out with the year tenners again.

Danielle and i started hanging out again from that visit to the library until she left the school. There was absolutely no way i felt OK with allowing my “friends” to bully my real friend. And i didnt have to think twice about dropping them to prove it. Danielle escaped their bullying that day but it was only one compared to many she didnt. Danielle’s bullying story is not mine to tell, but at the time she had it much worse than i did. Many days i’d come to school and she would either not be there or she would be but leave in a flood of tears after a bullying. It always upset me. I never showed it in case it turned on me..weak.

One incident in particular sticks in my mind – Danielle came to school already crying after being bullied more than usual on the bus… we hung out as usual and then after a while Danielle turned on me for being a bad friend. She left in tears and went home soon after…. i had no idea what the hell i had done! And why after so many bullyings she took this one to heart so much. Until a friend of hers reminded me of the date – 23rd March…Danielles Birthday. I could not get home quick enough to call her and i felt every piece of bad friend she made me out to be. I still get choked up even thinking about it.

Through Danielle i met a group of people that are actually mostly on my facebook still! Including my first man crush (Jason Donovan isnt included), Adam…. Enough about that. Those who around at the time can have a giggle at that! Danielle, Adam, Dave, Andrew all hung out at School and this was probably the first real group of friends that i had in high school (year 8??) The years with them were awesome and we all hung out until they left school……

When they left i had one friend left – Bernie. We were besties of besties. We did eveything together. And hung out in the library ( ifelt safe there). Bernie was my rock during my last two years of school. The most horrendous and painful 2 years of my life. Not once did her support for me falter and it got rough. Due to an unfortunate understanding about a situation that involved my scratching my genitals through my shorts ( i was trying to be discreet), within 2 hours the whole school “knew” that i was having a pull in Japanese.. before i knew they knew….

Looking back now i could see why i was a target for bullying. I remember running around telling everyone that i was going to Celine Dion’s concert. With my French Teacher (my best friends mum)…. And being ultra excited about getting Boys II Men’s album and lending it to anyone that would ask so id feel popular and cool…. I knew this is why i was picked on but i didnt care…. If i had known that this would be the last time that i would feel comfortable to completely be myself for about 15 years i would have cared even less….

Needless to say life changed in that 5th period lesson. It was the last Japanese class i went to in about a year. Other students suddenly thought it was OK to yell seriously disgusting things at me in the middle of the playground, to walk on the opposite side of the path as if something i had they could catch by coming close. Eventually it got to the point where it was ok to peg full pelt tennis balls at me as i walked past. Or kick soccer balls. Pushing and shoving was a given.

For the last year of school i wore my school jumper to school every day. Whether it be rainy, cold, or boiling hot 40 degree days, i would wear my jumper. I needed a way to hide the fishing knife that i carried to school every day. I would not be on my own, nor would i walk through the school grounds without the knife up my sleeve in my hand.

I never had the guts to use it. The worse the bullying got the less confident i got that i should/could protect myself. Thats the way it works.

I could confide in one person at school when it all started- my japanese teacher. I told him the story about what happened but he wasnt allowed to say anything. I knew from year four that i could trust teachers. He kept his word and didnt say anything. I do remember that when my French teacher Mrs Flint (my best mate’s mum) covered a japanese lesson (the first one i felt safe in returning to) she had been filled in on the fact that i was at risk and stood up for me from the very start of the class.. My faith in teachers was strengthened.

Eventually all my teachers knew (i told them for my own safety). No detail just that i ws being bullied. One instance stand out in my head in English. We had to stand up in front of the class and give a speech about some shakespeare thing. I started my speech and one of my main bullies would not quit giving me shit during it. I snapped and yelled out “Fuck you (insert his name here) you c*#t”… i looked at my English teacher Mrs Ward (Tough old school upper class actuall english teacher) and she ws shocked (der). i bolted. He got sent out. Mrs Ward found me, tears in my eyes, terrified and exhuasted from the whole thing”. First thing she did was pull me in and hold me telling me everything was going to be OK. I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed…. This is how she found out… The bully was suspended. Nothing happened to me. Mrs Ward became my greatest protector. Faith. Strengthened.

During my last year of school i became part of an awesome group of friends that almost became a little protective barrier. When i was with them the bullying didnt matter. I didnt need my knife but it was always close. They may have saved my life.

The last day of school, i could not get out of there quick enough. I thought once i left school it would be over…. How wrong i was. Yes the bullying stopped but the damage had only just started to surface. I rebelled. Until i was 21, nearly dead on a hospital bed from a drug overdose. I went goth, i took every drug i could get my hands on, i did everything that wasnt me in order to be cool. I felt cool but i was empty and getting emptier every day.

Once i got out of hospital alive, i knew i had to look at myself and figure out what i could do. I had no idea who i had become. So full of hate. For everyone but most of all for me. But it wasnt my hate i was feeling… It was my bullies hate for me. it was driven into me for so long and then suppressed for so long that now it had grown into a part of me. And it took forever to kill. It took forever to actually believe that i was worth liking.

THIS is why i hate bullying. Although i was bullied the whole way through high school, the last two years were the worst. The rest of it was a couple of people every now and then. I could handle it. I can honestly say it took 15 years for me to completely get over those two years and be comfortable with who i am. And ACTUALLY comfortable. ALthough the bullying is a part of my history and therefore a part of who i am now i would not wish it upon my worst enemy.

I dont have the answers as to how we solve the bullying issue….. It has been around forever and always will be. I can not fault my teachers response to it. Once they knew i always felt like i was supported and safe. And it took me 15 years to get over. Can you imagine if this wasnt the case?

One thing i am sure of is that it needs to be dealt with. Both the bullied and the bullies. The bullied NEED support. They need to feel safe and supported. The bullies need to know they are NOT supported in their actions and that it will not be tolerated. At ALL! Not one little bit.

The fact that people i meet now mention that they cant reconcile me with the 17 year old bullied me, is the final piece in my recovery. Its proof that i am once again whole. And the timing could not be better.

If you are tagged in this note YOU made a difference to my life. Your role whether you knew it or not helped me through some of the most horrifying years of my life. I will never forget what you did for me.

Bullying – There is NO justification

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One Response to “Bullying – My Story”

  1. Oh sweetie, so sorry you had such a horrible time in HS & that the nasty little b@$tards were allowed to get away with it.
    Huge hugs for your teenage self.
    My school had a very strong anti bullying stance which was essentially policed by the yr 12 (Form 7) students. Any whiff of something untoward was easily passed on to the 7th Form common room & words were then exchanged between the bully and the (usually much older) students. I dont recall ever seeing anything physical ever take place between any students of any age, but perhaps that was just the luck of the draw of the students we had during that period. It does make me sick to read about the torment that some kids are forced to go through. A HS should be a place where you feel safe to be, to hang out in, to learn in, to grow in. Keep fighting the good fight Waylon.

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