I found it difficult to conform. I liked to do things in a way that suited me, and although we all ended up in the same place whether it was a project, assignment or just normal classwork, it simply wasn't allowed. My teachers liked to make me 'undo' what I had achieved on my own, so that I could work at the same pace as everyone else. I was made fun of by the adults who were meant to be guiding me, so it inevitably followed that the other children picked up on the vibe and began harassing me.
I was a good student, but that didn't count for much with my teachers. Being an A student didn't make up for the fact that they couldn't relate to me or force me to conform to the sheep mentality everyone else was happy to follow.
I buried myself in my school work and pretended I didn't care....but I did!
I felt I couldn't tell anyone, because who would believe a kid who says their teacher is bullying them, making them look foolish in front of other children and generally making their life a misery. Nothing I did was right or good enough. I hated school and I hated my life.
Every time I was called up to the front of the class, I would feel physically ill, the room would spin and I would be so scared I would be engulfed in this horrible black energy that surrounded me.All that suppressing of emotion made me feel ill. I made excuses to stay home. I would put my fingers down my throat and make myself sick, so I wouldn't have to go in and face those horrible bullies, both in and out of the classroom.
I became withdrawn. I had no friends, but instead of telling my parents, I would pretend I was meeting them down at their place...and I would sit in the strawberry patch over the road until I felt enough time had gone by for me to say I had been sent home as they were going out.
This went on for years. I began to develop physical symptoms. I had headaches, my stomach ached and churned, and my hair even began to fall out. I felt depressed, even though I had no idea what that meant in those days. I can remember one day after school feeling very much alone and thinking I should just 'stop the pain' of my life....until I looked at all the things I would miss if I did that. I thought about my parents and grandparents, who all loved me. I wondered how they would feel if I wasn't here anymore. I cried as I realised how sad they would be, especially because they didn't know why I felt this way or what was making me so sad.
That was a turning point for me. I realised I didn't need to do this alone, that I could talk to someone and I could ask others for help. Just because I was a child didn't mean that no one would listen to me. That night I talked to my parents and explained what was happening at school and how alone I felt.
Sharing felt good...and it did good. Not only was I able to see that my parents believed in me, but also that they were prepared to fight for me. That night I learned that bullying only continues if no one knows about it.
And so it is with life. We all run into bullies of some kind, no matter what we do. We believe they have the power to make us feel small or insignificant, when really, they only have that power because we 'give' it to them. For some the power of being able to make others feel small is how they begin to feel strong and powerful. Bullies are a lot like balloons. If we refuse to give them that 'power', they lose all that hot air that resides within, that same hot air that feeds off our fear, and they deflate. The more we speak of bullying and bullies, the less they can comfortably exist. No matter what stage of life we are at, we need to say 'NO' to bullying and allow others to see what is happening, so changes can be made.
with love, respect and integrity