I’ve tried to start this post multiple times and though what I want to write is crystal clear in my head, I am having a lot of difficulty getting it out.
Here is attempt number 27
I’d like to take you all on a trip down memory lane, circa 2006 – 2007, where it all began. It was my 1st year of university. I, like many others, was terribly excited to be an adult… well I was more excited to be living on my own for the first time in my life.
Oh to be young and foolish and to think that you are living without rules.
I know first year of university can be intimidating, what with having to form new friendships and the freshmen 15. I was prepared for all of that, I joined the hall committee and made friends pretty quickly, I stuck to my exercise routine and lost weight… take that freshmen 15!
What I wasn’t prepared for was being bullied at the age of 19.
Now, this wasn’t my first rodeo. I had been bullied before when I broke my front tooth after a fall and was labelled the fucking gremlin demon child but even that didn’t prep me for what lay ahead.
It comprised of emotional & verbal abuse, coupled with sexual harassment + a dose of slut shaming.
I would receive texts from random folks telling me that they wanted to feel me up or have sex with me just like my boyfriend does. Not that it was anyone’s business but I didn’t even have sex. -_-
On another instance, guy #1 stored his number under my name in guy #2’s phone and sent him misleading texts all week. And then guy #2 got mad at me and called me names. What the actual fuck?
My personal emails to my then boyfriend were circulated amongst people who got their jollies off watching other people be humiliated.
People who didn’t even know me, called me names for no good reason except that they heard it somewhere. A guy whom I scarcely knew, met me and his first words to me were, “wow you are not like who they say you are.”
What did it do to me?
My 19 year old brain was unable to deal with all of this shit and as a result I tried to kill myself on multiple occasions and was put on suicide watch. My therapist told me to report the bullies and get them suspended but I couldn’t bring myself to do it. What the fuck was wrong with me?
I wish I could say that I was strong enough to deal with all of this and I didn’t give a fuck about what people said about me. But I did.
I lived in constant fear of my bullies spotting me across the campus and making fun of me in front of everyone. I would regularly faint and have dizzy spells because it was extremely stressful to just go on living.
To be honest, I don’t remember exactly who all of the aggressors were, there were a few key people but there were also many bystanders, who joined in the festivities. Fuck all of y’all.
The whole situation brought out the worst in me. I was a mess, physically & emotionally. I neglected friendships, school and myself. And stayed in a toxic relationship I should have ended many years ago.
So why am I talking about this now?
An email that came in earlier this year got me thinking about this all over again. Here is an excerpt:
I have waited for this apology for years and I thought it would make me feel better but in fact it only served to make me feel worse. Because now I feel validated that all of it – every single second of it – did in fact happen.
I wasn’t imagining it, it wasn’t all in my head but was in fact a very real part of my existence.
It took me 10 years to get over all of this. If you think I am playing the victim, fuck you. It was the fear of victimizing myself that led me to keep quiet for 10 fucking god damned years.
To the people who will tell me it has been 10 years let it rest, move on. Do you have any idea what it did to me? The bullies may have moved on with their lives because to them I was probably this sad girl who deserved being made fun of but the pain they caused me continues to feed my PTSD.
It took 10 years, a loving husband, an understanding family and moving several continents away to dull the pain.
Would I do anything differently if I had the chance?
I really hope I would. I wish someone talked to me about this and how to deal with bullying. We like to pretend that if we don’t pay it any mind, bad things will go away.
I would try to form a better support system around me. I didn’t share all of this with anyone for years because I felt so ashamed of myself.
I know I can’t turn back time but when I do have a child, I want to tell them to be true to who they are and not let anyone bring them down. To stand up for themselves instead of being scared of losing “friends” and that real friends will never put you through this kind of mental torture.
What I want to come out of talking about this
If you have ever been bullied or are being bullied, talk about it, get support from your family and friends. Don’t feel ashamed, it is NOT your fault.