My NaNoWriMo fetures

Thank you to the Bullies (my truth)

Thank you to the Bullies.

This is a letter to those out there who decided for whatever reason to use me as your verbal kicking post, to bully me.

I want to say thank you. Strange, I know, to receive thanks for picking on someone for years of their life, for making them feel worthless, hated, unloved. But I suppose I could say that without your hatred of me, without your apparent jealousy of who I am and what I can do, I wouldn’t have become the person I am today.

I won’t bother pretending to understand what it is that I had supposedly done to offend you, I may not have even known you, but you took a dislike to me for a reason only you will ever know and you used that reason against me regardless of what I did, and made it your mission to make my life as miserable as you possibly could.

Congratulations. You succeeded. I hope you’re happy with yourselves.

Yes, many years have passed since I said goodbye to the torturous years of education. Not that the education was torturous, just the daily rounds of verbal abuse from so called peers who liked to think that they’re better than me just because they lived under a different post code. But, just because the years have passed, does this mean that the effects of their actions, their hateful words has diminished? Afraid not.

You see, the younger a person is when they’re bullied, the easier it is for their lives to be shaped by the victimisation; something the bullies themselves don’t seem to understand. Picture this. A four-year-old girl starts nursery school, she’s average height for her age, red hair, blue eyes. To all intents and purposes, she’s like any other child, save one difference – the girl is a little heavier than most. (What the girl won’t find out until she’s a grown woman is that her weight is the result of a medical condition that she was born with).

So it begins. The new girl isn’t just a red head (ginger to the bullies) – hair colour was actually a dark red called Auburn – the new girl is FAT. This in itself is apparently enough for shallow minded individuals to take an instant dislike to the girl, irrespective of whether they had ever spoken to her or not, and decide it is a good idea to taunt the girl about her size, her shape.

Funny how fast a person can get used to being called ‘Fatty’, ‘Tubby’, and such like. Trouble is, as used to it as you think you are, every time another kid shouts it out to you across the yard, it hurts that little bit more. You daren’t eat your packed lunch because you’re being watched to see what you’re eating, so you make do with the sandwiches and the drink, take the rest home again, make out to your mother that you weren’t hungry (only to get shouted out by your mother because you hadn’t eaten all of the lunch).

This attitude from the others carries on all the way throughout school, through primary school, into senior school, and it hurts all the way. I was actually glad to be going to a different senior school to those who had bullied me through primary school, only to find out on my first day that not only had some of the bullies gone to the same school as me, they were in the same tutor group! I couldn’t escape them.

As the bullies got older, so did their taunts and attitudes. I had gotten to the point that I didn’t dare do anything that would draw attention to me. I would barely answer questions in class unless I was asked directly, I certainly wouldn’t volunteer an answer. I hid the types of books I was reading – not only was I the fat girl, I was the fat girl who knew how to read faster than anyone else, I was the fat girl who wrote stories at home. I wasn’t about to be the fat girl who could sing as well.

It was only when I gained my Prefect badge in year 10 that things started to change, that some of the bullies from the older year groups had left and I finally felt like I could breathe. I finally got the hang of standing up for myself and fighting back. I wasn’t going to be walked over anymore. Not that it didn’t stop people from trying. I finally gained myself some respect by being able to do a pretty decent Javelin throw, play a reasonable game of tennis and so on. Still, it didn’t stop the names from being thrown in my direction.

You see, I’ve always been the kind of person who would do anything to help anyone. I would carry extra books for someone, help someone else with their homework, be the person that someone else could talk to about their issues. But, ask yourself this – who ever did the same for me? Nobody.

My own work suffered while I was trying to help others. Yet it wasn’t just the bullies at school I was having to contend with, oh no, I was also having to contend with the bullying of my mother, an alcoholic who refused to admit that she had a problem, even when it was obvious to everyone else.

You see, what the school bullies didn’t know about me was that I was the youngest of four, and due to the age gap, I grew up like an only child. (Yes, the others would visit on weekends, but only to see mother, so I had to leave the room, so the grown-ups could talk). This meant that there was no real buffer between me and my mother when she had drunk one too many.

My mother would join in with the bullies, picking on me for my build, for the fact I liked to read, for any little thing I did. I had no option but to spend my time at home sitting with my mother, watching the soaps, not being allowed to spend time on my homework, studying, reading, or whatever. I had to sit and listen to my mother spend hours at a time calling me down, calling my dad, saying the most evil things and all because she’d had a few drinks again.

Brandy and Gin were the favourites. The drinks steadily got stronger and stronger. The same excuse, that she didn’t go anywhere so why couldn’t she have a drink?

Please understand me, I’m not saying this to gain pity – it is far too late for that. I’m saying it to put things into perspective for those who thought it would be a good idea to bully a child for years just because they thought they knew something about me.

Thanks to the bullies, thanks to my mother, I don’t do a lot of things that I know I’m capable of doing. I don’t sing in public – you’ll never catch me on a karaoke machine, even though I’m capable of belting out tunes that would scare a lot of you. I don’t drink, apart from the rare (and I mean rare) occasions that I just feel like a Cider, or very recently, on a night out, I had a gin cocktail (had to swallow back some bad memories with the gin I can tell you). I hide myself away in loose baggy clothing (I’ve lost a lot of weight, but this won’t ever change), and the confidence I show in public is exactly that, a show. I have no self esteem worth a damn, my “confidence” comes from small victories over the years and the ability to finally show people what I can do, hence my website, my writing.

I’m not published yet as a writer, all because my confidence is so low. I’m scared to put myself on the line like that, to give the bullies something else that they can call me for. I’m 35, yet my head reverts back at times to being 14 again, to being a kid being told by their own mother that if they failed their SATS exams, they needn’t bother going back home because they wouldn’t be welcome, they would be better off killing themselves. (you wouldn’t believe how lucky you are that I’m actually still around).

So who am I now? There are times I’m not sure. I spend every day doing my best to bury the past in the recesses of my mind, but it is always there. My past, the bullying, the memories of spending weekends picking my mother up off the floor when she’d had one too many, its all there.

I am the person that will still do anything I can to help someone else out. I am the person who writes in their spare time as a way to ease the stress, the depression. I am the person who has a small circle of friends who I trust and love dearly, they know who they are. I am the person who has somehow become stronger in character thanks to everything that has happened before. I am the person who no longer allows others to walk all over them. I am the person that struggles to believe that they are worthy of their other half, no matter how much they say they love me. I am the person that walks away when someone decides to call me names.

Thank you to the bullies who helped to turn me into who I am today. I am, in many ways the same person you knew all those years ago, but I am not your verbal kicking post anymore.

Do you know anyone who has been bullied? Were you the victim of Bullying? Don't do what i did and bottle it up - you only ever end up feeling a whole lot worse. Talk to someone. It will help. Remember, you are worthy of love, you are surounded by people who love you, will support you. You are not alone.  I will always listen to those who want to talk to me. Always. 

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