I was made fun of as a kid. I bet you were, too--at some point, maybe. Kids can be cruel. Heartless. Awful. Downright horrible. I can still remember just how awful it felt in that moment to feel like one mean kid could ruin my day so hardcore. To make me feel so alone. So ugly. So self-conscious. So insecure.
In elementary school, I remember being made fun of by one specific boy--of course I remember his name. His name was Shawn. I'll leave off his very-specific-last name because let's be honest, Google is a brutal thing. But he was the first person I remember specifically being a bully to me. Calling me ugly because of a very small birthmark I had on my upper left cheek.
He made specific comments about what I always thought was a "beauty mark" (as my momma so lovingly referred to it, as momma's should), and said things like, "Ewww look at that HUGE pimple on your cheek!" and everyone around him would point and laugh. He told me how ugly I was because of it.
It horrified me.
I was a bit on the shyer side as a kid. So being called out for something that required attention being brought to me? Was my version of elementary hell.
Do you know that I begged and pleaded with my mom to get it removed? And you know what? I did have it removed. Of course, you can still see it (if you look), but to me, it was the only option.
Kids can be cruel.
In middle school, it was the bus. The freakin' bus. Middle school years on the bus were awful. God-awful. I was friends with a girl who had a severe eating disorder. So, obviously, she was very, very thin. I was very, very normal. An older 8th grader, who was very overweight, and probably very insecure made it her life goal to make us feel awful about ourselves. For months and months she would taunt us, saying lots of comments about how fat I was (I wasn't fat, actually) and how skinny my friend was. Saying that I should loan her some of my "fat" so she wouldn't be so skinny anymore.
Honest to goodness. Just plain cruelty. One day, I remember that she crushed up cheez-it's onto the seat ledge and then BLEW them into our hair.
Fury. Rage. But yet I kept my cool (somehow), and it went as far as having the principal have to ride our bus, a video camera installed, and some of those bully-kids getting removed from bus privileges. It got that bad.
From what I can remember, all of my siblings dealt with bullying to some degree. Nothing was wrong with us by the worlds standards. Just some random butthead's standards at the time, who, probably? Was dealing with some sort of big-issue at home and brought out their best mean-kid-bully-jerk act at school.
But as a kid? As a teen, even? It's hard to see past that. It's hard to realize that, when in the face of being humiliated, it's really their problems showing through. Glaring, really. With a big, bold, light--and a neon sign over their head. Things like, "I hate myself", "I'm stupid", or maybe? Something you have or exude in your personality hits them in a spot that makes them jealous. Or taps on their insecurities.
Heck, it's hard as an adult to see past that when you're being bullied. Trust me on this, adult bullies exist. Especially in this world of blogging. We're not quite as bold as we were as kids. We bully behind computer screens.
The truth of the matter is this. We've probably all been bullied at one time or another. As a kid? It hurts. A lot. It does. As an adult? It hurts. But maybe a little less. Why? The turning point for me was when I chose not to internalize those words. Not to believe them. Not to let them soak in or penetrate my soul. Instead, I remember and hold onto the things I know are true of myself. Things my family and close friends can assure of me of. Can back me up on. Who I really am.
My sweet friend sent me this in an email yesterday...and it went along with this post, so I figured I'd share.
So. yea. You're gonna survive. We're gonna survive.
Because we're awesome like that.