So some people were interested in my childhood and school life from reading my last post. This post is gonna be quite personal and while I feel completely comfortable sharing anything with anyone, I don’t want you to feel like you’re going to miss out or feel bad if you’re not comfortable reading stuff like this. This will be a full account of what I went through so feel free to sift through because it’s going to be long. I’m not going to try and make this good writing, I’m going to try and make it as natural as possible so if you’re here for good writing, come back on Wednesdays 🙂
When I started Primary school (I’m English, so this is when I’m about 4 or 5) I was pretty popular. I was nice to everyone and everyone was nice to me back. I had a couple of really close friends and I enjoyed myself there. My Dad is a school care taker and we had to move for him to have a better job because we live as close to the school he’s working at as possible so he can help out at any time. This meant moving schools. I was moved to a tiny weeny school (I’m being serious there where about 100 students in the whole school, probably less) and because I wasn’t familiar with any of them I was immediately pushed away by everyone. I thought ‘fair enough, you know, they don’t know me maybe if I’m nice to them they’ll come to like me’. No such luck.
After a while though, I got along fairly well with most of them, but one girl in particular didn’t take very kindly to me at all. On one of my first days there, I sat down and she came up to me, pushed me off the chair and said “this is my spot”. She didn’t bother me much after that but she made it clear to me that I wasn’t cool and she didn’t like me. I made a couple of friends, I did go though some bullying, some of the younger boys threw stones at me once and my Mum tells me that on a school trip I got kicked a lot whilst in my seat, but it’s not as bad as it sounds these things only happened once and I was able to brush them off. I don’t remember most of that.
What I do remember though is when the nit nurse came to school. She would check children’s hair for head lice with a fine-toothed comb. There was one girl who always had nits, she had really thick long hair, but no body seemed too bothered by it. I also had nits but because it was me, I got bullied for it. They used some really harsh terms like “nit bag” and “flee circus”. It was very distressing to go through. Some of my friends defended me, but a lot of the kids that I had befriended in the past stayed away from me like I had some kind of disease. Everything I did after that became something to mock and laugh at. But I got through it. With the friends I had, I could endure a lot of it.
In high school, I made friends very quickly, but soon I was seen as “different”. The priorities of a lot of the girls were different to mine. They wanted to be liked by everyone, they wanted to be noticed and popular and one of my best friends at the time also found that appealing. I couldn’t care less whether everyone accepted me or not, I just wanted someone to be friends with. I followed the rules, had a nice neat uniform, spoke like a lady and handed in my homework on time. This was not seen as cool. My first friend I made at high scool met someone else who told her how to be cool, she got contacts instead of glasses, started rolling up her skirt and wearing her tie lower. This new friend she had also told her that I wasn’t cool enough and to ditch me.
After that, anyone who was friends with me were seen as weak. I was too quick to trust people, too kind, and I was punished for it. Every friend I made for a while would catch on and start bullying me like the others. As if there was a secret joke that everyone new apart from me. My first friend had now become the one I feared the most. I stayed at home ill a lot, cried every morning and hung around the corners of the school were hopefully people would leave me alone. Meanwhile, at home, I was telling my Mum everything that was going on. for a while, she was the only person who seemed to be on my side. Then I made two lovely friends who listened to what happened to me and supported me a great deal. Although, I didn’t trust them at all and was constantly afraid that they would turn on me. My first friend was having none of it.
She would follow me and my new friends around the school, block me from going to classes so I would get told off for being late and shove me when I walked past her. She would bring people to come and taunt me when I was studying in the library. Anything I said to them they would make songs about and repeat over and over again. If I left, I was treated like a coward, if I stayed, I was verbally tortured. There was no winning.
In the end, though my mind stayed strong and I stayed true to myself, my body broke down. I had constant stomach aches and pains. The school nurse wouldn’t let me go home because my attendance was so poor as if keeping me in my own private hell was going to make me better. Eventually, my Mum took me to a homeopath who told me I had a “psycho -somatic” illness which means my body had created the stomach aches so I would have a legitimate excuse to not go to school and endure whatever horrors awaited me there. I also stopped eating breakfast because I felt sick every morning.
The Homeopath said that I had also developed a psycho -somatic wheat intolerance. She told me to cut down on eating bread, cake and whatever else had wheat in it and also gave me little tablets that tasted like sugar that would stop the stomach aches and make me feel calm. My Mum wrote a note to give to all the teachers to allow me to eat in class because a) I was to take the tablets whenever I felt anxious to calm me down and b) I was getting strange dizzy spells probably from not eating in the morning. I also moved forms to the opposite side of the school were hardly anyone knew about what had happened to me.
In the middle of all this, my first friend (now bully) confronted me saying that she wanted to talk about everything that’s been happening. If I remember rightly, she claimed that she wanted no part in this anymore and hoped that we could talk and deal with each other in a civilised manner. I informed her how upset and miserable she had made me. I told her that she had changed me and not for the better and that I got upset before school because I afraid of her. She claimed that she too got upset and I got very angry very quickly. I let her know that she had absolutely no right to tell me that she was getting upset because she was the one who was bullying me. She had no right to put that on me. I told her I ‘wanted nothing to do with her and that if she confronted me again and dared to suggest that we could be anything more than acquaintances, that I would do more than just shout at her. I would tell everyone and anyone that would listen what she did to me.’ Because although this had been the biggest thing to happen to me, only about half of my year group knew about it.
All of this helped immensely. I stayed true to who I was, I never conformed to what other people wanted me to be despite people continuing to tell me I was weird and eventually after many years, people started to respect me for it. My bully also backed down. I told the two friends I had made that they helped me a great deal, but I needed to be with other people who didn’t know my story. They didn’t understand completely but let me know that I was free to do anything that made me comfortable. I joined a large group which someone I had befriended in a food technology class I was in. We fast became close friends and I depended on her for a lot of things. Sometimes I would get upset at the start of term because I was afraid that she might be ill or something. We have so much in common and get along famously. Now, many of my friends are shocked to know that I was bullied, they are very surprised to hear that I am terrified of trusting people and get anxious at nearly everything. They say I “seem fine” – happy, even.
People like me, who never really belonged, who genuinely wondered if it would be better if we ended it all and who never had the confidence to speak up for themselves, they never show how much pain they have gone -or are going- through. We don’t want to be like this. We just are, so we hope that people will never find out. We don’t want to be a burden on our friends or loved ones or have them worry about us. I’m okay with speaking about this now, because I want people to know that it’s possible to come out of terrible situations and still be okay. Yes, I still have some issues, yes I live in fear of people betraying me and talking about me behind my back. But I am happy. I am healthy. And I am alive.