Today, people are more apt to refer to bullying as what it is, but I can remember a time when bullying was referred to as “kids being kids” or “growing pains”. Any way you look at it, it’s harmful.
I was bullied–often. I was bullied so much that I can’t recall a time in school when it didn’t happen. I used to wonder if I was tattooed with some scarlet letter announcing that I was a perfect target. The reasons for the relentless teasing and hitting varied: my hair was too long or too short, my breast were too large or too small, my hair was fake, my shoes weren’t right, my socks looked weird, I was too smart, I was too nice, my family was too big, I was too fat. I think you get where I’m going with this. I was even bullied by a teacher, someone who I thought by definition was supposed to be on my side.
There were times when my defiant nature and will to keep my tormentors from seeing me cry was enough to get me through the tough days. My mom used to always say to me, “The root word of ignorance is ignore. Ignore the ignorance.” I tried to ignore everything, to go to a mental place where I became untouchable, but it was hard. And defiance can only take you so far. I wrote my first suicide letter when I was about ten. In the letter I told my mom and dad how much I loved them, but that the pain I felt was more than I could bear.