I went through an awkward stage. I think it’s safe to say that we have all spent at least one year of our lives as a gawky version of current selves. My moment came in the heart of fifth grade. I grew much more quickly than my other female classmates, and boy was I reminded of it.
I remember sitting in the cafeteria eating lunch and hearing girls taunt me with the lyrics of Sir Mix-A-Lot’s “Baby Got Back”. Thank God they didn’t understand much more of the song than “I like big butts and I cannot lie”… but that was all they needed. They would sing and laugh and look right at me, making a huge scene in front of the entire lunchroom until a teacher would shoo them away.
I remember being frozen to my chair, not wanting to get up until everyone else had left for class, afraid that people would start pointing and laughing at my rear-end again.
And it didn’t stop there.
I remember signing onto AOL instant messenger (my screen name was BroadwayBabe2008, do you remember yours?) and having someone named ‘BroadwayFag2008’ request to talk to me. My naive 7th grade mind accepted their request, and they proceeded to spew nasty words and slurs at me, naming my home address, and threatening to burn down my house.
My best friend had transferred to a different school, and they would make fun of her, reminding me how alone I was without her, reminding me that I had no one left.
And I would go to school the next morning and would sit out in the car with my mom for as LONG as possible, trying to stay away from those hallways that were full of mean glances and feet that would try to dart out and trip me.
I remember working in the front office and having one of the office aides look up the class schedule of a particularly cruel girl, so that I could make sure and plan my route to avoid her in between classes.
I remember begging my art teacher to let me eat lunch in her classroom, doing anything that I could to avoid sitting in the cafeteria alone.
I remember being really upset and trying to keep my eyes from tearing up one morning as I was practicing my Science Fair speech with my teacher. She could tell something was wrong and she wouldn’t believe my excuses when I said I was fine. Eventually I told her about the online threats and she got the school technology adviser to track the IP addresses of the bullies.
Ends up they were the same girls that sung the mean songs in the school cafeteria years before. Go figure…
I don’t mean to tell these stories to sound depressing. Lord knows my bullying stories are barely the tip of the iceberg compared to some experiences kids endure at school…
But my heart still pounds in my chest whenever I see a picture of the old AOL instant messenger Buddy list.
Whenever the “Baby Got Back” song comes on, most people my age laugh and sing in 90s nostalgia – but I just can’t get myself to dance along.
Over the years I’ve learned to embrace my curvy figure, learned to love it even. But man oh man, did that take a long. long. time.
And that’s the thing. Bullying never really leaves you. If you’ve ever been bullied, those moments are forever crystallized in your mind.
If you are told that something is wrong with you enough times, it’s easy to start to believe it. The bullying begins to live in your mind and it sets up camp in your heart.
And I’m here to tell you that it doesn’t have to be that way. Fifteen years after being bullied, I’ve had a good amount of time to sit back and reflect on that time in my life. And I’ve learned some very important things…
That no matter what stage you are in your life, you can erase and reverse those thoughts, and defeat the inner-bully that the REAL bully left behind.Click to Read Post...