The following blog post and story has taken me a number of months to write. I have a couple of close friends I’d like to thank for their help with this. It’s really appreciated!
Bullying. I know all about it. I’ve been there. I’ve felt the pain. I’ve wanted to end the pain.
It has taken me a while to come out with my story. To me, I always thought since my bullying was verbal, it was nothing. It is STILL bullying and it NEEDS to stop.
My bullying started back in middle school. I was always the unpopular kid in my class. I was small for my age and had never had a relationship up to that point. People would constantly call me “gay” because of that, even though that was not true. It was almost a daily occurrence that I would be called names, some of which are too harsh to repeat. I tried to let it slide and just ignore it all, which was probably the worst mistake I could have made.
Move ahead a couple of years. I’m in high school now, and the bullying still continues. It’s worse than when it was in middle school. I got Facebook messages and emails calling me “fag” and “gay”, still because I never had a date or relationship with a girl. I had messages telling me that I’m worthless. I even had an anonymous message one day telling me to “go die”. I still kept bottling it up. It eventually got to a point where I wanted to end my life. I thought to myself, life would be a hell of a lot easier if I didn’t have to live with this pain, if I just left. Maybe I would make everyone’s life a lot easier. It was at that point that a close friend came into my life. A friend that has changed my life forever. She talked me out of wanting to kill myself, making me realize how different people’s lives would be without me, even though I had never stopped to think about that. She told me that even though it seems like I’m making things better by ending my life, it would make things worse in the end for the people in my life. She made me realize that I had a purpose, that everyone has a purpose, and that the bullying won’t last forever. Not if I stand up for myself. If it wasn’t for her, you wouldn’t be reading this right now.
After that, I began opening up to my close friends. Because of all of this, I realized how many close friends I actually had in my life, that cared for me and would do almost anything for me. I never again bottled things up because I knew that if I did, I would be right back to the same spot I was again. The bullying continued, for a while. Once my friends knew about it, they weren’t long sticking up for me. Suddenly, I didn’t feel so alone. I felt like I had a group of bodyguards, standing up for me and protecting me. The bullying finally stopped.
The following year, I built up the courage to run for student council president. I ended up winning, and things went better from there. I was happy for once in my life. Things were going the way I wanted them to go. I felt like a completely different person, all because I stopped bottling up my problems.
To those being bullied, fight back. I don’t mean become a bully. I mean fight back to make it stop. Talk to someone about what you’re going through, whether it is a parent, teacher, principal, or friend. You may think talking might be foolish, but no one can help you if they don’t know how you’re feeling and what you’re going through. In my case, that one close friend became my turning point and my best friend. It can be the same for you, too. I know, I mention talking a lot, but it’s one of the most important things to help overcome your situation. Your friends will want to help you get through this and will want to be there so you don’t have to go through it alone. It DOES get better, especially with support and people to talk to.
If you see bullying, don’t stand by and think, “I’ll let someone else stop this”. If everyone thought that, bullying would never stop. Stand up! That doesn’t mean getting in the middle of it. Find a teacher, adult, someone who can help. You could make a world of difference in the life of the person being bullied.
To the bully: when you look ahead into your future, what do you see? Do you see a life full of love, life, and laughter or do you see a future of loneliness, sadness, and regret. Life is too short to make someone feel less of a human because they are different. It’s never too late to stop and it’s certainly never too late for apologize; It doesn’t take away your “big and bad” look nor do you need to tell the world but giving a letter or a note or even a Facebook message saying “I’m sorry” can make the biggest difference in the life of someone you have or are bullying. Think about this: someday when you push someone to the point of taking their life and you turn to the family to give your condolences, will you then see the pain you cause not only in that person you bullied but to everyone around? You’ll live your life with that regret.
By: Brad Perry