It was a Friday afternoon. I parked my car in a parking garage, and I started walking to my chemistry lab. As I was walking, I wasn't paying attention to my surroundings very much because I was putting my Apple watch on my wrist so it could count the steps that I was taking. For a while, it was just me on the sidewalk that connects the parking garage to the center of the campus. Then these two boys started walking in my direction, as if they were heading towards the parking garage that I had just come from. As they approached me, I suddenly felt the environment around me intensify. I looked up from my watch after unlocking it, and I saw that they were staring at me as if my ego was supposed to be damaged just by looking at them. Once they passed by me, the one closer to me threw his water bottle in my direction, almost hitting me. Then he said, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't see you there," continuing to walk away.
The thing is, the way he said that made me question that maybe it wasn't on accident? So, I stopped walking, and I looked back at him. I saw he had a smirk on his face while his friend next to him was laughing. Then I realized, "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't see you there" was not only fake, but it was also mockery.
I wanted to say something to them, but I didn't want to cause a big scene. Most importantly, I didn't want them to have the opportunity to hurt me. Yes, I was scared of them after this little scene of purposefully almost hitting me with a water bottle. I know it sounds ridiculous, but growing up, I always struggled with accepting my height.
I'm currently four feet and six inches without the capability of growing. I had my spine fused when I was twelve, and ever since, I had to accept the fact that this will be my height for the rest of my life! It took me years to mentally adjust to it all, and in that moment on the sidewalk, it felt as if all those years of dealing with my insecurity was all for nothing. I used to be able to ignore stuff like this back in high school but that was a few years ago. I haven't been bullied in years, so I basically forgot how to ignore it and move on.
After I stopped walking to glance at them, I started having a panic attack. I was shocked. Shocked that I still had to go through something that I thought I wouldn't have to go through once I started college. I thought that college students were supposed to be more grown up than high schoolers. I thought college students were mature enough to not cause a scene. So, I was just shocked. I felt my heart racing. I felt my nerves weakening. Soon enough, I felt myself starting to hyperventilate. I knew right then, if I didn't start to calm myself down, my hyperventilation would get worse. And remembering a previous experience, I didn't want that to happen again. I was able to calm myself down pretty quickly and still be on time for my chemistry lab.
Despite the fact that I was able to forget about that sidewalk incident during lab, I still had this built up anger inside of me as I was driving home. Yes, it was anger. In fact, it was kind of overwhelming, because they should've known better than to bully someone solely on their height. So, as I was gathering my emotions and processing them, I started humming a melody, and I murmured a few words. I was already writing a new song! As soon as I got home, I went straight to my piano to let all of my emotions out, and a few hours later, a new song was finished. My favorite part of the song is the second verse:
"…you thought that it was funny to make fun of something that I can't control about me, and it triggered my insecurities. Look at what you did to me… there's no turning back from what you did. Cause it'll stay on me like a tattoo. I can't forget it, and the worst thing about it is, you don't even know what it did. But you can't take it back. You can't reverse the time, cause it's too late. The damage has [already] been made."
I particularly like the first sentence - "…you thought that it was funny to make fun of something that I can't control about me, and it triggered my insecurities." I can't control my height, and for the longest time, I thought I was okay with being short. But that sidewalk incident broke down my walls, triggered my insecurity, and caused me to have a panic attack. You can call it overreacting, but I've spent a tremendous amount of time building up that wall, and for years I thought I could handle anything. But since my wall was left untouched for years, it forgot how to handle a simple battle, like that incident on the sidewalk.
After writing that song, I felt better. I was able to gather my emotions and put them somewhere. That's what I do. Whenever something happens to me, I turn it into music. That's my way of coping.
Words and actions are a lot more impactful than what most people think, which is why bullying is not okay.
I don't know why those two boys had to do something to me just because I'm not the average height of a college student. I just wished they knew better not to.
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