You come in all sizes, personalities and ages. Some of you may not realize what you are doing, so I will start with the Merriam-Webster definition of the word.
Bully (verb): to frighten, hurt, or threaten (a smaller or weaker person): to act like a bully toward (someone).
This word has become sort of thrown around by our society, which weakens the use of the word to actual bullies. For those of us who have been bullied, though, this word still cuts through our skin like a knife, which is why describing the feeling will hopefully help the situation. This article is to show bullies the impact they have, so I’m scraping away the sugar coating and being raw.
Many people who experience bullying can sometimes think the only way to handle it is to end it. Unfortunately, many bullies do not feel remorse until after their victim has taken his or her own life. This can stop if bullies start to realize what they are doing before the worst happens. Hopefully, I will be able to help and make them realize bullying isn’t worth it and is definitely not the answer.
All throughout elementary school, I had the worst bully, who I will not name to protect the identity. Let’s call him The Bull (sometimes I think I’m clever). The Bull tormented me for years because of my weight, my personality and even because of the fact I lived with my grandma. (Horrible, right?) I remember one specific day in fifth grade I went to school late because there was a furnace leak in my house. I barely slept the whole night, so my grandma decided to let me sleep in. When I eventually got to school that day, The Bull asked why I was late, and I said what happened. The exact quote he said was “Oh, the handyman came to your house, so you get special treatment.” He then led the class to make fun of me for being “poor.” This wasn’t the only time The Bull got my entire class to turn against me. Many people say he “had a crush on me.” That being said, teaching little girls that being tormented by little boys is OK only promotes rape culture, which is a whole different article. The Bull constantly tormented me every single day from Pre-K to fifth grade (7 years). I then left that school to go to a different middle school where I encountered new forms of bullies, who were even more childish. Then high school, up until now, which is my sophomore year of college.
College bullies are a whole different story. In college, one would think everything is grand and bullying stops. However, it is not that easy. College bullies perform a higher level of emotional abuse. I will quote an unnamed person who said, “You should hang out with us because you’re above being friends with them.” In this quote the “them” are some of my closest friends I have at school, people I know I can count on for anything. Do you understand the emotional abuse? Most people don’t have the willpower to walk away. This incident was the click in my brain when I realized these are not the people I want to be friends with, but let’s start at the beginning because it’s not that easy for everyone.
Going into college, many want to find a friend group, people to count on. This is the first mistake because this opens you up to becoming friends with toxic people who will eventually try to manipulate you into doing things you don’t want to do, which is bullying. They talk behind each other’s backs and pretend they are best friends in front of each other’s faces. They will go to any extent to save themselves and throw you into the fire. They will tell you that you are too cheerful, who to hang out with, and that talking about your dead mom is wrong. This form of emotionally abusive bullying is unfortunately the most common form, especially in college.
So to all of the people reading this who think they are not a bully themselves, stop, take a moment and reflect. Have you ever said something you regret? Have you ever talked about your “closest” friends behind their backs? Have you ever belittled someone based on their own life, looks or personality? Have you ever felt joy in making someone feel bad, even for a second? If you thought yes to any of these, you may be a bully. Everybody makes mistakes, but if you seriously think about it, you can tell if you are a bully or not. If this article seems like it’s about you, it probably is, and you’re probably the bully.
To all of the bullies out there, thank you for inspiring me to write this article. Also, thank you for making me a stronger person. I live a happy life, now, with a semicolon tattoo on my wrist reminding me I am a survivor but also paying tribute to my past scars from bullies. If you know you’re a bully, consider changing your ways because if you do, that is a fraction of hate abolished from this world.
I leave on a quote from my favorite show I am no longer embarrassed of: “Prejudice is just ignorance.” Blaine Anderson, "Glee"
A former target