This year, Anti-Bullying week fell on November 16-21, marking its 13th year as a nationally known and broadcasted awareness week. I’m twenty years old, which means this week has existed since I was 7 years old. How I went nearly my entire life without knowing of this is an eye opener. While the official week of awareness has passed, this doesn’t mean that the issue of bullying should be swept under the rug until next year. Instead, I believe it’s just as important as ever to shine light and raise support towards this constantly growing issue.
Sometimes it takes more than just signs and petitions to bring awareness. Sometimes it takes real people, and real life stories, to make the realities of bullying known. That being said, I would like to share my own personal experiences with bullying in hopes to reach out to those who don’t truly believe in the harms of the act. I also want to tell those who can relate to my story that they are not alone. So even though Anti-Bullying week may be over, here at [SR]trends, we believe bringing awareness to the issue is not.
To begin my story, I would like to first give a disclaimer. These are all true events that have occurred in my life. My story is not intended to boast my insecurities or seek attention. This story is meant to offer my experiences as a solace to those who can relate and to serve as a reminder that bullying can be overcome.
From middle school up until senior year of high school I was bullied in different ways over the years. While I was lucky to not have been physically bullied, mental and emotional bullying took just as much of a toll as anything physical could’ve done.
The first words that come to my mind when I think of middle school are “hell,” “terrible,” and “NO.” As comedic as those reactions may seem at first, they’re real. My experiences with bullying first began in middle school, and they continued into high school. I was a quiet girl with poofy hair and pale skin. The exact opposite of what you “need” to be at that age to be “liked” or to “fit in.” I was very impressionable at that age; I copied other girl’s clothes and tried my best (but failed) at trying to tame my mane. Being impressionable also meant I believed what people said about me. The main bullying terms used to describe me were “ugly” and “weird.”
At the time, I didn’t have anyone to confide in and I was naturally a very private person. I knew others were also getting bullied, so I figured I shouldn’t bring attention to myself and stayed quiet. By doing so, I let the bullying consume me. I faked being sick to get out of school, my grades dropped, and I gained weight. It got so bad that I began to question my existence. I doubted my reason to live.
As I grew up, I had to teach myself self-awareness. It took years, but I eventually found friends that truly liked ME. As victims of bullying too, they listened and understood. Today, I’m not bullied. Today, I have solid friendships with amazing people. Today, I have the ability to remind myself that I am above bullying. Today, I am not a victim. I am a survivor.
The topic of bullying is often passed off as “harmless.” The lack of support to end, or even control bullying has stopped children from seeking help. Children have succumbed to bullying and it results in low self-esteem, depression, and even suicide; all that could have been prevented. Yet the numbers continue to grow. As someone who has experienced bullying first hand, I can attest to the effects of such evil acts. The years of bullying that I’ve endured are still in the back of my mind and I feel for those who can relate to me. That’s why today, I stand up for those who are like me. I wanted to be the one to write this article and hopefully bring the awareness to this issue that it deserves.
Whether it’s Anti-Bullying week, Bullying Awareness month, or just any other day – I want to help bring awareness to the issue and remind everyone of the resources available. Please, if you know anyone, of any age, who is bullied, tell them there is always someone out there that is willing to listen and help. Discuss it, don’t dismiss it!
Here are a few hotlines available 24/7:
Crisis Call Center
800-273-8255 or text ANSWER to 839863
National Suicide Hotline
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Thursday’s Child National Youth Advocacy Hotline
Feature image source: favim.com and wpri.com
Emily is a Junior at Austin Peay State University where she is majoring in Business Management. She loves animals, cooking & baking, The Walking Dead, and tea in the evenings. Emily hopes to one day own a successful restaurant/bakery.