It doesn’t discriminate, it doesn’t care if you are male or female, a loner or captain of the cheer squad, bullying can happen to anyone at any point in life. Going into my senior year of high school, captain of my cheer squad, and having one of the top football players as my boyfriend, I thought nothing could stop me from having the best senior year of my life. Boy was I wrong. Although not all bad, my senior year of high school was arguably the worst year of my life, by far.
It started off like any other year, preparing for football season to start with spirit weeks and the growing anticipation of homecoming. But then something happened. Jared* is one of my best guy friends, he is also my boyfriend’s best friend. Well, Jared’s girlfriend, who we’ll just refer to as Courtney*, started to get jealous of our friendship.
Jared and Courtney had been having issues for a while. A fake pregnancy scare, stage five clinger status, and shocker… jealousy issues. So naturally Jared would always talk to me about it. Whether it was talking on the phone, texting or meeting up; we talked about his problems with Courtney. It wasn’t a secret that we were talking, we’ve been friends for years, but Courtney wasn’t too happy about it.
Rumors started to fly that I was sleeping with Jared, who remember is my boyfriend’s best friend. Once that rumor got squashed, that’s when the bullying really got started. It began with “prank” phone calls and voicemails, but when that wasn’t getting a rise out of me, it quickly escalated to more public humiliation.
“Whore” written on my locker, nasty notes left on teachers’ dry erase boards, my house being egged, my car handles super glued, gum and garbage thrown at me while I cheered. But worst of all, a song was made about me that was chanted by Courtney and her gang of single minded minions at football games while I cheered on our football team.
It seemed like it would never end, I felt so alone. Even my boyfriend at the time would still hang out with them, and Jared wasn’t much help either. Since I never talked about what was going on, not even my closest friends knew what was happening, until Courtney turned it visibly public. Then everyone, including teachers, began noticing what was going on.
One of my favorite teachers came up to be about a week before Christmas break and asked if everything was okay. It wasn’t, but I didn’t give her much detail on the severity of the situation. I figured if I could make it to Christmas break, everything would be okay. A day later, one of my other teachers asked the same question. I shared more details, knowing that the situation spread to the entire faculty, I wanted them to know my side of the story and make them not think any differently of me.
I wasn’t feeling so alone anymore, even though I didn’t want to go to the principal with it, just knowing I had at least one adult on my side made all the difference. At this point even some of Courtney’s minions were telling me how messed up they thought the whole situation was.
Once Christmas break hit, I was hoping Courtney would be bored and move on from this. But she didn’t move on until she got my boyfriend and I to break up. When someone doesn’t stick up for you in situations like that, you’re bound to break up anyway; but the fact that Courtney made it happen before it was my choice, was the straw that broke the camel’s back.
By the time we got back from winter break, Courtney seemed satisfied in all of her accomplishments and began backing off. Although the rest of the year continued with the occasional drunk “prank” calls and voicemails, and the song they made about me resurfacing every once in a while, the bullying was at a level I could handle again.
Eventually the phone calls and voicemails stopped, the song turned into a joke amongst my friends, and by the time graduation came around, the emotional wounds turned into scars. Courtney ended up apologizing years later for her behavior, but by the time that apology came around, it was too late for it to even matter. Her words meant nothing to me, but I know she needed to apologize to feel better about herself, so I ended up accepting her apology.
Although the bullying happened for only a short period in my life, it impacted me significantly, good and bad. Still to this day I don’t trust girls easily, and I only let a select few in my life. But on the good side, I’m a better friend to all those in my life, I stand up for those who are getting bullied, and I don’t believe or spread rumors. In a way, you could say I’m thankful for this period in my life; in the end it made me a stronger person. It took some time for the wounds to heal, but they did, and now I’m better person because of it.
For all those out there who have been bullied, currently are being bullied, or will be bullied: the time will pass I promise, but as soon as it starts, tell people you can trust what is going on. Ignoring the situation only will work for a little while; the bully needs to be stopped before it gets worse.
And remember, YOU ARE NOT ALONE.
*real names not used
Feature image source: gainesvillescene.com and muchadoaboutmentalhealth.com
Kori is a senior communication major at Washington State University (Go Cougs!); she loves her dog Whiskey, spending summers in Florida, and the Hawks!