I originally published this post in March on the iMatter 4 Kids blog. iMatter 4 Kids is a non-profit that works to empower children and teach them to find their voices. With bullying and bullycides on the rise, programs like Kids Empowered need to be in the schools, full time especially because bullying and bullycide is so prevalent these days with more opportunities to attack that there were back in my day. We just had playgrounds and walks home. Now, with the internet, it’s constant. And it’s scary. But…here is my story from WAY back when.
STICKS AND STONES…
It was over 30 years ago. But it’s something that will always stay with me. It became a part of me, shaping who I am and how I view myself.
You see, when I was in elementary school, I was bullied. Not in the typical tripping in the hall, pulling my pigtails (assuming I wore pigtails), making pig nose faces type way. Back then, it was hardly even considered to be anything close to bullying. But emotional harrassing is just as bad, if not worse. Because those words imprint themselves on your brain and wrap themselves around you like a layer of skin.
I was never skinny and lanky. My whole life, I struggled with that yo-yo of weight loss and gain. My weight, during the heavy times, always went into my tush and thighs. Some people call it curvy. I call it chunky.
When I was younger, I was teased mercilessly on the playground because of the shape of my butt. I was told to go “work out at Vic Tanny with your Mom” even though I took ballet three times a week and was in excellent shape. The elementary school boys decided that, for whatever reason, I had chipmunks in my buttcheeks. And that is what made them so big. They tortured me with taunts and teasing.
The name calling never ended. It was daily. It became so difficult to hold my head up. It destroyed my self confidence.
Back then, we were told to walk away and ignore it. So, I did. Which seemed to label and enable me more of a victim. Turning my back never solved anything.
It ended, finally and gratefully, when I moved on to middle school. I could breathe again.
But it really didn’t ever end. The trauma had already been inflicted. Implanting itself into the very fiber of my being.
To this day, I suffer from yo-yo dieting, lack of self-esteem despite compliments and body dysmorphia. And I don’t have to look very deeply to know why I am the way I am.
Elementary school emotional bullying.
Sticks and stones can break bones, that’s for sure. Nasty, horrible teasing names stay with you forever.
30 some years later, I am here as living proof. Emotional bullying and name calling traumatizes and those words become who we are and how we see ourselves.
I became a girl who became a woman that is so self conscious about weight and the size of my rear end that it has become part of, not only an emotional issue but a physical problem too.
Would it have changed had I spoken up for myself as opposed to pretending to let if bounce off of me and ignoring it? I don’t know. I DO know that, by not saying anything, I gave those who teased and tormented me the power to do so. Because I became a door mat.
Because of this, I’ve taught my children and their friends that it is their job and responsibility to open their mouths and to let their aggressor know that it is NOT OK to treat them like that. To never walk away and become a victim. .