As a child, I was bullied. Most of the time it came down to the fact that I was overweight.
I was bullied both at school and at home.
Don’t get me wrong, at home it was a case of older brothers knowing the right thing to say to make you upset. I can still remember it now. He had two favourites “you’re fat, you’re slow and nobody likes you monkey boy” and also (while he threw stuff at me) “you gonna cry” thank you Austin Powers. Other then that and the odd screaming match between sisters I had a good home life.
At school it was different. The first time I can remember was at primary school. I would have been about 9. It was a girl who I was “friends” with. I can’t remember what we were playing or why we were talking about it but I remember her turning around in front of everyone and declaring “You can’t be Barbie, there’s no such thing as pregnant Barbie!” Now even as a 9 year old you know that when someone calls you pregnant, they mean fat (some things don’t change.)
The next time I can clearly remember was in intermediate school (year 8.) I was sitting a fence at lunch time when a group of boys in my year came and staring throwing pebbles at me, calling out “fatboy slim” and other things along those lines (there might have been a Free Willy in there somewhere.) I remember sitting there, ignoring them, thinking they would go away if I didn’t pay them any attention. It was only when a girl (who I was barely friends with) came and yelled at them did they stop.
Even in high school it was a case of hanging out with a group of people who showed no interest in me at all but I was happy because they let me sit with their group. However, come Monday, they would talk about what they did together on the weekend and it wasn’t until the one who I am still friends with asked where I was/ why I didn’t come that they realised I was even still there.
I feel horrible for saying this especially now looking back but it was sometimes a case of letting someone else be picked on so you wouldn’t. During 3rd and 4th form (year 9 and 10) there was one girl who they use to pick on. They would treat her like a slave, once making her roll down a rocky bank so they could get their laughs. The funny thing is she went on to become one of my best friends in my last year of high school. I realised I didn’t want to hang out with these girls any more after one to many times of “oh we thought blah blah was going to ring and invite you” clearly knowing that no one had. I had wasted most of my high school years trying to fit in with them and for what? Them not to care at all when I went and made new friends, most of whom I am still friends with today.
But this was 17 years of my life, 17 years that I had spent listening to and letting people tell me that I was fat, and that I wasn’t good enough to hang around with and pretty much that I wasn’t worth their time. Don’t get me wrong, it definitely didn’t stop after high school. People say things or do things knowing how much it will hurt another, at least little children tend to do it without thinking. as you get older it becomes more thought out and malicious. The calls down the street of “Hey Fatty,” that (LOUD) whispered “oh God, another beached whale!” when you’re sitting on the beach.
I’m not trying to make people feel sorry for me but I have been thinking recently about how much what people have said to me effects me. It was something that someone said to me that was one of my main motivators for joining Weight Watchers. I’ve stopped wearing certain clothes because people have commented on them. After a while it (bullying/ the things people say) starts to effect you and the way it feels about yourself. I’ve dealt with problems in my past in certain ways (which I’m not going to talk about here) and I have struggled. People are surprised when I say that I am shy, but it often takes all my courage to talk openly in front of them.
The funniest one is, during the first 10 months of dating my BF, I only spoke to his parents to answer direct questions or say hello, because I didn’t want to say anything remotely stupid in front of them, in case they thought badly of me. Funny that I didn’t mind them thinking I was dumb though.
I guess what I’m trying to say is everyday is a struggle not to let what others say/ have said effect me, but over time not letting these things effect me as much shows me how much stronger I have become. Yes, sometimes I do still need the support of others and sometimes all I need is a little bit of a cry but I know that I can cope much better then I did a few year, or even a few months back. I am still working on becoming confident in myself and in front of others but as I become Stronger (mentally and physically) it will become easier and I can’t wait till that point!