Unfortunately, while many great people like Kate and Katie have tried putting a stop to the horrible subject, it is still a HUGE problem in our world. The sad part is...that even though you may not know it, there is high chance that you have been bullied in your life. It could have been anything...name calling, shoving, looked down upon, made fun of...even a joke! And while it may not effect everyone, to some it causes some serious damage. It sticks with them for the rest of their life.
In honor of Spread <3, not Hate I have decided to share my story. A story that involves me getting bullied for a good part of my life over something I had no say or choice over. Something that has somehow stuck with me since it happened, and will most likely stick with me for the rest of my life.
To start let me explain that I am very stubborn. I have been hurt many times by people who I thought were my friends, and it has somehow made me have a tougher interior. It's made me more distant from people, and it's somehow made me more careful.
When I started high school in 2005, I thought it was going to the best four years of my life. Aside from the fact that one of my best friends, at the time, had just moved away, I still had a group of really close friends, which included two of my other best friends. At the time, I thought our friendship meant everything. I felt like, without them, I would be...nothing. We told each other everything, we spent most of our summer together, called each other every night, went to the mall, and had sleepovers at least once a month.
I realized we were getting older, but I still thought our future included each other. I was naive.
Of course, like life is...things changed. The best friend that had moved away had stopped calling, one of our friends left the group because she met other people, and one of my other best friends got a boyfriend.
At first there weren't necessarily any problems, just occasional scuffle about gossip or something (you know how 14 year old girls are!). But it started one day, as we were sitting at lunch. We had started sitting with my friends boyfriend and his friends for lunch. Most of them seemed nice, and like fun. They made us laugh almost everyday, but a few of them, when it came to joking around went a little too far.
We were talking one day, and it got around that I was from Germany. It started with, "Oh, seriously? That is so cool! Can you teach us some words?", and then having words being thrown out. But then out of nowhere, I heard, "So if you're German, then you're a Nazi right?"
I didn't even know what to say. I hadn't been the first time I had been called a Nazi, but before then it had always been in elementary school involving some kids...that let's say weren't heading in the right direction, and had no idea what they were saying. However, we weren't in elementary school anymore. We were 14, had taken history, learned about World War II, and knew what had happened there. There was absolutely no excuse, in my opinion. So I told them, "Don't call me that. That is not a word that should be thrown out like that."
And do you know what they did?? THEY LAUGHED AT ME!!
From then on it only got worse. I would be walking to class, and one of the boys would be walking by and I would just hear "Nazi" as I walked down the hallway. Everyday I told them to stop. Did they listen? Obviously not.
I ended asking my best friend for a favor, "Could you please talk to your boyfriend and ask him to tell his friends to stop?"
And do you know what she did? She looked at me, smiled and said, "Oh come one, listen up. They're just messing around and joking."
I looked at her with a serious face and said, "This is not a joke!" I had talked to my mom the night before, and told her what had been happening. Understandably, she had been furious, and told me to go immediately to the office and talk to a counselor or the principal about it. Not wanting to start high school by being a snitch, I tried to fix it my self. But since my friend wasn't giving me much choice I told, "If you don't talk to him, then I will turn them in."
She had the nerve to look pissed off at me, crossed her arms over her chest and said, "So what are going to accomplish out of that? Getting them expelled? Suspended? That won't help. Just tell them to stop!"
"I did! And I still do! Every day!"
She walked away. And to be honest even though I was pissed, I didn't give it much thought at lunch time anymore, because they were my friends.
However, as I sat down that day and they started once again by saying "Hey, Nazi!" and them laughing at me, I looked around, and saw something that will forever stay with me...my best friend was laughing with them, along with our entire group of friends.
That was the day, A LOT changed in my life. I stopped hanging out with them. I never forgave that so-called friend, and even though about 90% of my graduating loved her and would never believe she would something like that, I never forgot. In fact, when we're around each other other may call me the "bitch", but you know what, at that point I could honestly care less!
Thinking back to that day, and realizing that those people weren't my friends, has made a huge impact on my life. It changed me. And even though a number of positives did come out of it, there is one that I will never forget, and will always continue to love doing...reading.
I can't even tell you how often the library was my friend in high school. Many times at lunch, when I didn't feel like eating with my friends (different friends of course), I went into the quietness and enjoyed the latest book I was reading. That experience introduced me my favorite authors, like Meg Cabot (whose books made a HUGE difference for me in high school!), Nicholas Sparks, Sarah Dessen, and many more.
So I guess in a way I'm thankful that happened to me in my life. It made me stronger, less naive, more realistic, and I guess you could say more...literate :).
Now I REALLY hope I didn't chew your ears off with my story! I just want to help stop bullying! I want to see that the smallest things you say or do can affect a person...sometimes even permanently.
So to read more stories, and points of views on the subject of bullying, check out:
The Romance Bookie :)