We all know that bullying happens anywhere, anytime. It also happens to anyone and in many different ways. Many people have personal stories of being bullied and all the challenges that can come along with it.
I spent the better part of my elementary and high school years being bullied by a small, but at the time, powerful group of kids. I remember eating my lunch one day with my friend Erin, sitting behind the teacher’s desk. This group of kids came in and they were talking about me. They were talking about how I would never amount to anything; I was going to be miserable my whole life and I would never get out of the small town I lived in. I remember thinking in that moment that they must be right because they are the cool kids, what did I know. I remember looking at my friend Erin and thinking my life will never be the same. There was the time I was invited to go shopping and left standing at the meeting spot. There was the cruel joke played on me at the Grade 6 dance and countless other instances where I was reminded on a regular basis how worthless I was.
I coped with this by eating. I remember taking in and believing to my core that what these kids were saying was true. I turned into a teacher’s pet. I would do things in the office or other classroom’s at lunch and recess to avoiding being around other kids. When I became friends with other girls I was usually the “doormat” and was treated pretty poorly by some people that called themselves “my friend.” So I ate. I ate to stuff the emotions of feeling worthless deep down inside. My weight for me has been all about protection. If I am overweight then people don’t want to be my friend or don’t want to date me because I am the “fat girl.” I can avoid ever feeling the feelings I felt in school by keeping myself safe and protected.
To this day, I battle those feelings. I have done a lot of work personally to move past those feelings and repair the damage I have done to my body as a result. I know that this is not a process that will happen overnight and I am very thankful that I have the amazing friends and family that I do have in my life now! It’s funny, I was asked the other day if I would go back and change anything in my life. My response was no, because everything I went through in life has lead me to grow and be the woman I am today, which I think is pretty awesome. Those kids don’t define me anymore and I believe that each person has a uniqueness that makes them who they are. Embrace what is unique, weird and different about you, because that is what makes you who you are. Don’t ever hide or shy away from that.
If you are a victim of bullying, don’t tolerate it, don’t believe what they tell you and don’t be afraid to do something about it. Never miss the opportunity to make a difference.