Outside was basically a hurricane. I am a foreigner to all weather conditions other than dry heat, so I’m probably being a little dramatic. I apologize for this. But I guarantee it was at least sprinkling. I met with an old friend for coffee. At first we partook in small talk, but just like any old friend, we soon resumed the deep conversations that decorated our (what feels like forever) past. Our talk eventually shifted to the subject of bullying and how my friend had experienced that as a child. After hearing her story, I thought a bit. I received a large amount of good feedback after posting a blog from a friend’s perspective of depression, so I decided to do this again. This time from the perspective of an old friend of mine who had once dealt with a bully:
“When people hear the word ‘bully’, they imagine that big, bulky boy who takes a victim’s lunch money while simultaneously shoving him to the ground. When other people hear the word ‘bully’, they think of the pretty blonde girl who coughs the word ‘slut’ as she sashays around her victim. My bully did not follow this stereotype. My bully was another girl in my class. She didn’t have very many friends. Even I was more of a classmate to her than a friend. I don’t remember how it started. I just remember her forcing me to do what she said. I remember my bully telling me I wasn’t allowed to hang out with my best friends. I remember my bully grabbing on to my leg, refusing to let go, and threatening to cry if I moved a muscle. She gave me rules I had to follow. She’d quiver her lip or give me dirty looks if I didn’t comply perfectly. The guilt I felt was unbearable. She always painted me out to be a bad person. And I cried. A lot. She told me I wasn’t allowed to see any of my friends anymore (except for her). She isolated us. When I’d try to run away, she’d grip one of my limbs hard, then drag me even further from civilization. I was often overwhelmed and afraid. I remember going home from school because I was sick one afternoon. When I returned the next day, I found her wearing my jacket. I remember my bully slowly walking over to me, then dropping in my hand a broken teddy bear, a cheerio, and an old chewed pencil. To a nine year old this is plain horrifying. Honestly, this is still horrifying to me. I tried to reach out to my friends for help, but I was alone. No one understood the slave I had become to this girl. I remember my teacher sent us both to the counselor because we were supposedly having “friend problems” (this was after I was found hiding in a bathroom stall from her). I remember the tears that fell down my cheek as I begged the counselor to help me. To please make her stay away from me. To please protect me. I explained to the counselor how fearful I was to go to school. I explained to her everything that had gone on. The counselor comforted me, then said it sounded like we needed a week apart. She reminded me that all friends have problems every now and then. I cried more. After the session, my “friend” didn’t leave me alone. It was as if the counselor had never spoken to her. All was the same except this time I saw myself as overreacting. The teachers thought it was no big deal, so maybe I was the cynical one. And I remained sad, silent, and confused. Thank God for summer break. Thank God I changed schools next year.
I never recognized her actions as bullying. No one else did, so why would I? I didn’t write my story down to entertain you, but rather to inform you. Harassment is bullying. Just because a bully isn’t an identical copy of a bully in a movie, doesn’t mean the victim’s case is illegitimate. Intimidating, dominating, tormenting, harassing, tyrannizing, pressuring, and forcing are all forms of bullying. Don’t take this story as a reason not to go to teachers or adult figures for help. You should never have to suffer through bullying alone, so it is essential to reach out to others. However, I do want you to realize bullying can be under the radar. It can initially appear as part of the cycle of “friendship” as mine did. Regardless of who the bully is, where it’s taking place, or if anyone else is reacting, IT IS STILL WRONG. Never forget that.”