Bullying nowadays takes on many shapes and forms, it’s no longer just the kids taunting one another on the playground at school. Bullies come in many shapes and forms, there workplace bullies, cyber bullies, women bullying other women, bosses bully employees, customers and clients who bully staff… bullying is literally everywhere.
Bullying is deliberate, whether words or actions or even inactions, it’s the act of doing or saying something with the intent being to hurt, mock or bring someone down
At high school I was called ugly by a group of girls. Day in and day out I was taunted with the words ugly and useless, the words unwanted and hate were also thrown into the mix, leaving a lingering feeling of pity and self-doubt in their wake. I tried to avoid these girls, who were once my friends, but they made a special effort to hunt me out. Prior to the names and the words, the end of our “friendship” was signaled by the girls filling my drink bottle with toilet water and laughing while I unknowingly drunk it.
At primary school a teacher on several occasions called me stupid in front of the entire class, and a group girls picked on me because I smiled too much.
I’ve been bullied before and I’ve had plenty of friends’ just fade out of my life, I’ve been excluded when I thought I’d be included and I’ve been disappointed by the behaviour of others. But perhaps that’s just the way the cookie crumbles, it’s a part of life.
Everyone has their own issues, their own baggage and their own self-doubt that they carry around with them on a daily basis and it pays to remember that. Sometimes people spit their words out without first chewing them over and thinking about how they might sound.
“Know me before you judge me” is the mantra of mental health in New Zealand, and if you really knew me you’d know there is almost nobody in the world that I dislike more than myself. I feel awkward and vulnerable most of the time, and have this sense of being sub-standard. I often retreat to the far corners of my mind and pick holes in myself… my appearance, my personality and basically everything that is me. At times I feel self-conscious, and my over active mind leads me to believe that the people around me may in fact hate or dislike me or are simply just being kind and really all I want is to be liked.
I know it’s not all bad, and I know deep down I’m probably not nearly as awful as I think but that’s the issue with feelings, you can’t just rationalize them away or explain them into extinction.
Working with fabulous people in the retail and beauty industry who are dripping in style, and arrive at work so well put together means, I constantly feel just a little bit dowdy, a tad uncool and smidgen mismatched out of place. I feel like the kid who forgot it was mufti day at school and rocked up still in uniform, or the person who 100% missed the memo.
Sometimes I imagine better clothes, new hair and new look will solve all my problems, but quickly find myself standing alone in the courtyard at school again looking for someone to sit with, and realize this possibly runs a little deeper. Actions and words can sometimes be so toxic that they seep deeper into someone’s life than you’ll ever know, leaving an environment contaminated by the past.
To the people I’ve picked on, excluded from things, made snide remarks about and been mean to, I am truly sorry and I always will be.