Not Just Kids

I rarely talk about this now because it’s been a long time.

When I was bullied, the reasons that got me through were (1) my family needed me to succeed as there was just no other way, (2) the handful of teachers who saw through my strange behaviour at school and actually listened, and didn’t think that “maybe you’re overreacting” is a good advice to a confused teenager, and the (3) few wonderful students who saw beyond the rumours and offered me their friendship when I doubted it yet needed it most.

Adults need to see cruelty as it is. “They’re just kids,” is never a good excuse to not address those involved. Removing accountability from the bullies only encourages them to do it more. Once a bullied child knows that the adults can’t be trusted, they become withdrawn and will no longer trust you or listen to you for anything else (I’m talking parents and teachers). They look for authority or heroes elsewhere.

If you are bullied, don’t fight the pain. Feel it and move past it. Then clear your head and do something about it. It will be hard, trust me, but trying is worth it.

Report incidences to teachers and parents. Keep a document of everything that happened. Adults will ask you for details and you need to be ready if you want to be taken seriously and if incident reports need to be filed. Should your school fail to act on your report, escalate. Seek support groups online for recommendations on how to move forward with your report. They may be able to provide psychological and legal assistance.

Focus on your studies. Pursue other interests and make friends outside school. Spend more time with your family. The bigger your support network becomes, the less lonely you’ll feel. And if you don’t have to deal with troubling emotions, you can concentrate more on important things that need to be done, like college applications, or just the future, in general.

Remember, when you grow up, you will meet people that will remind you of your bullies. Take this as practice on not taking bullshit from anybody. The real world will want you to be brave and grow some thick skin.

But, the real world is also full of good people, more of it, actually. This is why you need to find your tribe somewhere else if you can’t find it in school. You need to remember that there are good people. Not everyone’s out there to get you.

See, I’m grown and I’m glad that more people are bringing this issue to the fore. The bullying has long been over and life got better. Have hope – life does get better.

These suggestions and resources are the ones I wish I would have known and done back then. It may be different to anyone being subjected to bullying right now. Ultimately, I hope that you realize you can actually do something about the situation and most things in our lives are temporary. People come and go, bullies included.

I hope these words help.

Now, enjoy this video of Aziz Ansari. xo


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