Ever since kindergarten, I’ve been bullied. I’ve even been the bully on one occasion. My memory is terrible and I might not remember everything.
There was this little girl in my class, I can’t remember her name, who I thought was my friend. I hadn’t done anything wrong to her, but apparently she didn’t like me. And instead of just ignoring me, she picked on me. I remember one time, we were in line, waiting to go to lunch. I was two or three people in front of her and she reached out behind them to pinch me in the arm really hard. This girl disliked me so much, she even got one of the boys in the class to pick on me. He’d constantly spit in my ear and in my hair. I’d obviously tell the teacher and it would stop for a while, but then it would pick up.
Then in first grade, I remember I was sitting in my desk (it was the kid that didn’t have a place for you to put anything in it, kinda like they are in most HS’s) because the lights were off because we were going to watch a movie and the same girl walked up to me. I don’t remember what she said, but I remember it was mean; after that, she pushed the desk so hard against my stomach that the air in my lungs was pushed out. Through the whole movie, I sat at my desk with my head down and cried.
Second grade was slightly better. The girl wasn’t there and so I had a chance to be free from her.
After second grade, I transferred to a new school. I was nervous and scared because I never had to be in a situation where I had to meet new people. Plus, school had started on my 8th birthday. But it had gone relatively well. I quickly gained friends — two of which became my best friends, Maritza and Jasmine.
The Summer after third grade, I was at a parade/festival that was in the neighborhood of my old school. In the crowd, the girl who bullied me noticed me and she ran up to me. I was scared shitless, even if I was with my mom. The girl was all nice and bubbly, like if we had been the bestest friends in the whole world. Even then, I couldn’t remember her name.
In fourth grade, I gained my third best friend who became like my brother. His name is Joseph. He was the new kid that year. The only way I knew him was because we met over the Summer and played at the park that was down the street. Anyway, he and I grew very close very quickly.
Maybe that’s what made me so blind to him bullying me. Now, I’ve always been chunky. I know that. And it didn’t help that he kept bringing it up. He called me things like Blubber and Fatty, among other things. In fifth grade, Luis joined our team. We were as close as we could be.
Popularity is a big thing in school. I’ll admit that even I fell into its grasp and hungered for it. The popular girls, Mildred, Perla, and Elizabeth, were people I wanted to sit with at lunch and talk to. They were okay with it, as long as I wasn’t Jasmine’s friend. For a while, I pretended not to be her friend just to hang with them, even though I would still talk to her. I lied about it behind her back and I regret still to this day.
In sixth grade, I got over it and stuck with Maritza and Jasmine. Joseph still continued his playful wordplay and I was still oblivious to the fact. Seventh grade rolled around and things were great. We got a new classmate, Francisco, who too, then joined our group (we called ourselves the Stupidos…). And while things were good, they didn’t last long. Francisco did something to make Luis and Joseph dislike him and their friendship had ended. It had nothing to do with me, so I continued to talk to all three of them.
At first things were fine. But as time went on, Joseph and Luis started acting strange. Being the person who doesn’t do well with confrontations, I emailed them about it. We would talk about the issue through there, but at school, we would act like nothing was wrong. Finally, I pulled it out of them that they didn’t trust me because I was talking to Francisco. That’s when I told them that it was their issues with him, not me.
Eighth grade was a great year. There was this guy, Michael, who I liked. He was smart, funny, charming, and attractive; we got along well. We always paired up on projects and it was always so much fun. Of course, I slowly developed these feelings. And I was probably, and probably still am, the least attractive in the class. So it came as no surprise to me when he liked my other friend because she was prettier and had bigger breasts. I never told him I liked him because he confided in me that he liked her.
As the year went on, Joseph became more and more verbal with the abuse. I was the only girl allowed to sit with the boys at lunch, and even then, I would let Joseph off the hook because he was my friend; he was my brother. But finally, one day, it went too far. I told him off but he still wouldn’t stop. We went to gym and there, he continued. I don’t remember how it happened, but he jumped at me and I stuck my leg out. He landed on it and he doubled over in pain. That’s when he started calling names like bitch and asshole.
Even while we waited in line for us to get out of school, because gym was last period, he continued to call me these names. When the bell rang, I tore out of the school — he and I lived on the same street and took the same route home — and I rushed home, crying my eyes out. It was the first time I had done that in public. I had to stop at the park and finish crying because I couldn’t let my grandmother see me crying.
During my freshmen year in high school, when I was 14, I started cutting. One time, my brother walked in on me while I was starting. He didn’t know and the look on his face… He looked so terrified. He asked me if I was cutting and I told him that I was. When he walked in, I was going at my wrist with a small pin. I put it away, and ever since then, I haven’t cut myself.
But after that, I constantly would go to the kitchen and look at the big knives we had there, thinking about how I could sneak out away and know one would ever notice.
One of my friends, who is now my best friend, found out that I had cut myself and that I was hiding the newest one, the one that wasn’t that big because my brother walked in, with my mother’s wrist watch, and he told Joseph — who I had patched things up with (he never made fun of me again after that day).
Joseph didn’t talk to me for a whole week straight after he made me show him the cut.
I know what happened to me isn’t as bad as other people, but it scarred me. I can’t go anywhere without thinking that people are judging me and calling me fat or ugly.
I don’t believe people when they tell me that I’m beautiful or that they think I’m pretty.
I don’t want kids growing up to feel like they’re crap because they’re not.
A few months ago, my aunt and I had a deep conversation about what we could do about bullying.
A few weeks after that, I found the courage to tell my mom about the conversation, and how I used to be bullied. She was almost in tears when I told her, and she asked me why I had never told her.
My answer was that I was scared and I didn’t know what to do back then.
She told me that I didn’t have to be afraid. That I shouldn’t have been, and that I should have came to her when it happened.
I’ve told you my story, now it’s your turn.