Since I was in elementary school I was always teased and picked on. It wasn’t until middle school that the bullying got more intense and hurtful. I didn’t much care about my own personal appearance and I was the biggest tomboy you would have ever met. Thusly I wore all my brothers clothes and could care less about how my hair looked. I have curly blonde hair and when not taken care of can often represent something of a “lion’s mane.” People would growl/roar at me and call me a lion. At first I didn’t care about the bullying, but then it changed when someone asked me if I was a lesbian. I didn’t understand what they meant, but the question was raised after a class trip to the Fox Theater. A girl friend of mine had leaned over to ask me a question about the play and apparently to those around us, it looked as though we were locking lips.
Eventually the words started to get me and I never did/said anything about the words that cut so deep until my friend spoke for me. Violence. That turned into my answer unfortunately. If someone growled at me I simply took my hand and scratched up their body as a “lion” would do. When that wasn’t enough to stop them I went for the genitals using my foot. It was usually males who made fun of me so psychologically it scarred me into thinking every guy was out to get me and everyone everywhere was always talking about me. That got me into trouble when I got to high school when I started actually getting attention from guys.
With little friendship and knowledge about guys I did whatever it took to keep their attention on me. Unfortunately it led me to some poor self-esteem choices sexually. I made one mistake and suddenly I was the “slut” of the school. Everywhere I turned guys were asking me for sexual favors and when declined they got mad and told their friends I was doing it anyway. Soon my friends started hearing these rumors about me. A friend of mine, one day came up to me and asked if I had the STD Herpes. I was surprised, but not completely shocked as I knew rumors of me having every thinkable STD was being spread around.
One day I was sent to In School Suspension and I found my number under a comment that said if anyone wanted free sexual favors to call me. Things started to hurt worse and worse. I walked into the gym one day and a girl kicked a volleyball at me and yelled out “who let the slut in the gym?” Next my friends turned their backs on me and said they could no longer be friends with a “hoe” and it showed who my real friends were because I lost 98% of my friends during this whole epidemic of lies.
That’s when I decided I wanted to end it all. I wanted to opt-out and get rid of all the pain and hurt that everyone was giving me. March 2011 I tried to commit suicide with an escape similar to hanging. My mother walked in on me with the device wrapped around my neck. I was crying and she screamed for my father to come help her. I was angry that she stopped me because I couldn’t handle it anymore and I was done trying to fix what clearly wasn’t going to be fixed.
My dad talked to me and everyone “talked” to me about the situation . Then I remembered what my cousin David had told me when I was younger. “If you ignore them or agree to what they said they can’t bother you anymore.” Back then I didn’t understand what he meant, but then I realized that the only way I could let anyone make me feel inferior was by giving them MY permission. Every time someone asked for a favor I simply declined. If someone asked if it had happened I would simply say “if that’s what you believe” and eventually it stopped.
I found the one person I could rely on for any pain I felt that summer at Blue Ridge Leaders School. His name is Timothy Williams and he has presented himself as a great older brother. I really wish I had met him before I tried to take my life, but any doubts I ever had about myself or anything he would be there from that summer on. What everyone needs to realize is that bullying can cut DEEP. It’s not something you need to sit there and joke about just to entertain your friends. What you say and what you do can definitely impact someone more than you might think. If you’re being bullied just remember YOU have to give YOUR permission in order for someone ELSE to make you feel inferior.