You no longer matter. I only post on the class page to humor you and to give you a little something to talk about.
Oh, I’ll give you this much. For a while, you had me down and even managed to keep me there during school. I forgot who I was. Or maybe without meaning to, I allowed you to take the knowledge of who I was from me. You even succeeded in making me out to be the troubled one.
And while you bullied, harassed, name-called, slut-shamed, shoved, tripped, jumped, beat, choked, kicked, and threatened my life with a blade on two different occasions; I was told to ignore it, to toughen up, and not to be a snitch or a crybaby.
The word Answer on a puzzle piece to symbolize the quest for understanding in answering questions and concerns
Even worse, people also dared to tell me to either be thankful that the abuse wasn’t worse or just to take it in silence.
But as you can see, it didn’t last. You couldn’t keep me in your little box and your vacuum. And once I got away from you, I began to flourish.
In the end, you only made a fighter out of me. What you did is make a winner out of me. You ended up making me more determined to love myself. And I do! The girl who used to finish last can now finish first. Why? Because I put myself first.
When you all attacked me, others judged me unfairly and brutalized me- even those who were bystanders and those I thought were friends. And that was worse because the betrayal was more devastating than the bullying and mobbing itself.
Oh, yes. I’ll admit. People, even a few school staff, only scoffed when I went to them for help and tried to explain to them what I was going through. When I needed a listening ear and a shoulder to lean and to cry on, they only ignored me. When I needed someone to care, understand, and to make sense of what was happening, they abandoned me. Therefore, for a while, you won.
I even went against my better judgment and asked many of you why. Not even you could give me a straight answer, which should’ve been my first clue that none of you knew and, more than likely, still don’t know why you acted so ignorant and stupid.
That’s right! Though I was only a kid, and didn’t realize it back then, it’s only proof that you had no excuse nor justification for the simple way you behaved. And the most astonishing part was you didn’t need any evidence of any wrongdoing on my part to rally the school to your side.
Telling you to “get over it” is typical of bullies. The reason they tell you this is to shame and to silence you. In telling you to “let it go,” bullies make you out to be unstable or a drama-filled person who carries a grudge and can’t leave the past behind.
I don’t hate my classmates. I thank them. Because if it weren’t for my classmates, I might have never found my niche and the thing I enjoy doing the most. In their torment of me all those years ago, they inspired me to become a champion for the bullied, an author of 4 books, and a blogger whose niche is bullying. So, I thank them from the bottom of my heart. In truth, I can never thank them enough.
Here’s the thing. There’s a difference between holding a grudge and accepting that you suffered abuse. You can acknowledge what happened without holding onto bitterness and hate.
Grudges, bitterness, and hate – unhealthy
Grudges are unhealthy. A person who carries a grudge has anger, resentment, and hate boiling inside them and will often seek revenge. A grudge-holder handles any past victimhood he suffered in very destructive ways.
People who hold grudges only let the past hold them back from growing, from enjoying new friendships and relationships with others, and from success. Because a grudge holder carries so much anger and bitterness, they only repel people who would be potential friends and partners. They only attract more negativity and adversity into their lives.
Acknowledgment of Past Victimization – healthy
On the other hand, acknowledgment or acceptance of prior victimization and how it hurt you is one of the healthiest things you can do. The person who does this doesn’t hold a grudge and doesn’t hate the people who abused her. She only feels sorry for them.
Survivors who accept the past realize that there can be valuable lessons learned from being a past target of bullying and abuse and often use it as their rocket fuel. Like I have done, they do years of research into bullying and into the mindsets of bullies and the victims they select. They consistently search for answers as to why bullies bully, what bullies look for in victims, and much, much more.
They then speak out about their experiences and the pain they suffered to bring awareness to the world- consciousness that, yes, such evil does exist. A former victim who accepts the past freely talks of and spreads awareness of bullying and abuse only grows and acquires wisdom. She then uses that wisdom to reach out to others who endure the same or to prevent others from experiencing the same pain she did.
You would be surprised how rewarding this is to a survivor. Through using past pain for good, many survivors have achieved healing and gotten closure. Also, these people often make fulfilling and life-long friendships and connections through their work toward their cause.
Expect your old tormentors to come for you if you raise awareness
Sadly though, it’s easy to get these two things confused. Former classmates from school have accused me of being bitter and full of hate. They have blasted me for having the gall to speak out and write about the brutality and the vile and downright devilish behavior they displayed years ago. Luckily, I see right through them.
‘You see? Even years after the fact, abusers despise it when you take the pain they caused you the past and turn it into something that can help people. And when you take something that was meant to defeat you and turn it into something that helps others, and only makes you stronger, oh man, do they hate that!
All that time, they tried to tear you down! All that combined effort! And still! You didn’t drown! You only took it and turned it into something positive, and all that work they put forth to bury you ended up wasted! Understand that bullies become furious when they realize they weren’t able to destroy you.
Anytime you speak out about any past abuse you suffered, it should be not only accepted but expected that your old tormentors will come for you, telling you to get over it. Not only are they angry at you because you didn’t crash and burn, but they’re also very much afraid that you’ll expose them somehow or that you’ll succeed. Don’t take it personally.
Instead, take it as confirmation of their guilt- as proof that they were and still are the ones who have the problem. When old bullies bash you for speaking out, they only out themselves. Don’t let them silence you, nor allow them to stop you from reaching out to those who need to hear your story because you might end up saving a life!
Turn your pain into power! Be a friend and advocate for the bullied!
Off and on during the past year, I’ve been working on several novels, one of which is, “A Mile in Charlotte’s Shoes”, which should be available in 2021 or 2022.
It’s about a young girl who is different and often abused. She suffers from ACE (Adverse Child Experiences), which often looks like autism. She goes through many changes, over many years, reads books on human psychology and behavior, and attempts to learn how to better her situation. In the span of a few decades, Charlotte goes through many changes. As she tries to navigate this thing called Life, She becomes worse before eventually getting better.
Chapter 1: Predestination
The trips back and forth to Beulah from Camp Lejeune, North Carolina or Camp Pendleton, California were always full of excitement. Perhaps the most exciting trip home was the Christmas before Charlotte’s second birthday.
Frank and Christie were driving to Beulah from Camp Pendleton, travelling through the deserts of Arizona and New Mexico and the song, “Merry Christmas Darling” by the Carpenters’ was being played on the radio. Thinking Charlotte was asleep in her child restraint seat in the back, they talked about last minute shopping and the last minute presents they would need. Suddenly, Christie heard a tiny hum coming from the back seat.
“Shhh-shhh!” Christie told Frank, “Did you hear that?”
“No. What was it?” Frank responded.
The humming sounded again and then Charlotte began to sing the words the best she could to the song in perfect time and tune. Christie spun around and looked back at her, then looked back at Frank.
“Is this child singing? Listen to that! She’s a natural, Frank!” Christie said excitedly, “She’s in perfect time and keeping perfect tune!”
“She gets it from my side of the family.” He quipped as he smiled at his wife.
Christie playfully slapped her husband on the arm. Being a shy baby, Charlotte suddenly stopped singing.
“Don’t stop, babygirl!” Frank called back as he drove the station wagon, “Sing, baby! Sing!”
Charlotte began singing again and Frank and Christie would constantly give each other puzzled but excited glances. Christie would then look back at her baby daughter and smile.
There were also the games at home that Christie would play with Charlotte. The games of Marco Polo in the kiddie pool in the back yard and singing of ABC’s, “This Little Piggy”, “Itsy-Bitsy Spider” and “This Old Man”.
The games of chase through the house were her favorite. Charlotte loved for people to chase her. She also loved hiding from people and having them to search for her.
All the good times, the love and laughter, the play…they seemed to provide an even balance to life and make the bad times not seem so bad.
But the babysitter! How could Charlotte tell her parents what the babysitter was doing to her while they were gone?