~Keep Calm and Stand Up for Others, by Joanna M
“I was a very sickly child. Small and very skinny. I was always under weight and getting sick so I became very pale. I was shunned by the girls because I refused to dress like them, dresses in pastels and pinks with bows in my hair. I kept my hair short because I was not big on looking cute and pretty. The boys made fun of me because I looked like a little boy but used the girls restroom and wore dresses for picture day. The bullying was at first simple teasing, that still hurt non-the-less. When my mother re-married I had to move. I let my hair grow a little bit, so I wouldn’t look like a boy. I went to a school near the military base that we lived on. I made a few friends. I was still teased for looking like a skeleton. A year went by and we moved. We moved to Houston and I went to a school that was in walking distance. I was one of few children there that were white. I had a hard time with telling time on a clock, and my teacher made fun of me and humiliated me in front of the whole class. Soon, I was ignored by the rest of the class except for two boys that would beat me up. I would walk home in tears, and covered in bruises. The faculty and staff wouldn’t do anything about it. The beatings continued, soon they threatened to cut my hair, calling me “dyke”. No one seemed to care. My step-father would ask questions about the bruises but for a long time I would just say I fell or was wrestling with my ‘friends’ that I never really had. The bullying didn’t stop at school. My step-father had grown accustomed to calling me ugly, fat, and retarded. I was already skin and bones, so when my own step-father started saying I was fat…I lost it and wouldn’t eat as much. He would chase me around with tongs picking at my ‘fat’. Whenever I didn’t get an A the ‘punishments’ would start. This included name calling, locking me in my room disconnecting everything including my lights, and taking away my books. Then he would call me ugly because I didn’t care to try and look like a girl. He would also spank me so hard that I couldn’t sit down, all because I forgot an assignment or didn’t get an ‘A’.
Soon he and my mother got divorced and we moved back home(San Antonio). I went back to my old elementary school. Things were ok, since I showed up for the last few months of school. Everyone seemed nice, things were looking up. I then joined a swim team for the summer. I was a newbie but because I worked so hard I ended up being in the same lane as those who had been swimming for years. They started making fun of me because I was 11 and did not look like a girl. Thankfully one person stood up for me, and he became my best friend. He made those morning bearable. I left my elementary school in 5th grade for a privet school because the bullying didn’t stop, it in fact got worse and more violent because I would stand up for myself and others.
The privet school stopped the physical abuse, but now the emotional. I was 12 going on 13 when it got worse. All of the girls were developed by now. They all had breast and curves. I was a twig and still underweight. Because of this the girls were horrible. They would pull on my shirt saying “show us that you are a real girl. Show us your boobs!”, but because of my weight problem, I was under developed…I did not start puberty until I was 8(normal yes) but biologically I still had the anatomy of a child, just taller and gangly. Soon the guys bullied me on line. I played a game, Runescape, and they did as well. Thinking they were my friends I gave them my character’s name and then the cyberbulling began. Always leaving me in tears when I would get off line. This is when I started cutting…
This continued until I left for a new school starting in San Antonio. It was a school for the gifted and talented children.
The bullying slowed, but I would still cut whenever I felt worthless because of the bullying. There was only a few girls that bullied me at that school, and she would do it through others and through myspace and then eventually Facebook. One would threaten to ‘cut me’ and kill me, the other was my ‘best friend’ and would make fun of my finally growing breast. Soon she was no longer my best friend, but the other girl never stopped. It got worse when I tried to tell her boyfriend she was cheating on him with other girls and guys.
However, during this last part I felt that no one should ever have to go through what I did. No one should have to feel that low to hurt their selves. So, I started standing up for people. If I saw or heard of a kid getting beat up or bullied, or even alienated; I would invite them to the table I sat at and would help them, become their friend. I will never not stand up for someone.
Now in college, I tend to keep to myself, but if I see someone being pushed around I go help. If someone is being rude or picking on someone because of how they look, dress, act, or what they wear, you can be damn sure I will be there. Standing up for someone is the only say to stop the bullying. So..
Keep Calm and Stand Up for Others.”