A timeless, serious issue, that plenty experience, but few want to acknowledge. It has ruined and even taken lives. Still, we stay quiet for fear of ridicule. I’ve been there; I’ve felt the sting of rejection from peers. I know what it’s like to be the victim of bullying.
I was first introduced to the world of bullies when I was in elementary school. Way back when I was still learning English and German accent was still very noticeable (although I don’t actually remember having an accent). I remember how desperately I wanted to have a bff. I wanted to have the kind of friendship with someone that Amy and Helena had. They were the two most popular girls in my grade two class.
I wasn’t good at approaching people though. I was certainly friendly to the people who would dare themselves to come near me. Margot, the girl who sat beside me was nice. But she moved, so that friendship never blossomed.
I struggled to find a common ground between myself and the other girls. At recess I clung to my sister like a lifeline. She was my one and only friend. When recess time was over, I returned to my classes and withdrew into my quiet little shell. A shell that grew darker and lonelier as a young girl named Kyla began to take notice of me.
Kyla discovered that by pointing at me and making jokes at my expense, she became more popular. In the fifth grade, we were paired together as peer mediators (we kept the peace on the playground) during recess, and were forced to work as a team. When the recess was over, we sat in the foyer together and waited for our hot chocolate. That was our reward for being peer mediators. I made an error and said that I hoped there would be mushrooms in my hot chocolate. I’d meant to say marshmallows.
To Kyla, that was the funniest thing I had ever said. So she laughed. At first I felt hurt. I’d made a mistake, and she was laughing it up. But then I had an aha! moment. I realized that it indeed was funny, so I laughed with her. It was as if in that moment, my sense of humor was born. Kyla didn’t see me as a weirdo anymore, and I learned to laugh at myself. In fact, that moment became a personal joke between the two of us. we had something in common.
It would have been perfect, if not for the bigger, meaner bully that took her place and made my life hell until grade seven. I learned an even bigger lesson with him, but I’ll save that for another post. I’ve kept you long enough. You may get on with your life now! 🙂