It seems like everyone has had some interaction with bullying. Celebrities. Average Joe. The football captain. The nerdy girl. At some point, everyone in their life has been bullied. Still, no matter what the degree of the bullying is, whether it’s name-calling, beating someone up, or threatening someone’s life, bullying leaves scars.
I’ve talked about being bullied in the past and how it left an emotional scar on me for years afterwards. And, I was lucky that my high school was low-clique and low drama because I escaped a lot of the bullying that comes as people progress through their final years of mandatory education.
However, I always thought that once I graduated high school and entered the “real world,” i.e. college bullying went away. I knew there would always be gossip, but for me bullying has always been different than that. Bullying has a certain motivator, the right mix of insecurity, anger, and fear all rolled into one ugly concoction. Then again, you could say that adolescence is just a taste of the same pot, so maybe that’s why I thought bullying ended once you were finally an “adult”.
It wasn’t until I started going to class and living with roommates in the “real world,” I realized how wrong I was. Adults are just as capable as bullying as children.
I’m not saying there isn’t room to be tough in the world. People are always going to gossip. There will always be the “popular” crowd, even in college and after college. Let’s face it, the world is rough, and no one is going to be there to sugar coat it for you.
However, I want to look back on my life, and be happy with the route I took to get there. I don’t want my life to be an endless series of broken relationships that I sacrificed because I was bored or I just hadn’t bothered to think of the impact of my words.
Bullying never really goes away, we just get better at dealing with it. I can’t even begin to compare how much I have changed since I was bullied in school. I used to be a shy, passive aggressive teenager, but now, I believe in myself enough to stand up for myself and speak my mind.
Right now, I am dealing my own adulthood bullying via my two roommates. They will talk about me right outside my door. Purposely don’t do things (like clean) to get a rise out of me. They are mean, but I can’t just lay down and give up just because they don’t like me. Bullies are everywhere. No matter how old or young you are, you are going to have to deal with mean, ignorant, prejudiced people all around you.
And to be honest, no matter how old you get, bullying is still going to sting because honestly, everyone deep down wants to be accepted. But, that doesn’t mean you have to accept the what they say about you.
You are more than any words that anyone can use against you, and the only person who can define you is yourself. Life is hard, and there will be more bumps along the way. But, there is also good in the world. Sometimes you have to squint to see it, but there is always a glimmer, somewhere, even if it’s just above your reach, you have to keep trekking along.
There is a local bumper sticker that always strikes a chord with me when I see it. It says: Choose Civility. We are all people, and we all have a life to live and a story to tell. Kindness is an underrated personality trait in this world. Be kind. Give respect. Stand up for yourself. But, remember you are one in a world of millions of other human beings. Think of others when speaking about them and take responsibility for your words and your actions. They have more power than you might realize.