A few days ago, I opened my binder of notes from the Transformation retreat I went on back in March. In the binder was all the material we had worked on throughout the week (In between our yoga, bootcamp classes and runs) – limiting beliefs, positive affirmations, all of it. It really got me thinking (even more than I did back then) about where many of my negative thoughts come from. Then it hit me, Bullying. I have been bullied and watching the very much talked about video of the bus monitor from New York state being bullied brought it all together for me. Perhaps growing up I didn’t want to think that I was bullied. Perhaps as an adult I didn’t think that other adults would bully.
I was picked on and made fun for so many things. Growing up I was – believe it or not, tall and skinny, and I got laughed at for that. I wasn’t cute and short like the other girls. I even got bullied by a teacher in elementary school. I remember it so clearly, she wasn’t even my teacher, just another teacher at the school. Every chance she got she picked on me in front of everyone else. There was the time when a friend was taking a picture and she said “don’t take a picture of Lisa; she is so ugly the camera might break”. Or when she was helping out with our class for an art class and I had a question “oh here we go, let’s see what stupid question Lisa has”. As a 12 year old, I didn’t tell my parents because I was worried they would think I was making it up. Instead I kept my mouth shut and for many, many years I felt both stupid and ugly. Other than the teacher, I had many people picking on me for just about everything. I always thought whoever said that the high school years are the best years of your life, are the biggest liars or they were one of the mean girls/guys. I spent my time at the dance studio, dance competitions or at home, wishing I would be invited out to the parties.
When all my schooling was finally over I thought that I could finally start to feel confident about who I am, what I look like etc. I was mistaken. I once worked for someone – an actual adult, who was the biggest bully of them all. I actually longed for the high school mean girls/guys again. Within the first week alone I was called names and shouted at more times than I could count. I would actually fear going to work, heck forget work hours, it was literally around the clock with emails, calls, text messages. During all of this I was going through major personal changes, and I thought this person could be a friend and confidante. Everything I confided in them was used against me, thrown back in my face and talked about behind my back (with my words twisted) with almost everyone I knew. When I finally had the guts to walk away from it all, I took a month off from any work. I needed that time on my own.
For the last few years I have finally started to feel good enough, pretty enough, strong enough, talented enough. I have great friends that are a great support system, an amazing husband who is my best friend, and the best son, who gives the best hugs and kisses ever. Yet here I am feeling like my worlds are starting to collide. I recently found out that this big bully and I have mutual friends, and I am starting to feel those same knots and dread in my stomach.
The new and improved me is trying with all my might to tell that older version of myself that things will be ok. I’m not going to lie, it is damn hard, but I just keep telling myself that it really doesn’t matter that this person is in some way back in life.
Should I ever have to come face to face with them, or any other bully I have met throughout my life, I shall be mature, confident and handle the situation with grace. I will not sink to their level.
To all the moms out there, do everything in your power to raise your little one(s) to be have a good heart, independent mind, be kind, thoughtful, strong and full of grace. Teach them that bullying is wrong and if they are victims of bullying, those traits will help them to have the courage to stand up to their bully, as I wish I did. Below are some inspirational quotes that really hit home with me.
Got emotional reading that! I never knew we had such similar experiences growing up. Stay strong if you should run into the bully, as you said don’t sink to their level. I once had to work with an ex who was abusive. (~6 years after) I didn’t want to tell my boss or his boss, I just acted mature and did my job. HUGS
Oh, this was hard for me to read. Mostly, because as I read it, I couldn’t believe how painful this must’ve been for you. How alone and helpless you must’ve felt when you didn’t want to burden your parents with your bullying. You are one brave lady. 🙂
The two most painful parts of your story – other than being bullied by children (which I can relate to), was your teacher and your boss and confidante. These both surprised and disgusted me.
Lisa, thank you for sharing your stories. It takes courage to take a walk down memory lane and visit tough moments like these. Sharing them on your blog is another brave leap.
I think I would have the same knots if I found out that someone who bullied me from my past is friends with someone I know. I wish I had advice for you, but I think I would be a wuss and put on a brave face if I had to come face to face with someone who brought me pain.
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