I was a bullying target in middle school. It was never physical, but mental bullying hurts just as much, perhaps even more. The worst part? You can’t see the pain. Objects of bullying often learn to fake their feelings and to always appear cheerful.
As a bullying target, I got a lot of name callings because I was fat, dark, and dull. They were offensive and embarrassing. It didn’t stop there. I also found that some people lied and spread bad rumors behind my back. Thinking people hated me because I was fat, I cursed at myself, even vomiting because I was frightened of the food that I consumed. But when I looked at other friends who had the same body type as me, I was surprised to learn that they were not as badly treated as I was. It’s not that I wanted them to suffer like me, but the fact made me question why I was treated so unfairly. It felt as if my bullies did not think I was human like them and that I had feelings. I longed to have friends; I wanted to be loved and accepted.
Fortunately, I had my parents’ support. I owe them big, because, without them, I would have been a depressed teen. I might’ve even committed suicide. They listened to me when I cried, they hugged me when nobody did, they gave me unlimited love when I could not even love myself. There were times when the bullies went overboard and it made me want to quit school. My mom had to call them one by one to demand them to stop calling me embarrassing nick names. Did they stop? No. They still looked at me from head to toe, giving me a disgusted look when I passed by. They absolutely had no idea how I felt inferior and pitiful around them.
When I reached the lowest point during my adolescent years, my parents told me, “You’ve come this far; you’re almost graduate. You’ve maintained good grades despite those bullies and that’s the real proof that you are capable of what they are not.” Those words were my lifeline, when I had thoughts of ending my miserable life.
After graduating from middle school, I decided to become the “new me.” When I enrolled as a new student for high school, I found out that I was going to be in the same school with some of the bullies, but I knew that avoiding or escaping them would not change a thing. So instead of running away from them, I chose to be better at socializing. I could not change their thoughts about me, but at least I could prove that I had better skills than them in some subjects or activities. Then slowly, they initiated conversations with me, although I could still see their hesitation. But, it did not matter since I was making other friends too, along with some improvements in my physical and mental conditions.
Still, my brain refused to forget. The city where I was born had a negative vibe because of my experience. Everything looked horrible, because I knew that if I stayed longer there I would still meet my bullies in the near future. I might’ve been a new person, but bad memories are forever remembered. That’s when I decided to move and study in a university in a different region.
And it worked! I am much happier now. I introduced myself to strangers with huge confidence that people would not have guessed what I had gone through. Most importantly, the bullies have completely disappeared from my life, as I started a brand new life. I have met lots of supportive friends on campus, engaged myself in a new environment with so many mature individuals, and laughed a lot. I also credit this change to my faith. I am grateful that I put God in every change that I made, because I believe that He does not burden a soul beyond that it can bear.
I have never really told anyone about my bullied episode, as I considered it the darkest period of my life. I used to be afraid that if I ever told this experience, my friends, my colleagues, or even my crush would think differently of me. I used to be afraid that a similar situation would happen again. But, such fear no longer affects me, since I have learned to stop giving a fuck in what other people think. Besides, there is a lot more awareness on issues like this today. It gives me confidence to tell people about my personal experience
For all of you out there with similar experience, never let anyone underestimate you and put you down for whatever reason. You deserved to be loved and to make yourself your own priority. And you must show your bullies that you are better than they think.
Nindy Rahmadani is a sensitive extrovert and a brokeass traveler. She is the type of person who can be broken hearted and sobbing in front of someone, but still crack a joke.