“Courage is fire, bullying is smoke”
I wanted to write a blog about a subject very close to me-Bullying.
As a child I LOVED school. Just as my son does now, I loved reading, socialising and mainly learning. I wanted to know everything about anything!
At the age of 7 my love of socialising at school changed. A couple of children would make comments that would upset me sometimes. Nothing major, just silly 7 year old ‘isms’. At the age of 9 however, after dealing with the name calling for a couple of years on and off, things changed quite a lot. My earliest memory of it all would be being pushed over in the playground, by a girl who knew the lunchtime monitor lady. I fell on my face, knocking my top lip into my teeth and grazing it, as well as my nose and forehead. My best friend at school, Holly, was coming round for tea that night, and I remember thinking, I have to be ok so she can come for tea. I went to the toilet, where the lunchtime monitor came in, took one look at me, smirked and walked straight out. I knew from that moment (or thought I knew), that no one could help. I was on my own with this one.
I don’t actually class the “bullying” as “bullying” while I was in primary school. Because I have secondary school to compare it with.
Secondary school (all girls school) from the age of 11, was by far the hardest time of my childhood. There were three groups within the classes:-
- The Popular Group
- The Neutral Group
- The Unpopular Group
So the popular group were a clique of girls, they followed all fashions and trends, most were ahead of the game with everything. Their parents had money, they got to go on all the school trips, they didn’t revise for tests (because that was clearly cooler), and they bullied.
The neutral group were girls who were friends with everyone. They had their own little clique but they would swing toward anyone they wanted. If they were asked to sit and partner up with a popular or unpopular girl they would, having no opinion whatsoever on anyone except for their friends. I really wanted to be in this group.
Unfortunately, I was in the unpopular group, and therefore fair target for the popular girls to bully. The unpopular ones didn’t have a lot of money, they didn’t get to go on the cool school trips, some (like me) enjoyed learning, works and revising, and aimed for top marks on all tests and exams.
I loved school, but as the years there went on I lost motivation a little bit with it.
I got punched in the face on the way home one day, my sister was there and she sobbed the whole way home worrying about me. I passed a teacher on the way home, coming back from a PE Lesson at the local sports hall. She saw my sister crying and asked me if everything was ok. Well, I wasn’t going to tell a teacher-after all they didn’t help before did they!
During my GSCE year, my Food Technology teacher (we’ll call her Mrs ‘N’) threw my coursework away. I failed my exam because I didn’t have the motivation to revise for the test, as the coursework counted towards the final mark.
I decided to sack it all off, to me, there was no point in doing any exams if I didn’t have my teachers support. Then my English teacher left. She was replaced by another teacher, Mr Rosedon. Someone completely impartial who didn’t know about my life at school, he very quickly became my favourite teacher, pushing me to complete coursework and revise for exams. At the same time, my maths teacher called my Dad in to say that he thought I had the brain for passing my maths GCSE, if only I had the motivation.
I went on to pass my maths and English exams, as well as 4 others, while the popular girls (didn’t give a sh*t) and came away with nothing.
As an adult, and a mum now, I feel like it’s my job to protect my children from these types of people. I never told my parents but I hope my children will if ever something similar happens to them.
What I won’t be doing, is filling their heads with nonsense about bullying only happening when they’re young.
From experience, people still do it to you as an adult, the difference being, you’ve learned from earlier life how to deal with it.
If you’re reading this and being bullied now, my advice is, tell someone. Schools aren’t like mine anymore, there are staff members employed within schools, primarily to deal with bullying. Tell your parents, a friends parents, the police, ANYONE, because someone will help you. You are not alone.
If you’re reading this and you’ve been bullied, I sympathise massively, and I hope others behaviour hasn’t shaped you to be the person they wanted you to be-A victim. Because that’s not what we are! We are survivors!
Oh, and if you’re reading this and you’re the bully? Read above, think about how you would feel if it was being done to you, your kids, your family, your friends. And stop. Just stop.