Hey everyone! Decided to share about my experiences with bullying. I've attached some pictures of old things I've said on Facebook when I was a little one haha , enjoy! Feel free to leave your feedback, thanks APS Fam! Let's plant more seeds.
So because I was different, I felt like it was way harder for me to make friends. Without having like a reason for someone to say something, chances are most people didn't just start talking to me because I looked like an approachable person to start a convo with and I wasn't super social so I never said anything to anyone first. One of my best friends from school, who I actually met because our teacher MADE us be partners in 4th grade even told me she really didn't want to be partners with me at first until we actually started talking and becoming friends. I guess she discovered I was't this mysterious, scary person she thought I was ahah! I Immediately felt isolated in social settings/ school. I don't know why... actually, now I do know why on a real level: #1 my skin color is black, #2 I am a girl, #3 I was a bit of a tomboy/ super athletic and friends with mostly boys , lastly #4 I was super shy.
As my defense mechanism and a way to be social, I would find people I thought were maybe weaker than me.. including substitute teachers and kinda make jokes about them. It wasn't so much like name calling but almost just like it acting in a annoying way, being super sarcastic, and just saying things to make people laugh.. except for the people it was directed toward. Years later I found out some of the things I'd said or done have offended people and they never forgot about it. One of my friends said she never forgot about something I said to her back when we were in middle school that I don't even remember saying. Which goes to show how big of an impact things you say or do to people can affect each individual in a different way and you may not even realize it.
Hurt people hurt people. I was sad and afraid of getting judged because I was different so I judged people before anyone could to me. I have always been stared at my entire life I feel like, my whole family gets it a lot I don't know why. We're a slightly mixed family, my mom is half white and black and my dad is black, I have brown skin and freckles.. maybe that's why, I don't know I should ask the people staring at me haha. But this messed with me mentally 10x MORE. I constantly felt as if people were judging me always either by what I look like, what I sound like, what my hair looks like, what I'm wearing, or my skin color. And actually experienced people questioning me by the way I look or sound as well. EX: " You sound white" my response was, How can you sound a color? lol when I straighten my hair " wow oh my god, your hair is so soft" Once I was in line at Chipotle and this girl started touching my hair without even asking or saying anything then later apologized, I have legit gotten " Why do you like skateboarding , your a girl" haha just to name a few.
I'm so grateful for all the experiences I've had in life good and bad because they have shaped me into the person I am now. I think I started to really feel the impact of being bullied when it was first done to me, and I didn't get bullied a lot. I wasn't a big target for bullying just because people didn't know me so I guess they didn't know how I might respond, and I didn't think they cared to find out. But when I did, I really felt it. I'll never forget my first couple years of skating I posted YouTube videos and was active on YouTube then I received my first couple of hate comments. They were like "you suck, why are you in this skate crew" "you'll never get a boyfriend because you are a girl that skates" etc. and at the time I was young like 12,13,or 14yrs old? and didn't take it very well, I was really hurt inside and at that point of my skating career I actually did have thoughts of quitting, what I would do if I stopped, a couple of times I just wanted to quit just to be "normal" but again I was young haha I'll never have another thought like that again.
My greatest piece of advice for bullying would be.. if you live a life truly focused on yourself, loving yourself, making yourself happy, having fun, surrounding yourself with great people, and not caring what anyone else has to think or say about YOUR decisions in YOUR life ..bullying/ hate won't be an issue. Because it doesn't matter. This is YOUR life it's not anyone else's, you can't trade with anyone. So if you're getting hated on or judged know that the people doing it are truly hurt deep down and are trying to use you to cope. As far as judging and comments the best thing you can do is to not respond/retaliate or even acknowledge it, be the bigger person instead take it as a compliment. That person is so flattered by you they're going out of their way in their life spending THEIR energy to say something about YOU, don't waste any precious time of yours responding. Surround yourself with only with positive people who are lifting you higher and pushing you forward. Friends can be bullies and secret haters too, so if you have a friend that is doing that talk to them about it ,bring up issues in mature manner and ask why.. if they can't apologize or accept what they're doing wrong then maybe you shouldn't be friends with them.. it's toxic energy. If you are getting bullied physically or truly can't take it anymore please talk to someone go get help, don't be afraid to stand up for yourself and get the help you need. There is always someone out there to go to.
Moral of the story is that HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE. Bullying has an impact on ALL participants ( victims, bully, and by standers). If effects your mental and physical health, school functioning, and social relations. Let's develop a culture where bullying is not supported by ANYONE, no code of silence.