A Tale from the Shadowlands

I was bullied during elementary (I think it started on the fourth grade - with taunts of "fat", "pig" and other similar things), and escalated during high school (much more subtle this time, "exclusion", "whispering", etc.)

The "exclusion" was for me the worst. They would deliberately "forget" my name during class rehearsals (there was one point when I had to "beg" to be included during a school play otherwise I would not get the reqiured grade - and even then, I was given the role of a "man" - that was their "in-joke" about me, they gave off subtle hints that I am a "lesbian" (incidentaly, i've recently "discovered" that I am a Bi) by "pairing" me off with a couple of girls etc. - because I really didn't meet the "standards of girlhood or girly-hood" (i do not go off to class wearing tons of make-up and "cool" clothes - usually, when not in uniform I wear jeans, no make up, my hair is as they say "a mess" and my demeanor was not at all "girly"). Other incidents include slashing off my binder, hiding my things - you wouldn't believe the number of things I've "lost".

I think it's also because they think I'm "weird" (and possibly a bit "ahead" of them - I'm by no means the "valedictorian" or an honor student, though I managed to make it to the top section/class - I have a "learning disability", but my interests were "advance" for a typical high schooler). There was also the fact that I am poor. One bully particularly liked to make fun of that, it's really sad to hear words like, "you're poorer than a rat!" (which is true, but to hear it said with such venom, such malice!).

My "worst" dose of bullying came during my Junior year. This time, it's not only my classmates - although I wouldn't say ALL of them, I do have some friends - but my class adviser and some other teachers decided to join the club. My adviser was the worst of them, I'm afraid. She humiliated me in front of the class (thank fully, they had the grace not to laugh, at least not openly) because of the fact that I was not able to pay my tuition on time. I decided to transfer to another school for my Senior year (where things got progressively better - I found the best of friends there). I don't not think I'll be able to forgive that woman, even if she asked for it (which I don't think she'll do, she's still a teacher in that school, making some other student miserable, I'm sure.)

I took out my frustration(s) on my Art (drawing was something that was "natural" for me). Reading became my source of strength (i used to hide in the library to escape the "marauding horde").

There are times when I would feel that I am somehow partly responsible ( i tell myself, "I must be a real wimp/loser!")for what happened, if only I acted much "cooler", if only i "fitted-in". But then I realized that it would be at the cost of my personal identity, and that is something I am unwilling to compromise. I've read at BullyOnline that no matter what, it wasn't my fault, but my tormentors' , for being intolerant of others' differences. I think what I went through wrought considerable damage to my self esteem (i'm an introvert by nature, so you can probably imagine...) and I feel deep "distrust" for most people I meet.

But I try, everyday, to become "strong". I've contemplated suicide several times, but something always held me back. I'm glad for that. Whatever it is.

I'm now 23 years old, working as a Web Developer/Graphic Artist (mind you, I still get "teased" at work, but I try not to let them bother me anymore).

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