I haven’t thought about this for 15 years. I have buried it deep down so that I never have to deal with the pain. The feelings I felt all that time ago have shaped who I am today. They are the reason I hesitate before entering a room. They are the reason I am too shy to talk to new people. They are the reason I doubt myself most days.
I was bullied.
I always loved school as a young child. I wouldn’t ever say I was a popular child, I mean I had plenty of friends but as I worked hard in lessons I was classed as a ‘boffin’. This didn’t bother me at all, even as a teenager I wasn’t especially interested in going to parties etc.. I was happy with who I was.
Towards the end of year 9 my whole world changed. I can clearly remember the day it all happened. I was in P.E. and a friend of mine was joking around with another girl in the class. The girl (H) had special educational needs, something to do with social interaction from what I could understand at that age. They were good friends but at one point I think H misunderstood the situation and got a bit upset.
Later that day another girl (S) came to find me, Chinese whispers had led her to believe it was me who had upset H. Taking the law into her own hands she wanted to come and set me straight! I am not really sure what came over me but instead of sensibly telling her it wasn’t me I pushed her out of the way and ran off upset.
Over the next few weeks it became apparent that everybody knew what had happened. People would try to push me or trip me up as I walked along the corridors. Vicious rumours were started and people would whisper behind my back. I was still ok though, most of the people involved were not in my lessons and so as long as I was careful I could avoid most situations.
In the September I started year 10, I had chosen my subjects for my GCSE’s and was excited to start my new classes. One of those subjects was drama- guess who was in my class? As soon as I walked in my heart sank. I was going to have to spend 4 hours a week with the one person I had been trying to avoid.
If I am honest I have blocked most of that time out of my memory. I am sure it is buried in there somewhere but at almost 15 years later I have managed to forget. A couple of memories remain, some of my darker days.
I would dread every single drama lesson, especially as they were always doubles so that meant 2 hours in her company. Somehow she had managed to turn the whole class against me and nobody ever wanted to work with me. If I was placed in a group they would ignore me and give me the worst parts to play.
Two of my so called friends were in the class with me and in one particular lesson we had to act out scenes from Blood Brothers. I was playing the part of Mrs Lyons- if you know it I was acting out the part when she goes a bit crazy! I was half way through the monologue and I froze, I completely forgot my lines! I looked to the side of the stage where my ‘friends’ were standing with the script. I looked for help but they just laughed. I was alone.
The isolation spread further than school too. Those same ‘friends’ were part of a group of 6 girls I was in. We would always go from sleepovers for birthdays and one time we were all watching a movie and eating popcorn and I went to sit on the sofa. One of the girls kicked me in the stomach and told me to sit on the floor. We had been friends for years! I was heartbroken and rang my dad to come get me straight away.
My own personal hell went on for 9 months, I didn’t tell a single soul. My mum knew something was wrong but I just told her I was fine. I couldn’t see a way out of it when I had people telling me to my face that I was fat and ugly every single day. I knew I had to go to school and I so badly wanted to work hard but I was miserable.
One drama lesson I finally snapped. I had been put in a group and we were sitting in a circle dishing out parts. One boy turned to me, chucked me a tie and said ‘you can play a boy part cos you are so ugly!’ I’m not sure why that was the final straw but I burst into tears and ran out of the hall. I would have run home except I had no shoes on (we always had to take them off during drama lessons).
As I sat sobbing in the toilets the door opened and guess who came in? The one person who had started it all. She was very concerned that I was being bullied! I was in so much shock I wasn’t able to talk. All I wanted to do was scream at her – you did this! This has all be because of you!!!
That night I broke down in front of my mum. I explained everything that had been going on and she was devastated. The next morning she rang the school and explained everything. They wanted to hold a meeting between everyone involved. In who’s world is that ever ok? It certainly wasn’t ok with me and I put my foot down, saying I would not return to school unless I could move out of that class. In the end I had to transfer to food technology, most boring subject ever but at least I was free of those girls.
Year 11 was easier, I didn’t have to see any of those directly involved but it seemed like the whole school had turned against me. Nothing was ever directly said or done to me again but I knew I had nobody. My confidence was zero and I hated myself.
The phrase ‘sticks and stones may break my bones but words shall never hurt me’ is total nonsense. Words do hurt, they cut you deep and stay with you forever.
I will be broken forever.
November 3rd marks the start of anti bullying month. Were you a victim of bullying? If you are writing any bullying posts then tag me on Twitter @WhatKatySaidUK and I will retweet and share them on my Facebook page.