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Bullying has been in the spotlight lately because of the Amanda Todd video just prior to her suicide, and the upcoming Anti-bullying week 19th- 23rd November. I’m not going to comment on her or the video as it’s been done to death and I haven’t even watched it, and don’t plan to. What I gather is she exposed herself online and then was cyber bullied, leading her to kill herself. I don’t need to know any more than that, nothing about it will change my mind on bullying.

I was bullied from the day I started infants school until about year 9, there was a boy in the year above who I still remember being absolutely huge (obviously he wasn’t) who used to shout and push me over for wearing ribbons in my hair. I was an indignant child and liked my ribbons so couldn’t have given two shits what he thought about them, but it was still unpleasant, he scared me and made me question myself for the first time, I was 5.

As I progressed through school the bullying got worse and changed faces, but for some reason I’ve always attracted it. The worst was years 7 to 8 at my first secondary school when I was made to fear for my personal safety and I began to develop some serious self-loathing. I’m the type to internalize horrible comments and to get sad rather than angry, so naturally it was a really tough thing to be subject to. I don’t think I did anything to deserve it, I was overweight, shy and wore glasses but I never caused any harm. I would get the standard taunting but when they got bored rather than move on they’d ramp it up by hurting me. I was always followed home from school and hit with whatever was to hand, the worst a piece of lead piping to the head they’d found by the road.

Of course my mum and I would tell the teachers, the bully’s parents would be brought in to be told off, and nothing would change. And so was the cycle for just over two years. Fortunately for me I happened to be clever enough to take the entry exam for the local Grammar school and moved. Obviously when I got there I was introverted and defensive, I believed everyone was taking the piss and looking for a way to hurt me like before. It is pure luck that I didn’t end up having a major problem with someone there, because I could have so easily created one with my attitude. I had some teething problems, one time after P.E. two girls took all my clothes and threw them in the toilets/showers and then sprayed deodorant in my eyes and ears. I just sat and cried in my underwear convinced it was starting all over again, in a foreign school.

But thank God that was the only real problem, a few people made it clear they didn’t like me, but no one actively sought out to harm me much and I happened to find my GBF in year 10 and all was well from there on. I did develop depression and had to see a councillor for about two years, but Conor stood by my side and safely saw me through the other end. I still struggle now, sadness will always be my weakness and some of that is down to the way I was treated. But I wont let it be my sob story, it will never be anything more than my past and an element of my motivation to find my way to my future.

All I really want from my career is to help people, everyone deserves to be cared for we’re all in this together and no one should be left behind. If it weren’t for the wonderful people in my life I wouldn’t be pursuing my dreams at University, I would either be in a state of extreme depression and mental illness, or I’d have lashed out at someone. I don’t thing that’s an exaggeration, I was beginning to really hate people. Bullying is toxic, people do it because they’re down and they drag people to the depths with them.

I have since seen some of my tormentors (mostly men) and they are ravaged by drink and drugs and have multiple children with multiple women. None of them look well and I pity them, because they had their shit going on and they had their dreams which have not come true. All I can do now is follow my dreams and do what I can to be a good person and nice to those I meet. I will always be grateful and hold the highest respect for the people who’ve been there for me through my life, the people who inspired and comforted me when I felt so alone, I believe in remembering them and their influence more than the bastards who put me down.

We all have our cross to bear, this isn’t something I’ve shared with many people before and I don’t feel comfortable doing it, but if someone reads it and makes them think twice about bullying someone or that this too shall pass then I will be happy. I have faith in myself now, I believe in what I’m about and I’m in no way interested in the opinions of hateful people. I have a unique kind of confidence because despite adversity I am motivated to go higher and further, after all how much worse could it be?

My opinion on bullying is that the bullies probably have their own problems going on, but that doesn’t give them the right to bring other people down. Some people say some deserve what they get, but I’m not convinced anyone deserves to be made to feel like they’re worthless or alone, some people to provoke a negative reaction but that can be dealt with in ways other than abusing them, peace and love man, peace and love!

“we’re all in the gutter, but some of us are looking at the stars” – Oscar Wilde.