How Bullying Affected My Life

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All of the texts I post here are mine. Some of them are true, some have a few shades of gray (though not nearly enough to be fifty) and some are downright untrue. This one breaks the pattern.

In this post, you’ll read about some of the stuff I suffered throughout the late years of childhood and adolescence.

Most people live their happy lives not knowing what it is like to be beaten up everyday, and not being able to do a damn thing about it. I once envied them. Not anymore.

Back then, Facebook hadn’t been invented yet. Not even as HarvardConnection (early Facebook), so all the bullying was done by hand, pardon the pun.

September, 1999. 5th grade awaits me.

On the first day of school, 2 things occurred, I was deceived into skipping a class, and I was smitten for a girl who wouldn’t give me 2 minutes of her day.

The next thing I remember is being at the dentist, three months later. I remember getting a computer for Christmas the next day. A Pentium III, 500 MHz, 64 MB of RAM. Top of the line. I remember asking the technician if it was Y2K-compliant…

After that, the problems started. Or rather, continued. I must have been bullied in those 3 months, I just can’t recall those times.

I was smart. I like to think I still am. But I was also a bit, not fat, but a bit pudgy. Consequences, I wasn’t good at sports, the teacher ridiculed me, which led to bullying, which led to low self-esteem, which led to bullying, which led to a loop.

I’m not gonna lie to you. It hurt. A lot. One of the pinnacles of bullying was that I had to take off all my wet clothes in the street to get new ones from my mom because I was pushed into a pond.

All of those 6 months were passed with one goal, be that girl’s boyfriend, whatever that implied. I specifically remember comparing her to Joan of Arc who, unbeknownst to me, had died at the hands of the Holy Inquisition.

The school year is out. That means 3 months of playing with my cousin. If there is one girl whom I got close to, it’s her. She’s getting married. On her wedding day, I plan on pulling the groom aside and say to him, “If you even think about hurting her, no corner or crevice of this world will be able to hide you from me.”

6th grade. 2000/2001. Location: classified.

2001 brings sound to my mind. Just the mention of the year makes me hear music.

New year, new classmates, same fate. Seems like a tagline for a Hollywood blockbuster. The ever-growing saga of “Let’s beat Rob up” got a second installment. I was locked in a room and broke a window because of that. But I was no saint. I did lie, cheat and steal. And this was not the worst year of my life..

Another 9 months, chasing after the same girl. Another 3 months, thinking “next year, next year…”

If there was a year that was the best of my life, so far, it was arguably the 7th grade.

U2 released “Electrical Storm”. The European Union started using the Euro as its official currency… Got my first and only (so far) Valentine’s note. It was a really nice ClipArt fish. It read “you are like a fish in my pond”. Odds are, it was from my mom… I don’t really recall being bullied on the 7th grade, but the shyness stayed.

In full contrast, the 8th grade was the worst. Where to start? In March, my Dad’s mom passed away. I found that the girl I liked had made out with a guy who I considered my best friend, and other things I’d rather not mention here. All of this in one fell swoop. A recipe for disaster. I was really close to failing the year, but I bounced back.

2003/2004. 9th grade. A paradigm-shifting year. Euro 2004 and everything that led up to it. For starters, new girl. New 2 girls, actually (but without forgetting the old one…) Every morning, me and my classmates got together in front of the pavilion where our classes were to be held. What do you do when the girl you used to like is actively making out with a guy in your class, in front of you? Answer: If you’re me, not a damn thing. Because she was in love, and I was not up to ruin that.

The damage done the past years had not been erased, and I was still shy. My classmates, however, seemed to be a bit more understanding towards the fact that I was a late bloomer, and tried to involve me in their activities. I took part in a futsal tournament in school. Scored 3 goals in the warm-up. Didn’t play in the actual game…

It was also the year where a complication with a cellphone took place. To this day, I believe I saw it being used a few days after it was taken, but I had no way to prove it…

As I write these words, I feel like I’m writing Photograph by Nickelback, swear to God.

The next year, I changed schools. The school I went to was awesome and allowed me to learn about assembling computer networks. A life-long job and a ungrateful profession. Despite the bullying winding down to mere name-calling levels, that school had a room on the top floor where, if you were to go there at the right time an placed yourself at the right moment; all of that, all of those years of nearly non-existent development simply faded… Even with the shutters closed, at and around 16:32, during the spring and summer, a golden light that made you feel like you were in the West Coast would overcome you…

Perhaps something I could and maybe should have said somewhere within this wall of words, is that I have yet to kiss a girl due to the shyness stated above.

Every word in this post is the truth as I remember it. But human memory isn’t infallible, it’s filtered by emotions and societal constructs…

Know this, though. All of this had a point. This post works as a form of therapy from all the bullying I endured.

And so, before I go, I’d like to leave you with the following lesson: It took every step taken, every word spoken, every goal fulfilled to get you here. Enjoy yourselves. You never know where you’re going next…

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