Last year our CCO and Create Change co-founder, Chyler Leigh, wrote a powerful article entitled, “Bullied and the Beast”. We received many exceptional responses from our Create Change community members, and we posted several this past November. Unfortunately, due to the sheer volume of submissions, we weren’t able to publish all of them. Even though we couldn’t post every submission in its entirety, we want to share excerpts from some that we feel best represent a diversity of perspectives. We’re also including some of the unique artwork we received. We hope you’ll be inspired by these formidable writers and artists. We know we were.
I have been bullied before. The way I was bullied was more indirect. I am a gymnast, and my coach was mentally abusing me. She would tell me and show me endlessly how I wasn’t good enough. If I was ever struggling with something, she’d either scream at me, or just completely ignore me. If I hurt myself, she would just put me to the side, like I along with my goal didn’t matter anymore, and she moved on to the next kid… For a while, I was broken. It took three years, with the help of my current coach, to build myself back up to the person and gymnast I am today. To this day, I still struggle with anxiety. But, with the help of my parents at home and current coach at gymnastics, I have found a way to deal with my anxiety, and have learned to communicate. Some days, I will still get overridden by my anxiety. I am nowhere near perfect, and still have way more work to do to become the person I am capable of being. In the end, I know these acts of bullying and mental abuse will make me stronger.
It’s taken me awhile to realize,
You find me like a bullseye
It’s like I wear it on my back
“Hey bully, this girl’s a sucker for pain.”
But here’s the thing
It’s time to change
It’s time to stand up
It’s time to face you, dead on.
You no longer matter
I am worth something
You have no power over me!
They never saw what I hid inside
They never cared for my pain
All they wanted was to hurt me
And they did, over and over again…
…If you are going through the same as I did
Please know you are not alone
I will open my heart and listen
As bullying I will never condone
She’s got flowers seeping from her seams these days
Your words they hurt, but they’ve almost washed away
And though these scars still scream reminders on bad days
She has stopped picking dandelions.
May they live a little longer this year.
May she live a little s l o w e r this year.
Recently, I’ve seen a lot of people online saying that their experience of bullying wasn’t as bad as others’ and that therefore it didn’t matter as much. But, clearly it did affect them in some ways. We should never minimize bullying. We shouldn’t think that our experience with bullying doesn’t matter because “theirs” is worse. Every story counts. Most importantly, we should never be silent. People shouldn’t be afraid to stand up for themselves or for others. Speaking out about our experiences doesn’t make us weak, it shows how brave we are.
You are me. I am you. I have hurt myself. I have called myself names. I have chosen to hate the things that make me, me. I have hurt people in my struggle to keep my sanity. And for that I am sorry. I have lost so many people in my fight. But time’s up. You have no power over me because I am stopping you right here. Right now.
(I write) about the ability that I felt I had, and hopefully still do have, to look inwards at memories or hopes and wishes, when something bad is happening. I used it when I was little to take the power away from certain people. It always felt like they could do what they wanted with me because they could never get to the part of me that I valued the most, because that’s my brain. Luckily for me I’ve still got that, and it’s still functioning fairly adequately.
I’ve realised you can get so caught up in what the external bullies say and do, that you don’t realise your own internal bully isn’t treating you any differently. I may not be able to verbally stand up for myself or look someone in the eye and tell them how they make me feel, but when I write, I feel braver and nothing can stop my fingers rapidly typing out my feelings. When I write, you have no power over me.
To those in similar situations, I say this: you will find your real friends. You will find the people who matter. You might get burned like I have, but that only shows you what you need in life. I promise you are enough. You’re perfectly imperfect just the way you are. You are loved and don’t need to change a thing (but you can if you want to). You got this and you will get through this. It’s time to take to stand and become who you are meant to be.
I feel good and comfortable with myself, I love myself and I know I’m beautiful the way I am. I overcame the bully with help and acceptance of myself. Thank you so much for letting me speak up.
Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official views of Create Change or its affiliates.